This is made from warm water or milk, yeast and flour (some add mashed potatoes) mixed together in the proportion of one pint wetting (water or milk) to two pints of sifted flour. If milk is used it should be new, and must be first scalded, and then cooled to blood heat. The scaiaing tenas to prevent souring, in using -water bring" it to blood heat. If the " wetting" is too hot, the bread will be coarse. When water is used a tablespoon* of lard or butter makes the bread more tender. Bread made from milk is, of course, more tender and nutritious, but it has not the sweet taste of the wheat, and will not keep as long as that made from water. When mixed with milk it requires less flour and less kneading. In summer, care must be taken not to set sponge too early, at least not before eight or nine o'clock in the evening. (Sponge mixed with bran water, warm in winter and cold in summer, makes sweeter bread. Boil bran in the proportion of one pint to a quart of water and strain.) In very hot weather, sponge may be made with cold water. In winter, mix the batter with water or milk, at blood warmth, testing
*Whenever, in this book, the words cupful, coffee-cupful, tea-cupful, table-spoonful, etc occur, the termination " ful " is dropped, for the sake of brevity.
it with the finger, and making it as warm as can be borne; stir in the flour, which will cool it sufficiently for the yeast; cover closely and place in a warm and even temperature. A good plan is to fold a clean blanket several times, and cover with it, providing the sponge is set in a very large crock or jar, so that there is no danger of its running over. As a general rule, one small tea-cup of yeast and three pints of "wetting" will make sponge enough for four ordinary loaves. In all sponges add the yeast last, making sure that the sponge is not hot enough to scald it; when placed to rise, always cover closely. In cold weather the temperature runs down very quickly, in many kitchens, after the fire is out, and the bread should be set earlier in the evening, and in a warmer place; a temperature of eighty or ninety degrees is right. When it rises well for the first two hours, it will go on rising unless the temperature falls below the freezing point. It is an improvement to beat the sponge thoroughly, like batter for a cake, for fifteen minutes. Never set sponge in tin, but always in stoneware, because a more steady and uniform heat can be maintained in a stone jar than in tin.