Last time I explained how to convert a straight dough method bread recipe to one with Tangzhong method (visit my blog post Basic White Bread Pain de Mie (Tangzhong Method) for a recap). Today I’d like to show you how to convert a straight dough recipe to one with the sponge method.
To switch to the sponge method, first you need to make a sponge with part of the flour, water and yeast from the original formula. After a slow rise, the rest of the ingredients is added to the sponge to make the main dough. As mentioned in my older post, it is better to start with a straight dough bread recipe that you are familiar with or have made before so that you know nothing is wrong with it. Again, I am going to use my Basic White Bread Pain de Mie recipe as an illustration. The pre-ferment (the sponge in this case) consists of 70% of the total flour amount and 1% yeast from the original recipe and has a 55 to 60% hydration (I typically make it 60% for easy mental calculation). My original recipe has 300 g of bread flour and 70% of it makes 210 g. What that means is that I will make my sponge with 210 g of flour, 3 g of yeast (1% of 300 g flour) and 126 g of water (60 % of 210 g). The rest of the flour and water, as well as the remaining ingredients in the original recipe will become the ingredients of the main dough (no more yeast is needed). The sponge is left at room temperature for an hour then followed with a long, slow rise in the fridge. The bread making process will continue the next day when the rest of the ingredients is added to make the main dough. And… that’s it! Isn’t the process simple? The process is a bit time-consuming: however, I promise you that the bread is super fluffy and would stay fresh longer. It is definitely worth a try.
要把食譜改成中種法的話，首先就是要從原配方取部份麵粉，水和酵母搓成中種， 發酵一段時間以後再繼續與餘下材料混合成主麵糰。如湯種食譜一文所說，最好就是從一個可靠的，以前曾經製作過的直接法麵包食譜開始著手，因為這樣可以減少食譜份量出錯的機會。這次EC同樣會用頂角白吐司為例子並將其改成70%中種法。中種的麵粉份量是原配方的70%，酵母為總麵粉量的1%，含水量約在55至60%之間(EC一般用60%以便計算)。 白吐司原配方含300克麵粉，七成的麵粉量就是210克。這就是說中種的份量為210克麵粉，3克酵母(300克的1%)和126克水(210克的60%)。配方餘下的 水，麵粉還有其他材料就成為主麵糰的材料(主麵糰不需要再添加酵母)。 只要將中種材料稍微揉成糰，蓋好室溫發酵一小時後放進雪櫃冷藏發酵，然後第二天便可以與主麵糰材料混合，繼續餘下做麵包流程了。是不是很容易呢？中種法的工序時間較長，可是麵包卻特別鬆軟，老化速度亦較慢， 十分值得一試。
One thing worth mentioning is that the final dough made with the sponge method tends to be stickier than one made with straight method and Tangzhong method even with the same recipe. So don’t freak out or think that you fail when you see the sloppy mess at the early kneading stage when you prepare the final dough. Just bear with it and keep mixing and the dough will eventually come together. My trick is not to add water all at once in the beginning stage and incorporate the sponge into the main dough when it’s still cold (colder dough is less sticky). If you don’t like to handle or shape a slightly sticky dough then go ahead and use less water. The bread would still come out super soft and bouncy.
Please note that my North American brand loaf pan has the size of 9”x4″x4″, which is slightly bigger in capacity than the Asian brand 450g-toast box. Please multiply my entire recipe by 0.9 in order to adjust to a 450-g toast box.
Basic White Bread Pain de Mie (Sponge Method)
For 9”x4”x4” Pullman loaf pan
For the Sponge
210 g bread flour
3 g instant yeast
125 g water
For the Final Dough
90 g bread flour
45 to 60 g water
15 g dry milk powder
20 g granulated sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
4 g salt
35 g unsalted butter, softened
For the Sponge 中種
Add flour and yeast into the mixing bowl and stir well. Add water and mix with the stand mixer with the dough hook on for about 4 minutes until a shaggy dough is formed. Transfer dough to a lightly greased mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour then refrigerate for 12 to 18 hours.
*For same-day use, let dough rise at room temperature until tripled in size, around 3 hours.
For the Final Dough 主麵糰
Remove the sponge from the fridge. In the bowl of the stand mixer with the dough hook attached, combine the sponge and all ingredients of the main dough except the butter. Mix with low speed for about 7 to 10 minutes until the dough comes together and forms a membrane when stretched. Add in softened butter and continue kneading with medium-low speed until all the butter is incorporated. Raise speed to medium and beat until the dough is smooth and forms a thin and translucent membrane when stretched. This could take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes depending on the power of your mixer. Divide dough evenly into three pieces and form each into a tight ball. Place on a lightly floured surface. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 25 minutes.
*Reserve some water to be added later only when needed
*Monitor the final dough temperature to below 28℃ for best result
* 留起少量水後下， 麵糰可吃更多水時才加
Gently flatten a dough and roll it into a long rectangle. With the smooth side facing down, roll up the dough into a log. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Gently stretch the logs to about twice the width of the bread pan then fold in half like the letter U. Transfer the logs, seam side down, into the pullman loaf pan with a “u n u” arrangement. Cover pan with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 80 to 90 minutes or until the dough fills up about 90% of the pan (I proofed mine using the proof function of my oven).
把麵糰分别拍扁擀成長方形，將較滑的一面朝下，捲起成長條，輕拉至吐司盒寬度的兩倍後摺起成U字，收口朝下以u n u形式排放入模，整理好後蓋上保鮮紙讓麵糰在溫暖的地方發酵80至90分鐘至九分滿模，EC用焗爐的發酵功能發酵。
Preheat oven to 325℉/165℃ 10 minutes prior to baking. Remove plastic wrap and slide on the lid. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven, take off the lid carefully and transfer the bread to a cooling rack to cool (the crust should be golden brown with an internal temperature of at least 190 to 195℉ (88 to 90℃) on an instant-read thermometer). Store cooled bread in a large Ziploc bag or food container for a few hours and slice bread when the crust has softened.
See the following video for my dough shaping process.
Tearing the bread apart by hand
If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.
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