Vietnamese Baguette (Banh Mi)

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Crispy crusted baguette with soft insides is the bread that my husband always looks for. I have been searching for a good recipe for Bahn Mi and I found this recipe from Danang Cuisine. I altered the recipe very slightly by adding Vitamin C (to act as acid ascorbic) in my dough. The baguette turned exactly the way my husband likes it. This bread is best eaten fresh as it does not keep well because it does not have any fat in the recipe.

I did some research and learnt that acid ascorbic is an improver. It creates an acidic environment for the yeast which helps it work better. I did not have any acid ascorbic so I used Vitamin C as replacement.

I cooked up some stir-fried lemongrass pork and we enjoyed it in the baguette as Banh Mi sandwiches.

 

Yields: 4 small baguettes

INGREDIENTS:

250g bread flour
1 ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
160 ml lukewarm water (original recipe used 180 ml, but I found the dough too wet).
½ vitamin C 500 mg (capsule or crushed tablet) or acid ascorbic

 

METHOD:

  1. In a mixing bowl of stand mixer., combine the yeast, sugar and 160ml lukewarm water. Stir well to dissolve. Add half of the flour (125 g) and stir well to create a thick mixture with consistency of pancake batter. Cover and leave it in a warm place for 2-3 hours, until bubbles appear all over the surface.
  2. Add the rest of the flour, salt and vitamin C into the starter dough and using the dough hook on a stand mixer, knead until  the dough comes together and elastic. It takes around 10 to 15 minutes. If the dough too dry or wet, add 1 tablespoon of water or flour at a time.
  3. Cover with kitchen towel and let it rest in a warm place (35-37°C or 95-98°F) for 1 hour or until it doubles in size.
  4. Carefully transfer the dough onto the working surface. Try not to deflate the gas inside. With a scrapper or a knife, divide the dough into 4 equal portions (each portion should weigh about 100g). Twist each portion inside out and form into a ball. Cover with kitchen towel and let them rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Take out 1 portion and roll out with a rolling pin into round shape. Roll it and pinch the edges together. Place both hands on top of the dough, roll it back and forth on the counter, applying more pressure on your baby fingers than your thumbs to shape it into banh mi form (broader in the middle and slimmer at both ends).
  6. Place the shaped dough on a baguette pan and cover with kitchen towel. Let it rest for another 1 hour until it rises double in size.
  7. Preheat oven and the baking tray at 230°C/450°F for at least 15 minutes before baking. Place a tray of hot water at the bottom of the oven.
  8. To slash the baguette, use a paper cut knife or a razor blade, keep it at 45° angle, and make a quick and determined slash across the dough lengthwise. Bake immediately after slashing.
  9. Spray water on both sides of the oven and on the dough.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 230°C/450°F on the middle of the oven rack. After the first 8 minutes, spray water one more time on the baguettes and rotate the baguette pan to bake the baguettes evenly.
  11. When the baguettes are done, turn the oven off and leave the baguettes in the oven for another 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on a rack after that.

Bake With Paws

21 Comments

  1. Your recipe is incorrect?
    125 g of flower = 1 cup
    180 ml of water = 3/4 cup
    1 tbsp sugar
    1 1/2 tssp Active yeast
    The above combination can not produce a pancake like mixture. Can you check the measurement?
    Thanks

    • Hi there,
      Thank you for your enquiries.
      The measurements are correct. This is the recipe I used and adapted from Danang Cuisine. I did not used cup in my measurements and supposed in gram. It could be due to the flour you used. Some flour absorb more water. If it is too dry, please add one tablespoon of water at a time.

      Thank you.

    • You are most welcome:) Great to hear this. Thank you for trying this recipe.

  2. Thanks for this recipe. I tried it twice, how deep we have to cut so we can have nice shape as yours.

    • Hi there, I did not cut. I just done a quick slash. Please make sure your knife must be very sharp.

      Thanks.

  3. I have try it but turn out to be dense and heavy. What is the problem?

    • Hi, Thank you for trying the recipe. Sorry to hear that your baguette is too dense. It could be few reasons:
      1. Not enough protein in the flour. Recommend to use high protein or high gluten flour.
      2. Did not knead enough till become elastic and come together.
      3. Too much salt could have killed the yeast.
      4. Could have kill the yeast by leaving the dough to rise in a place that was too hot.

      I hope the above will help.
      Thanks

  4. Hello! Why are the vitamin C important in this recipe? I don’t have it but t I can buy it. I was trying to omit it but would like to know the importance of it.

    • Hi, thank you for asking. Vitamin C act as acid ascorbic. I did some research and learnt that acid ascorbic is an improver. It creates an acidic environment for the yeast which helps it work better. I did not have any acid ascorbic so I used Vitamin C. Thanks

    • Hi, thank you for dropping by. If I am not wrong, Vietnamese Baguette is usually more airy with crispier crust compare with French Baguette. Thanks

    • Hi, thank you for dropping by. Yes, just double the recipe amount. Happy baking:)

  5. Since I tried the Vietnamese baguette in Ho Chi Min in January, I have been searching for a good recipe to try doing it myself. Your posting looks easy but my problem was that the dough turned out very soft and sticky and very difficult to manage. The final prouct was small and not light and fluffy like yours.Can you please tell me what went wrong and what is the remedy. Thank you

    • Hi Michael,

      Thank you for trying this recipe and sorry to hear that it is not successful. This recipe was adapted from Danang Cuisine and I followed exactly the same except I added Vitamin C. The dough is soft and sticky could be because of the flour. Some flour absorb more water and some not. In this case, you have to add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time when kneading until dough come together and elastic, and not stick to the sides of the bowl. Please make sure your yeast is working and not expired too.

      I hope this helps.

      Thanks

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