Vietnamese Baguette (Banh Mi) - Sponge Dough Method

by - July 18, 2017

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.

It is advisable to read the General Notes before baking.

GENERAL NOTES:

KNEADING TIME
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.

OVER KNEADING
Some have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  If that happens it is due to over kneading.  Please stop the machine and check your dough during the final cycle of kneading to ensure that you don't over knead. Every machine is different and there is always a chance of over-kneading when using a machine. You may need to adjust this timing and stop as soon as you reach the window pane stage.

FLOUR
The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.  Usually bread flour content around 11.5 - 13.5% protein, while high gluten flour is around 13.5 - 14.5%.  All purpose flour content less protein around 9 - 11%.  To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  Sources from here and here.

HYDRATION
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. 

PROOFING
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.
BAKING
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.

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

INGREDIENTS:

250g bread flour
1 ½ teaspoon instant 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.

Notes:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 your dough rises.
  4. 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.

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8 comments

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

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    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:)

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

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

      Cheers :)

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

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

      Delete
  4. Hello! Can I use instant yeast?

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

    ReplyDelete

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