Making a yeast starter sponge from scratch for bread and cake recipes is actually really simple. Using this yeast starter sponge yields breads and cakes with amazing taste and texture!
I made this sponge with my great grandmother's vintage Bread Sponge Cake recipe in mind but it will also work beautifully for a crusty loaf of bread. Think sourdough without the bite but the same great texture.
Making a yeast starter sponge is very simple, it just requires a little bit of patience. An artisan sponge starter needs to rest for 16 to 24 hours before you bake with it.
Don't let the rest time intimidate you because it's only made with three ingredients. It really is incredibly easy. Trust me, I don't have time for complex baking projects! I don't know why working with yeast seems so intimidating, but once you make your first sponge, you'll feel like a baking pro!
A Yeast Starter Sponge Will Elevate Your Baking Results
During this process of dough fermentation enzymes (protease and amylase) are created that leaven the bread. This helps to soften the gluten in the dough and allows the protein matrix to stretch as the mix expands, resulting in bread with beautiful structure and increased volume. Two of my favorite breads, brioche and German stollen, use the sponge method to get those scrumptious results.
Making a yeast starter sponge combines equal parts cold spring water, unbleached bread flour, and active dry yeast.
I am using 2 cups of cool bottled spring water, 2 cups of unbleached bread flour, and ½ teaspoon active dry yeast. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
After all ingredients are mixed well, cover with a plate or lid and let sit at room temperature for 16-24 hours. You can mix with a wooden spoon a few times during the process. You can make a quick sponge using equal parts water to flour and ½ teaspoon dry yeast.
Let sit for two to three hours and use it in your next batch of bread. I am going the traditional route here, so I will use my starter tomorrow evening to make the cake. If you have sponge leftover, you can store it in the refrigerator. Experiment with your own sponge, adding less yeast. It's the fun learning process of baking!
Sponge Cake Starter (for a sponge cake)
- 2 cups of cool filtered water
- 2 cups of unbleached bread flour
- ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- Whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl until combined.
- Cover bowl with a plate, plastic wrap, or lid and let sit at room temperature for 18-24 hours. You can mix with a wooden spoon a few times during the process.
- After resting time, proceed with your desired recipe.