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Sponge without sugar


Anna Skigin
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I can't imagine making a sponge without sugar......you'd just end up with a rubbery tasteless......thing.

How about this recipe?

The "sponge" is made by spreading out breadcrumbs on a parchment lined sheetpan, pouring beaten egg over it, sprinkling on cooked spinach and parmesan, then baking til set. :smile:

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I couldn't stand the thought of you abandoning your idea so quickly so I've worked something up for you that may help. It is not a sponge, it's more a variation on biscuit roulade. It rolls easily without tearing or cracking, it is not at all sweet and it is tender, not rubbery. Maybe not as tender as a sweet version but pretty darn close. I did this one completely neutral. I was just trying to put together a formula for you, not a recipe. This base will allow you to add whatever flavor component works for what you're doing. Fold in some minced herbs, minced sun dried tomato, lemon zest, vegetable powder, whatever makes you happy, at the end.

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Edited by Tri2Cook (log)

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Ok, I'm done with work for today so I'll expand on this a bit. This was the result of one late night of playing with an idea and probably can and possibly should be refined a bit. All I can say is that it worked. So the recipe at this point...

180g egg white

120g egg yolk

40g flour

60ml warm water

30g melted butter (brown butter would probably be nice, didn't try it)

7g salt

14 g sugar

1.4g xanthan

2.5g methylcellulose

Mix water, salt, butter and flour to just smooth. Whip whites to frothy, add combined sugar, methylcellulose and xanthan and whip on high to almost stiff. Beat egg yolks to pale. Mix in flour paste. Mix in part of the whites. Fold in remaining whites and spread on lined, sprayed and floured pan. Bake 220c 'til done (just under 15 minutes in my oven on an 18"x12" pan). Cool in pan covered with damp cloth. Trim edges and have fun.

Now to my theories, which I freely confess were based on my own ideas and experiences and have no scientific value whatsoever.

Theory 1: methylcellulose would help stabilize the meringue during whipping and even more so as it heated until the structure set enough to support itself.

Theory 2: xanthan would help stabilize the meringue during whipping and, I've read, is commonly used in gluten-free baking to help with texture (reduce crumbling) which led me to believe that it may help with texture here as well.

I have nothing scientific to offer as to whether either theory proved true, all I can point to is the results.

Edited by Tri2Cook (log)

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Some ideas,

You could try say maltodextrin (a bulking agent but sugar based) in place of the sugar ?

Perhaps make a foam from egg white and a base ingredient and cook in a microwave (See the Cooks Book where Ferain Adria does this with pistachio foam) but not tried this in a thin layer.

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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From Wiki:

Methylcellulose (or methyl cellulose) is a chemical compound derived from cellulose. It is a hydrophilic white powder in pure form and dissolves in cold (but not in hot) water, forming a clear viscous solution or gel. It is sold under a variety of trade names and is used as a thickener and emulsifier in various food and cosmetic products, and also as a treatment of constipation. Like cellulose, it is not digestible, not toxic, and not allergenic.
Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide used as a food additive and rheology modifier (Davidson ch. 24). It is produced by a process involving fermentation of glucose or sucrose by the Xanthomonas campestris bacterium.

I'm not sure about Methyl, but Xanthan should be at your health food store. I just saw it mine yesterday and ours is really small.

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No problem, it was fun. PM me a mailing address and I'll send you enough of each to give it a try or three. That way you can make sure it works for what you want to do before committing to buying anything unusual.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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My one question is, Tri, is this thing you made something that could be classified as "yummy"?

If you do the recipe exactly as written, not particularly. It is truly neutral. The texture is nice, the flavor is bland. That was intentional. The idea was a blank canvas. Add whatever minced herbs or whatever is appropriate to what you're doing. Try using some deeply browned brown butter instead of the melted butter. Whatever works for the project at hand. Then I would put it in the "yummy" category. I did one with minced sage (because I had some fresh sage sitting there looking at me) and the flavor came through quite nicely.

Edit: I want to expand a bit on that. You have to keep in mind when tasting it that it is not "cake", not in the traditional sense anyway. Tasting it with the idea of a dessert cake in mind doesn't work. You have to have your head in the savory world when judging it. Unless you're good at being objective (I'm guessing most here probably are), it might be better to try it with something to flavor it even for the first time just to keep the verdict from being influenced by the fact that it's rather bland in it's base form.

Edited by Tri2Cook (log)

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Tri2Cook

Thank you again so much. People like you do make our world better. :)

I do have methyl cellulose and will look for Xanthan . Thanks for offering to send me some of each but I live in Israel and it's a little bit too far away from you. it was so kind of you to think of sending it. :)

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