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SPONGE&DOUGH/LEAN DOUGH ARTISAN STYLE

stages 1, 2 and 3

Mixing the flour, water and yeast for the sponge... Just use a spatula or wooden spoon. Cover and ferment.



THE FINISHED SPONGE AFTER 6 HOURS

The sponge after 6 hours, thick and bubbling.. Just add this to the rest of the ingredients and mix. You will find that the dough mixes a lot faster when you use a sponge in your recipes.



stages 4, 5 a nd 6

Mix 70-80% of the flour in your recipe, add 60-70% water and around .50-.80% yeast together.
Place in a large bowl and cover.. Depending on the kind of recipe you are making, sponges are fermented from 2 hours to a long 12 hours.. I suggest you do it for at least 4 hours to benefit from this process.
See how bubbles form during fermentation..If you have a glass bowl with cover, the better...Place the bowl in a very cool area, you can even put it inside the refrigerator if you like...

FOR EXAMPLE: FRENCH BREAD RECIPE

SPONGE STAGE:

BREAD FLOUR  70%
WATER                60 %
YEAST              .70%
Mix all the three ingredients and place in a large bowl, cover. Ferment for 4-6 hours.


DOUGH STAGE:

BREAD FLOUR 30%
YEAST            1%
SALT          1.75%
WATER   5-10%

The dough stage represents the rest of the ingredients in the recipe, this is a french bread formula so there is no eggs, no sugar and fat. You can add all these if you like in the dough stage, not in the sponge stage...Some local bakeries (old timers) add a bit of salt in the "levadura" or sponge to slow down fermentation especially if the weather is warm.

The length of fermentation depends again on the formula, usually the more artisan you like your bread to be, the longer the fermentation, you may need to adjust the water and the yeast level.. If the sponge will be fermented for extended periods of time, then the yeast should be low and the water is higher...

We normally do not like spending extra time doing this, that is why there is a no time dough method.. I just find breads made using this method more flavorful and has an incredible aroma during and after baking...

WHOLE WHEAT SANDWICH BAGUETTE

Replace the 30% bread flour with whole wheat flour during the dough stage. Add two tablespoons of soy flour, add 4 % brown sugar, 4 % no trans fat shortening. Everything else is the same. The sandwich bread on the post proofed for 5 hours at 79 F. The level of yeast is 1.5%, if the temperature is too high, use less yeast or use the same level but watch out because the dough will proof for more or less 3 hours. I used SAF yeast, your yeast could make a difference so test the height of the dough during proofing. You can make this bread using the no time dough method, meaning no sponge making involved, but the flavor of the bread will not be excellent.







When you hear of baguettes or french breads, country loaves, artisan boules and pain de campagne and mostly breads like  foccacia, ciabatta etc.,, these are examples of lean dough formula/recipes...

These are recipes that have no sugar and fat or very little of the enriching ingredients, just your basic flour, yeast, salt and water... But because man wanted more flavor from this staff of life, sugar, eggs, fats (butter, oil and margarine, shortening or lard), milk etc., were added to the mix.

In reality, you can make bread using just the basic four ingredients mentioned above. To add flavor to this simple recipe, a starter, or sponge is often used, long slow rise is adapted (the longer the better) and the bread is baked in the old fashion hearth oven...

You can tailor made your own basic lean dough formula, it is not rocket science. Your lean dough formula may be someone else's hypertension, you may decide to use 5 % of fat today and use 10% tomorrow and still call it a lean formula by your standards..

In my case, i stray away from a high 8-10% fat and sugar when making my lean dough recipes... I trust the old style way of slow proofing my dough in low temperatures, using very minute amounts of yeast ( not because i have a small paycheck) and just letting the dough do its own work... No proofing cabinet, no heaters and steamers.

Below is an example of a lean formula i use when i make my baguette and other plain sandwich type (panini and foccacia) breads...

bread flour                             100 %                      80%                          80%
whole wheat                                                          20%                   
oats (stone ground)                                                                                  20%

yeast                                        1%                        1.5%                         1.5%
salt                                        1.50%                      1.75%                       1.75%
water                                    60-70%                 60-75%                     60-75%*

*if you have read my website and other postings regarding the variability of water then you know that protein content, the quality of the gluten, the brand, temperature and humidity, the mixer etc., affects how much water you can add to your dough.

To the basic formula above, you can add the following, this depends on whether i have to give some breads to a friend or when i hold a session calling for such formula... I can tolerate breads with just the ingredients above but some have developed a palate for sugar since they started saying "no" when they were babies so i do add sugar sometimes... and fat in the form of butter or olive oil, trans fat free shortening or margarine..

sugar                         2-6 % for all three recipes
egg                            5%
olive oil                     2-4% or
shortening                 2-6% or
butter                       4-6%

You can choose from the three types of fat, if you want more flavor then butter is your choice but it will cost more... Shortening will not provide you with that extra flavor because it is bland in nature but it will create a much softer dough or bread in the end... Do not use these fats if you are trying to create a chewy and heavy crusted loaf or baguette.

