Yes, I've used the sponge method of breadmaking for years... it's a real
energy (human) saver, esp. if you lack arm or hand strength. It's never
required more time than conventional bread, so I'm a bit puzzled by
the 8-10 hr rise -- unless you're using sourdough or very little yeast
or sugar. The old Tassajara Bread Book had lots of good instructions
on sponge-method breads, and you might want to look there for detailed
I learned the technique from my grandmother -- basically, you just
put half the flour (or so -- it should be about like brownie batter
in consistency) in the first rise, allow the gluten to develop, stir
the sponge down, and add the rest of the flour for the second rise.
Cuts kneading time, too.
Kay Klier email@example.com (who is about ready to chuck the new
bread machine and go back to real bread)