Breads (Sourdough) - Soft Buns/Rolls

Sourdough Banh Mi

August 21, 2021 | Recipe by Bake with Paws

Sourdough Banh Mi

Scroll to the bottom of the page for "PRINT RECIPE" ⬇

I have attempted Sourdough Banh Mi (Vietnamese Baguette) several times with egg, eggless as well as egg white only and also with Yudane and Non-Yudane Method.  I found that the recipe with egg is probably better as I get a more fluffy crumb.   

The texture is very soft, fluffy with crispy crust.

The crust is very crispy and it stays for few hours (around 2 hours for our tropical high humidity weather here). Please toast the bread to restore the crispy crust if necessary. 

This is not traditional Banh Mi, traditional Banh Mi uses instant yeast instead.

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.  Do tag me on Instagram @Bakewithpaws if you attempt on this recipe.

How To Make Sourdough Banh Mi (Vietnamese Baguette)

Yields:  6 rolls


Sweet Stiff Starter:
70g sourdough starter (100% hydration),  preferably use at its peak for better result
215g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
90g water
35g sugar (I used organic sugar)

Main Dough:
70g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
80g plain flour (I used Farina "OO" Plain Flour)
All sweet stiff starter (above)
1 1/4 tsp (6.5g) salt
50g egg (1 egg), whisked
5g lemon juice (optional)
80g water (reserve 10g)
10g vegetable oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)

Baguette Tray  (4 Wave, Slot Diameter 7.5 cm)
Lava rocks

* Please reserve some water 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 slowly until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 

  1. Sweet Stiff Starter 
    1. In a bowl of stand mixer, dilute starter with water, stir in sugar and add in bread flour.  Mix with paddle attachment until well mixed and all come together.   It can be done by hand mixing too.
    2. Cover and let it ferment until tripled. I prepared a night before and leave it in aircond room (approximately 24 - 25C room temperature) overnight until tripled.  It took about 8 - 9 hours depending on your starter.  It should take around 4 - 6 hours to get triple at room temperature at 28C - 30C. The starter should look smooth and round dome.  It shouldn't collapse.
  2. Main Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butter/olive oil), including all the stiff starter into a bowl of stand mixer.  I usually torn the stiff starter dough slightly.
    2. Slightly combine the mixture by hand with the paddle attachment before turning on the machine so that the flour will not splash out.  Using the paddle attachment, mix at low speed (#2 for KA) until all incorporated. Maybe less than a minute. This step is critical to prevent  an uneven mixed dough as the stiff starter is rather hard and a dough hook may not be able to mix it well enough.
    3. Change to hook attachment and knead for another 3 minutes at low speed (#2 for KA) or until the dough comes together. 
    4. Add in oil and continue kneading at low speed (#2 for KA) for about 5 minutes.
    5. I stopped after 5 minutes to scrape down the dough from the hook to be sure it is evenly kneaded and also to prevent the motor from overheating.  
    6. Continue kneading for another 4 minutes at low speed (#2 for KA).
    7. Change to medium speed (#4 for KA) and continue kneading for a minute or until the dough become smooth and shining, and reach window pane stage.  
  3. 1st Proofing/Resting:  
    1. In the same bowl, let the dough rest for 15 - 60 minutes. Keep it covered with clingfilm or use a lid.  This dough I rested for 45 minutes and the dough rose slightly in 45 minutes.  (I did not find any big differences between 15 minutes to 60 minutes rest.  So, please follow your schedule).
  4. Shaping:
    1. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide dough into 6 equal portions. Please use a kitchen scale if you want to be exact.  
    2. Form each portion to a ball.  Rest for 10 minutes.
    3.  Please watch the video "How To Shape & Score Banh Mi"
    4. Place the bread dough onto the baguette tray.  Spray some water to prevent the dough from drying.
  5. Final Proofing:
    1. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let the rolls proof at a warm place until the dough rise about 80 - 90% increase in size.  This one took approximately 2 hours 15 minutes at at room temperature of 29C.  The duration of proofing depends on your ambient temperature and starter.
    2. I experimented by letting the buns proof until they doubled in size, or even a bit more. This resulted in larger and puffier Banh Mi. However, I didn't achieve a nice ear on them.
  6. Baking:
    1. Preheat oven with lava rocks at 200C (fan-forced) for 30 minutes before baking.  
    2. Once the oven is ready, score the dough (please watch the video).  Wet the blade with water or oil the blade for easy scoring.  Keep the blade at 45° angle, and slash across the dough lengthwise.  I scored twice just to make sure it is deep enough.
    3. Spray water on the bread and bake immediately.
    4. Open the oven door, place the bread dough (with the baguette tray).
    5. Pour one cup of hot water into the lava rocks.  
    6. Close the door immediately.  
    7. Reduce temperature to 190C (fan-forced) and bake for about 10 minutes.
    8. Remove the lava rocks and release the steam.
    9. Close the door and continue baking for another 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Rotate the bread if the oven heat is uneven and also flip the bread just to make sure the bottom is evenly baked too.
    10. Once is ready, swift off the oven.  Leave the bread inside the oven for about 10 minutes with door open.
    11. Remove Banh Mi from oven and let them cool on rack.

