How To Make Bread (without a bread machine)


Step 2: Make the sponge

Picture of Make the sponge
This recipe uses what I call a "sponge." The sponge will activate the yeast and get things started; getting the yeast warm, happy, and ready to go

Start by mixing the hot water and the flour. Then, add 2 Tbsp. sugar, 2 Tbsp. oil, 2 Tbsp. yeast, and 2 tsp. salt.

Let this sit for about 8 or 10 minutes. Assuming your water was hot enough, it should be nice and bubbly.
jsummers432 years ago
Thank you!
It was my very first time making bread, and it turned out delightful! We were all very pleased!
Great instructions! and photos! I'll be following them again :)
BUBBA RAY4 years ago
just got done fixin er up cant wait to try it
nfarrow5 years ago
So how hot should the water be?
skandi nfarrow4 years ago
Luke warm water - which should feel like barely warm.
The optimum temperature for yeast to grow is 37 degrees Celsius (body temperature). If you are unable to touch the water for a prolonged period of time, the water temperature is ~ 55 deg. C (too hot!!!!!!!!).
skyshiro5 years ago
 If you're having problem with the water temperature, what I did was put the faucet on the hottest it can go. By the time you add all the ingredients and add the yeast the water will have cooled down to the right temperature. 

Also the bread is delicious.
asdterror6 years ago
If you're having trouble with your yeast try the baguette yeast sponge. Mix however much yeast your recipe calls for with about 1/3 the amount of total flour. Add enough water to make a thick batter and let it rise overnight. Then follow the recipe normally. This adds a lot of flavor to the bread. Sometimes I do I quasi-sourdough by adding a half cup of flour and a bit of water to the sponge every twelve hours until I have about 2/3 the amount of flour the recipe calls for. This is kinda in line with abhix1's "It just takes longer to rise", but at least now you have an excuse. Just put it in an off oven and try not to think about it. :)
cantxcape6 years ago
I have never made bread before, am worried about this tempature thing. Now what happens if my water wasn't quite warm enough and the yeast doesn't activate as quickly. It's been 10 minutes and not quite as bubbly as it should be. Can I still go on with the next steps or wait longer? I might not even get a response in time to figure this one out. :) I guess I'll see what happens.
cantxcape, If your yeast is good, the tempature is not that critical. It just takes longer to rise. you can even put your bread in the fridg to rise. Good luck
yeasterday8 years ago
Whoa. You need to be far more specific that "hot-ish" to describe the yeast water temperature. Too cold, and the yeast won't activate quickly enough; too hot and you'll kill the yeast and end up with flour and water bricks. Use an instant-read thermometer and make sure the water is between 110 and 115 degrees ( or check the package). If the yeast doesn't bubble, expand and smell yeasty after a few minutes, you could be using old, tired yeast. Better to throw it out at this stage and start over with fresh yeast. And you should add all the other stuff later - all you need at this step is water, yeast, and sugar. Salt will actually inhbit the growth of the yeast. Add the salt with the first cup of flour. When you do add the other liquids and then dry ingredients to the yeast (in that order), make sure they're room temperature.