Generally speaking, the sponge method produces a lighter and whiter loaf than the bread made by the straight dough method. Bread made by the straight dough method has the advantage over bread made by the sponge method in flavor, texture and keeping qualities.
Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the water and add 2 1/2 pounds of flour. Beat to thoroughly blend and then set aside to raise for three hours.
Add salt, shortening, and 1 1/2 pounds of flour. Work to a smooth elastic dough. This takes usually about ten minutes, after the flour is worked into the dough.
Place in a greased bowl and then turn over the dough to coat with shortening. This prevents a crust from forming on the dough. Set aside to raise for two hours.
Pull the sides down to the centre of the dough and punch down. Turn the dough over and let raise for one and one-quarter hours.
Now turn on a moulding board and cut into five parts or loaves. Allow about nineteen ounces to each loaf.
Take the dough up between the hands and work into a round ball. Place on the moulding board and cover for ten minutes.
Now with the palm of the hand flatten out the dough and then fold halfway over, pounding well with the hand. Now, take the dough between the hands and stretch out, knocking it against the moulding board, fold in the ends and shape into loaves.
Place in well-greased pans and brush the top of each loaf with shortening. Cover and let raise for 45 minutes.
Bake in a hot oven for 45 minutes and brush with shortening when removing from the oven. Let cool and then the bread is ready to use.