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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



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


  • In stand mixer bowl, combine warm water, yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar; 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 8×4- or 9×5-inch bread pans; set aside.
  • Punch down dough. Divide into 2 equal parts. On lightly floured surface, roll or pat each half to a 14×7-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.

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Review & Comments

Deb | Reply

5 stars
If I wanted to cut the recipe in half to make one loaf, would I only use half the packet of yeast or all of the packet of yeast?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Deb,

I would use 1 1/8 tsp of yeast.

Happy Baking!

Paula | Reply

5 stars
I reviewed this bread several years ago and I still bake it regularly. Recently I used reconstituted dry milk powder and it turned out perfect! I made a large batch for our community kitchen to feed 40 people. The bread was all gone and people loved it. This is a fool-proof recipe that has never let me down. The texture is amazing!

Shelley | Reply

5 stars
After I retired in January 2022 I challenged myself to learn to make homemade bread (NO bread is worth $5 a loaf from the grocery store!) I have tried half a dozen bread recipes and could not get a high rise or soft crumb until now. Though this recipe has the added step of preparing the sponge (I put mine together in the evening and let it sit overnight – around 12 hours) I was able to finish it quickly in the morning and get it rising. This bread has the perfect soft, chewy texture, wonderful crust, and amazing depth of flavor. I believe my search is over for THE.PERFECT.HOMEMADE.BREAD!

Martha Yukevich | Reply

Can this sponge recipe be made with SD starter? And if so, how many grams? Thanks~

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Martha – We don’t have a conversion for a sourdough starter. You can certainly play around with the recipe and see how it works.
Happy baking!

Rick S. | Reply

Am I putting ALL the yeast into the mixer bowl with the warm water and the teaspoon of sugar (step #1)?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Rick – Yes, add all the yeast to the water in step 1.
Happy baking!

Vicki | Reply

Can you use butter instead of shortening?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Vicki – Yes, butter can be substituted.
Happy baking!

Barbara | Reply

Could this recipe be used for dinner rolls? If so, about how many would it make?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Barbara – Yes, you can make dinner rolls with this dough. Depending on the size of the rolls, it will make about 24-36 rolls.
Happy baking!

Kermit Blake | Reply

What does it mean: ‘cover with plastic wrap & foil’?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Kermit,
Cover bowl with plastic wrap (1st layer) and then foil (2nd layer). It’s just to keep a nice tight seal on the bowl so the sponge doesn’t dry out.

Happy baking!

D. Weltman | Reply

5 stars
this bread turned out GREAT!! It made the best shrimp salad sandwiches. I will without a doubt save this recipe. Too easy

The Sponge Method for Bread Making | Baker Bettie | Reply

[…] Modern Sponge White Bread […]

Paula | Reply

5 stars
I have made this recipe a couple of times so far and I love the texture and flavor. It makes a somewhat chewy crust and the inside is very soft. It’s almost like an enriched French bread. It’s very easy to make, as the previous reviewer said. Mix up the sponge before bed and then bake the bread the next day. This bread also stays soft a couple of days longer than bread made without the sponge method. I cut the recipe in half (which was very easy to do) and baked it in an 8×4 pan for 40 minutes. I scalded and cooled the milk and I used leaf lard instead of shortening. I will definitely bake this one again.

Mavis | Reply

5 stars
I really liked this recipe. It was easy – just mixed the sponge up one day, and then added a few ingredients the next day. The bread had a nice even texture. It was everything you like about homemade bread and was wonderful with soup!

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