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White Sponge Bread
Yield: 1 Servings

2 1/2 c warm water
2 tb sugar
1 pkg dry yeast
1/3 c dry milk powder
4 c sifted flour

2 tb sugar
1 tb salt
3 tb shortening, melted
3 c sifted enriched flour or more

Pour warm water, milk powder and 2 T sugar into mixer bowl.
Sprinkle in yeast and wisk until dissolved.

Add flour and beat until smooth. Cover. Let rise in warm place, free from
draft, until light and spongy, about 1 hour.

Stir sponge down. Stir in sugar, salt and shortening and
remaining flour. Knead for at least 10 minutes with mixer.

Turn dough out on lightly floured board. Kneed a little manually til smooth
and elastic. Place in greased bowl, brush with shortening. Cover, let rise
in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down and turn out onto lightly floured board. Divide in half, let
rest 15 to 20 minutes. Shape into loaves. Place in greased bread pans,
9x5x3 inches. Cover. Let rise in warm place, free from draft, until center
is slightly higher than edge of pan, about one hour. Bake in hot oven (400F)
for 30 minutes. Turn down to 350F and continue baking for 20 minutes
longer. Makes 2 loaves.


For oblong loaves, divide dough into 3 or 4 pieces, depending on
desired thickness of loaves.

On a lightly floured surface, shape each piece into a smooth log,
gently tapering ends. For round loaves, divide dough in half. Shape
each half into a smooth ball.

Place shaped dough on prepared baking sheets. Cover with a dry
towel. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Adjust oven racks to 2 lowest positions. Place a shallow roasting
pan on lowest shelf, pour in 2 c boiling water. Preheat oven 15
minutes to 425-degrees.

Slash tops of oblong loaves with 5 diagonal slashes each. Slash
tops of each round loaf with 3 horizontal slashes and 3 vertical
slashes in a tic-tac-toe design. Brush loaves with cold water.
Bake 15 minutes.

Brush loaves with egg-white glaze, bake 10 minutes longer. Brush
again with egg-white glaze. Remove roasting pan from oven.

Bake loaves 10 to 15 minutes longer, for a total of 35 to 40 minutes,
or until bread sounds hollow when tapped on bottom.

Remove from pans, place loaves directly on oven rack. Bake 5
minutes longer. Cool on racks. Makes 2 to 4 loaves.


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