- 2/3 Cup Flour
- 1/3 Cup Water, room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon Instant yeast
- 2 1/3 Cups Flour
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Instant yeast
- ¾ Cup Water, room temperature
- ¼ Cup Milk, room temperature
- In a mixing bowl, stir all the ingredients together. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for at least 8 hours (maximum 24 hours). (Photo 01)
- The sponge is ready when it is at least double in size and has bubbles on the surface. (Photo 02)
- Add water and milk into sponge. Use a wooden spoon or spatula, stir the mixture until well combined (Photo 06).
- In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, yeast, salt (Photo 04). Use a dough hook on medium-low speed, slowly add sponge mixture to the flour and mix everything together. The dough will start to form and almost pull away from the sides after 4-5 minutes (Photo 08, 09, 10).
- Increase the speed to medium and continue to knead until the dough is completely smooth and there is no dry ingredients left. Note: the dough is supposed to be very sticky (Photo 11).
- Transfer the dough to a lightly grease bowl (Photo 12), cover it tightly with plastic wrap and let it rise until double in size, about 1 to 1.5 hours (Photo 13).
- Using a spatula (grease it generously with flour) to fold the dough over by lifting the edge of dough toward the middle (Photo 14). Turn the bowl 90 degree and fold again (Photo 15).
- Repeat the process until you completely fold the dough for 2 whole circles (Photo 16).
- Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let it rise until double in size, about 30 minutes (Photo 17, 18).
- Repeat step 5, 6, 7 for 2 more times.
- Preheat oven to 450F
- Transfer the dough to a heavily greased surface (Photo 19). Then dust the top of with more flour (Photo 20). Use a scraper and cut the dough in half (Photo 21). Work with 1 piece of dough at a time.
- Flour your hands well and stretch the first dough into 8×11 in rectangle (Photo 22), don’t put too much force on the dough, work very gently.
- Then fold one third of the dough on the right side toward the middle. Then repeat the step with the other third on the left side. And carefully pinch the seams together (Photo 23). The size of the dough after the folds is about 4×8 in.
- Repeat step 11, 12 for the second dough.
- Cover both loaves loosely with plastic wrap and let them rest and develop small bubbles on the surface, about 30-45 minutes.
- In a mean time place a big bow of hot water inside the oven, at the bottom rack, let it create steam before baking the bread.
- When the loaves are ready, generously spray them with water (Photo 25). Don’t spray directly onto the loaves, instead spray 5~6 inches above them. (You have the option to dust the top with 50% rice flour & 50% flour to create a white surface effect. If so, do this step before spray with water. As you can see in the photo, I did this with one of the loaves).
- Put the loaves into the oven immediately. Bake until the top crusts turn almost dark brown for 20-25 minutes.
- Let the bread cool down completely to room temperature before serving.
- Method: Baking