Sponge and Dough
What is the sponge and dough method?
The sponge and dough process is the most commonly used method in U.S. commercial bread manufacturing. The sponge and dough method is a two-stage procedure.
In the first stage, a certain amount of flour (around 50%-70% of the total dough flour), water, and yeast are mixed and fermented for a period of time (2.5-4.5 hours) to produce a sponge. The sponge fermentation time may be varied depending on the sponge temperature, the ingredients used and the amount of yeast. In small-scale sponge production, the mixer is used to form the sponge and also used to store the sponge. In the large-scale production of sponge, separate container is used to store the sponge under controlled conditions to ensure the uniformity of sponge development, and the fermentation time is around 2.5-4.5 hours. The temperature of sponge dough is usually kept around 30˚C (86˚F), which is similar to the final dough temperature.
In the second stage, the sponge is added to the other remaining ingredients to form a final dough. The final dough can be processed by a rapid processing method, immediately sized and shaped, or sometimes is given a short period of bulk fermentation time. To understand what goes on in a Sponge and Dough, read our eHandbook on Dough Systems.