Breads (Yeast) - Buns/Rolls

Vietnamese Baguette (Banh Mi) - Sponge Dough Method

July 18, 2017 | Recipe by Bake with Paws
Vietnamese Baguette (Banh Mi)

Vietnamese Baguette (Banh Mi)

Vietnamese Baguette (Banh Mi)

Vietnamese Baguette (Banh Mi)

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.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.

Recipe - Vietnamese Baguette (Banh Mi) 

Yields: 4 small baguettes


250g bread flour
1 ½ teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
160 ml/g 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

  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.


Gluten forms when flour comes in contact with water.  Hydration of the flour causes the sticky and stretchy protein to form, giving structure to the bread.  This makes your bread trap air and rise. 

Gluten in dough can be developed by autolyse, resting, kneading or folding.

The windowpane test is used to determine whether the dough has been sufficiently kneaded.  By gently pulling the dough (or you may pinch off some dough) and trying to stretch it into a thin membrane.  If you are able to stretch the dough paper thin and translucent  without tearing, then the gluten is fully developed.  However, if you can stretch it without tearing but the membrane is not transparent, then the gluten is not yet fully developed.  

However, from my experience not all the recipe can achieve a thin and translucent window pane stage easily.   For example low hydration and low fat dough.  For such recipes, a reasonable window pane is good enough and it can be left to rest. Gluten will continue to develop while resting.  Exercising restraint to not over-knead the dough prevents the gluten from being overworked and broken.   Some of you may have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  It is because the dough is over kneaded. 

The total kneading time for me is usually 15 minutes at low speeds except brioche dough with high fat percentage or dough using liquid fat which usually takes a little longer (maybe 18-20 mins).

From my experience, I found that high hydration dough with high percentage of fat will be easy to stretch and achieve a paper thin windowpane stage.

For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.

The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.   To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  The protein content is around  12 - 13%.

The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 

Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate and environment. The humidity and temperature at your place will influence how dough rises.  
If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:
  1. First Proofing:
    • Lightly flour or oil your finger or knuckle, gently poke in the centre of the dough then remove your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation then it needs more time.
    • If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back or if the dough collapses, then the it is over proved.  
    • If it bounces back just a little, then the dough is ready to be punched down and shaping.
  2. Second Proofing:
    • Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
    • If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
    • If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
    • There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 
If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. Please proof until it rises 80 - 90% in size or is slightly below the rim of the pan.

Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.


  1. Hi, thank you so much for this recipe! Can I use citric acid instead? Not sure if they are similar...

    1. Hi Sharon,

      Thank you for your question. Citric acid is different from ascorbic. Please see the below I found online:

      "In short: Vitamin C is ascorbic acid. Citric acid is something else. Both Citric acid and ascorbic acid occur naturally in citrus fruits, leading to a confusion between the two. Citric acid is the "villain" behind the sour taste of lemons, and to a lesser extent, other citrus fruits"

      Please omit the Vitamin C if you dont have at home.

      Cheers and happy baking:)

  2. Hi! You mentioned ½ Vit.C 500mg capsule... Do you mean that you used half of a capsule? Appreciate your clarification. 😊

    1. Hi, thank you for asking. Yes, I used half of a capsule.

      Cheers :)

  3. At what speed number should the stand mixer be set to?

    1. For Kenwood Mixer I used 2.5 speed. For KitchenAid around 2.
      Cheers :)

  4. Hello! Can I use instant yeast?

  5. Hi, you can. Actually I used instant dry yeast for the next few times.
    Cheers :)

    1. can I know the measurement for instant yeast? can i substitute vitamin c with vinegar?

    2. Hi, Instant dry yeast and Instant yeast is the same thing. I used 1 1/2 tsp as per the above recipe. I think you can omit Vit C. I am not sure whether it work with vinegar.

      Cheers :)

  6. Hi please post measurements in grams.

    1. Hi, thanks for reading this recipe. Please google search for conversion of teaspoon and tablespoon to gram.

  7. Hi..this recipe no oil at all?
    Tried it, used kitchenaid no 2 knead almost 20 still very sticky? Any advise?

    1. Hi, thanks for readin this recipe. There is no oil used in this recipe.

      It could be your dough is too wet. Please use less water in this case. Kindly read the general notes ya on the above recipe.

      The liquid measurement given is also a guide. It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go. This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency. This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently.

      Cheers :)

  8. hi: there
    can you do the video to load up in this page? step by step to see more clearly what you post out this recipe. have you try bake the bead without vitamin C, vinegar from some post or utube etc..... I wish the bread there's no vitamin C or vinegar additive. is there a possible thank you

    1. Hi there, Thanks for reading this recipe. I wish I could do a video on this when I have time. The vitamin C I used is vitamin C supplement. You can bake without vitamin C. To be honest, the result is not much different.

      Cheers :)


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