Try to experiment which combinations work for you. Other than the recipe, the method you use gives you the home run. .

I label recipes with 10- 12% sugar  medium lean
13- 16% sugar will be slightly sweet
17-19 % sweet

Of course this is my own version, other bakers have their own palates do the judging for them.

For my recipes to be noticeably soft (up to 4 days) the fat (butter, margarine and shortening) can range from 7-10% medium rich, 11-14% semi-rich, and 15 % above is rich.

FOR A MORE COMPREHENSIVE DETAILED STEP BY STEP BREAD MAKING GUIDE GO TO MY YOLASITE. The oven seen here cost me only P6,700.00 way back 1998, but is will cost around P13,000-P15,000.00 these days. Still not a bad investment, and believe me, this oven packs a punch. You can bake anything from cookies, cakes ( 4 chiffon cakes at a time 45 minutes), 100 pieces of pan de sal in 15 minutes, etc., I even use this oven to roast chickens, (up to 8 pcs.) and bake lasagna, macaroni etc.,



pita breads, sandwich buns, pizzas


ciabatta with olives and garlic


french bread, so simple yet so incredibly delicious.


add whole wheat to the dough and you get these lovely loaves...




One Basic Dough turning into  both a whole wheat lean french bread and pita rounds

Note: Do not use sugar  and shortening or oil if you want the crust crispy and crackly.


RECIPE

sponge stage:

bread flour                            300 grams
yeast                                         1 gram or just a pinch will do, or 1/8 teaspoon
water                                    300 grams

mix until combined, cover and ferment for at least 6 hours

dough stage:

bread flour                              250 grams
whole wheat flour                   150
yeast                                        10
salt                                           12
brown sugar                             40
shortening                                 40 ** i rounded the numbers of the sugar and shortening for you just in case
                                                          you have a household scale that does not weigh per gram increments.
water                                      100 ++more or less, depending on the flour you are using

herbs                                        1-2 tablespoons, (scallions, parsley, rosemary, basil)

Add the sponge and the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook. Mix until gluten is fully developed. Add the herbs at the last stage...

Round the dough and divide into desired portions. I used 350 grams for each pizza and 380 for the loaves...or simply weigh the dough and divide into 4 portions.

Shape the dough or for the pizza flatten into rounds and cover.. Relax for about 10 minutes or until ready to roll. Preheat the oven to at least 500F for the pizza...Top with sauce and your favorite toppings and bake right away. Do not forget to dock the crust or it will puff.

For the loaves, i proofed it more than 6 hours to get to this size, if you have a proofer then use it otherwise this dough will rise very slow, i used a small amount of yeast only because i am not in a hurry and i like slow rise breads in my sandwich loaves...


MAKE THE SPONGE, COVER AND FERMENT.. THIS IS AFTER 14 HOURS IN A 62 F TEMPERATURE.



MIX THE DOUGH UNTIL GLUTEN IS DEVELOPED. START SCALING.


   
SHAPE INTO LOGS OR BOULES AND PLACE IN GREASED PANS. PROOF UNTIL THEY DOUBLE OR TRIPLE IN SIZE.
                                                        
FLATTEN THE DOUGH AND USE YOUR ROLLING PIN TO EVEN THE SURFACE.. I KNOW YOU HAVE TRIED DOING THIS AT HOME, THE BEST WAY TO ROLL A PERFECT CRUST IS TO RELAX THE DOUGH EVERY NOW AND THEN. IF THE DOUGH FIGHTS BACK, COVER AND LET IT REST...


STARTING FROM THE CENTER, ROLL DOWN THE PIN, CENTER AND ROLL UP, THEN LIFT THE DOUGH TO MAKE SURE IT IS NOT STICKING. A LIGHT DUSTING OF FLOUR IS NOT BAD FOR THIS JOB, BUT DO NOT OVER DO IT.

LIFT THE DOUGH FROM YOUR RIGHT AND THEN TURN IT SO YOU CAN ROLL THE LONGER SIDE.. PUSH THE EDGES TO CREATE THE ROUND SHAPE. SLAP BACK AND FORTH FROM YOU LEFT HAND TO THE RIGHT, THIS WILL THIN OUT THE CRUST.

LEARN MORE THROUGH HUNDREDS OF IMAGES, BAKING TECHNIQUES, RECIPES, METHODS, BAKER'S PERCENT AND LOTS MORE IN MY EBOOK


USE CORNMEAL AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PEEL, FLOUR WILL MOST CAUSE STICKING...



 ADJUST THE SHAPE BY PUSHING THE EDGES. TOP YOUR DOUGH AND BAKE IN A HOT OVEN, PUSH THE DOUGH OFF THE BAKER'S PEEL AND SLIDE TOWARDS THE HOT PIZZA STONE.

ENJOY!






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Email sherqv17@gmail.com for questions on the eBook and baking lessons.

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