Artisan or European breads have a wonderful airy texture and crispy crust. Home bakers can replicate these flavourful breads by using a bread "sponge" or starter. Sourdough starter is considered a type of sponge. You can make your own sponge simply and easily at home with a few ingredients.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- 1 1/2 cups hot water (not boiling)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 envelope dry active yeast
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 cups flour (approximately)
- Large bowl
- Clean dish towel, cloth, or cling film
- Measuring cups
Measure 1 1/2 cups of hot water into a large bowl. Sprinkle the dry active yeast on top of the water and let it sit about five minutes until it melts. Once melted, stir the yeast into the water until dissolved using the whisk.
Add the salt and sugar to the yeast mixture and stir until both have dissolved in the liquid.
Add the flour to the mixture one cup at a time, whisking each addition until smooth. This gets the gluten in the flour working and will help achieve a nicely textured bread dough. Add flour and whisk until a batter that is slightly thicker than pancake batter is achieved.
Cover the sponge with a clean dish towel, cloth or cling film. Let it stand undisturbed in a warm place for at least an hour. The longer the sponge sits and works, the better the texture of the bread will be. You can make this sponge the night before you intend to bake bread to ensure a well-worked sponge.
Uncover the sponge and it is ready for use in bread recipes.
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