Interstate Bakeries Corp. said Friday a federal bankruptcy judge has approved extending the deadline for the maker of Hostess Twinkies and Wonder Bread to file its plan for returning to profitability.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jerry Venters has given the Kansas City-based company until Sept. 22 to file the reorganization plan. The earlier deadline to file a plan was May 18.

If the company misses the deadline, its creditors could propose their own plans.

With the extension, the company said it is now negotiating with its lenders to extend the terms of its financing.

In asking for the extension last month, Alvarez & Marsal, the consulting group brought in to shepherd Interstate Bakeries through bankruptcy in September 2004, said it still needed time to get its arms around the company's operation of 45 bakeries, 800 distribution centers and 27,000 employees.

Since filing for bankruptcy, the company has shuttered nine bakeries, closed 200 distribution centers and 300 thrift stores, sold $84 million in real estate, cut the number of distribution routes 29 percent to 6,500 and eliminated about 6,000 positions.

The company also said it is dealing with higher ingredient costs and has renegotiated contracts with 47 percent of its unionized work force.