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Baking with Sponge

My main focus when i teach bread making is how to commercially produce breads, which means large batches, and so it goes on to say that i would normally work on at least a kilogram when i hold a class. You can understand my discomfort when i attempt to do such over a a household type mixer such as Kitchen Aid. Kitchen Aid may work, but then again, not with the formulas i use.

We Pinoys love sweet, fluffy and flavorful breads. Some of my former students who open their bakeries use up to 24 % sugar in their recipes, i even heard one who used 26%. My recipes range from 15-19% only, but despite that, a Kitchen Aid will still have a hard time finishing a 300 gram dough in under 30 minutes.

30 minutes is pretty darn long, my 20 quart can whip up a 2 kilogram dough (NO TIME DOUGH METHOD) in 12 minutes. So what do you do when you drop by a client's house and all you see is a Kitchen Aid?

Better with a Kitchen Aid, than nothing! So instead of working on with 3 kilograms a day, i reduce the batch to 1.5 kilograms. Not with a 4.5 quart but the latest 5 quart models. There is nothing else i can do with this. Next inevitable but good thing i must say, is to change all the recipes from NO TIME DOUGH, TO SPONGE AND DOUGH METHOD.

How does one convert a No time to a Sponge and dough? Well, i have two books, one from the AMERICAN BAKING INSTITUTE and one from THE ASIAN INSITUTE OF BAKING, and both have in depth explanation and formula on how to do it. I do not follow them by the .0 percent, i do my own common sense tinkering because this is just bread, not how to make a telescope.

The results are the same amazing flavorful, deliciousness with an extra uumph because of the sponge. Seriously, maybe when you start mixing 100 sacks a day, that, i highly recommend that you do compute but right now? Nah.

Here is one sponge that is just starting to ferment. You will not see any life yet for the first two hours unless you use a tablespoon of yeast to a 300 gram flour. You do not do that, you use very little yeast, about .50-.80%/base flour depending on the temperature and hydration level, bread you want to make, length of fermentation etc.,
I started with 300 grams flour, 280 grams of water and 1/4 tsp of yeast.

Cover the sponge and let it ferment.

The sponge depending on the length of fermentation will expand naturally because of the alcohol, acids, and gas produced. If you make a sponge, might as well rake the benefits off it by extending the fermentation time to at least 4 hours.

Once you are ready, mix the sponge and drop it into the mixer bowl with the rest of your ingredients. You will find that unlike before, your dough will mix faster because of the sponge.
It will be rough at first but it will come together, just don't forget to check on the motor and if it heats up, stop the mixer and cover the dough.
I have had students who broke their mixers by over extending the mixing times when they make breads. Add to the equation the eggs, sugar and butter and you have a recipe for disaster. Your only solution is to use a sponge.

I have to transfer the first dough to a plastic bowl so i can work on another one while this is relaxing.

This is the third dough,like i said we do at least 3 500 gram batches (0n site, Private class). For my group class, we do 3-4 kilograms. If i have only 4 students, then we do 3 kilograms, 5 or 7 students, i add another 1 kilogram of dough so the students have more dough to work with.

In the end, i have a total of 3 bowls of dough, all of which will create at least 5 variations of sweet and plain breads. When the last dough is finished, the first one will be ready only after the Kitchen Aid has COOLED DOWN. Again, these are all done with a SPONGE, and not a NO time or Straight dough method, i don't think i will ever dare use both in my class if i have to use a Kitchen Aid.

Student working on the dough, shown here is Baked Siopao which is becoming popular these days.

Baking the Siopao

Baked and ready to eat.

Soft Buns, Hotdog Buns

Ensaimadas ready for the oven. I forgot to take photos of the rest of the breads, and this one too because i was so tired. It is exhausting to take off one dough after another, then put them back again. In commercial baking, you finish off the batch of course, but this is TROUBLESHOOTING that i have to apply for the student. I am glad that after this, her breads were all perfect to the T.

FOR COMMERCIAL BREAD MAKING hands on classes, go to

Email me at for inquiries, class starts on September to January 2012 only.


prolix said…
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Bakery Equipment

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