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Modern Sponge White Bread

With this recipe you can make bread the way your grandmother did. It takes more time, but you'll love the flavor and texture of these loaves.
Yield 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water (110-115°F)
  • 1 teaspoon plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 (0.25oz) package (7g) or 2 1/4 teaspoons Red Star Active Dry Yeast
  • 6 1/2 to 7 cups bread flour, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon table salt
  • 2 tablespoons shortening (softened)

Instructions

  • In stand mixer bowl, combine warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar and yeast; stir, let stand 5 minutes. In saucepan or microwave-safe dish, heat milk to 120-130°F. Add 3 cups flour and warm milk to yeast mixture. Using a paddle attachment, blend on low speed for 30 seconds. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and foil. Let stand at room temperature for 6 to 24 hours.
  • Switch to dough hook attachment. Add 3 tablespoons sugar, salt and shortening. Blend on low speed for 30 seconds. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a firm dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
    (NOTE: For hand mixing: following above steps, mix ingredients in large mixing bowl using a wooden spoon or dough whisk. Knead on floured surface until smooth and elastic.)
  • Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and turn to grease top. Cover; let rise until indentation remains after poking dough with finger down to second knuckle, about 1 hour.
  • Prepare pans: Grease two 8x4- or 9x5-inch bread pans; set aside.
  • Punch down dough. Divide into 2 equal parts. On lightly floured surface, roll or pat each half to a 14x7-inch rectangle. Starting with shorter side, roll up tightly, pressing dough into roll with each turn. Pinch edges and ends to seal. Place in prepared pans, seam side down. Cover; let rise until indentation remains after lightly touching.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pans; cool on wire rack.