Basic Sweet Bread Dough

READY IN: 20mins
YIELD: 2 loaves




  • For the sponge: In a small bowl stir together water and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Stir in yeast and flour. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until bubbly and active, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • For the dough: In a large bowl, mix together all of the sponge, yogurt, butter, eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla or citrus zest. Add flour 1 cup at a time, mixing until the dough comes away cleanly from the sides of the bowl.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until soft and pliable but not sticky. Let dough rest while you clean and grease the bowl. Finish kneading the dough until it's smooth, supple, and springy.
  • Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn to coat all surfaces, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled.
  • Gently deflate the dough and shape into desired shapes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 35 to 45 minutes.