Please reserve some water 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 slowly until the right consistency. This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 

Lemon Juice
The ascorbic acid in lemon juice suppose can help strengthen gluten, the protein network that gives bread its structure. A stronger gluten network can result in better rise and a more airy texture in the finished bread.  However, if you have kneaded the dough thoroughly and it passes the windowpane test, then you may not necessarily need to add lemon juice for gluten development.

Lava Rocks
If lava rocks are not available, please use empty tray and pour hot water in it. However, lava rocks is more effective to create steam.

Sweet Stiff Starter

Main Dough



A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.   It is advisable to feed your starter regularly if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  


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, environment, flour and your starter. 

If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:

  1. 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.
  2. If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
  3. If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
  4. 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 the tip of the dough just reaches the rim of the pan, around 80% - 90% in size.


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 YL, thank you for the detailed sharing. I chanced upon your blog and start my bread making journey.

    i learnt about yudane/tangzhong and soft roll recipe from your blog. Sourdough Banh Mi and French roll are my family/friends' favourite!

    just want to say thanks!

    1. Hi, It is very sweet of you to drop me a note. You are most welcome and thanks for reading my posts and recipes.

      I hope you will find some recipes that work for you.

      Cheers and stay safe :)

  2. Hi, thank you so much for the recipe. May I know is it okay if i use a stiff starter like normal without the sugar? Will it make any difference?. Thanks

    1. Hi, thanks for reading this post. Yes, you can. But, your bread will turned out slightly tangy. Adding sugar to the stater is to prevent the bread less sour.

      The yeast/bacteria will eat the sugar during fermentation, so the bread is not sweet.


  3. Thank you for this recipe. I have attempted several sourdough baguette recipes, but this worked out quite well. My rolls came out a little small, potentially because I didn't allow enough time for 1st Proofing and potentially because I did not use sourdough starter at it's peak.

    For some reason, I can see the Youtube video link is only visible via mobile site (Chrome on iOS) but it does not appear via desktop Chrome. Might need to fix that up! I tried to search via You Tube and the video does not come up either.

    Finally, you have misspelled bánh mì several times throughout this post ("bahn mi" being the worst example). I think it's important, and out of respect for the Vietnamese culture, for you to properly acknowledge the origins of this recipe and food. It is spelled: "bánh mì" with the correct signifiers, which forms part of the Vietnamese language and how words are properly pronounced. Would kindly suggest you update your post to reflect this.

    Thanking you for sharing your recipe!

    1. Hi, you are most welcome and thanks for trying this recipe and your feedback. I do not have Youtube for this recipe. I only share the video "How to Shape and Score Banh Mi" on the above post.

      Thank you for spotting the typo mistakes. Sorry for the errors and I will change accordingly.

      Cheers :)

  4. Thank you for sharing this recipe. For the Plain flour, do you mean just regular All Purpose flour? This bread looks amazing, can't wait to try. Will you consider taking a youtube video for this recipe as well?

    Thanks again for all your amazing recipes

    1. Hi Allison,

      Thank you for reading this recipe and your question. Yes, it is AP flour. I used Farina OO as so happened I have this flour.

      Actually, I have recorded the video for this recipe. However, I am still hesitate to share because it is not 100% like Banh Mi yet. lol... I will see how.

      You are most welcome and Happy Baking :)

  5. Hi , I don’t have Japanese bread flour. Can I replace it by Bob Mill bread flour?

  6. Hi YL, Your bread look so pretty. I don't have Japan High Gluten Flour. Can i replace with Bob Mill bread flour?

    1. Hi Adeline, Thank you for visiting here. Yes you can. But, maybe the result will be the same or slightly different. I have not tried with other flour yet and not sure how it will turn out.

      Cheers :)

  7. Your recipe is fantastic. I’m on my 2nd bake of this recipe. My family and I love Bahn Mi and they thought the bread was perfect! Thank you so very much!

    1. Hi, thank you for trying this recipe and your kind feedback. Glad to hear that your family love it. It is my pleasure to share.

      Cheers :)

  8. Can these be shaped into long & skinny baguettes?

    1. Hi, thanks for your interest in this recipe. Yes, you try. It is totally up to you. I never tried this long skinny shape before.

      Cheers :)

  9. Hi! Can I bake these without a baguette tray?

    1. Hi, thanks for your interest in this recipe. Yes, of course you can.

      Cheers :)

  10. Hi, i tried the recipe and it turns out very great result, but may I know how come my dough is still very sticky after 10 mnts of resting, so its a bit difficult to handle when I was shaping. Thank you!

    1. Hi, sorry for late response. Thank you for your response. It could be the dough is too wet. Please reserve some water and don't add in all at one time.
      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 :)

  11. Hi, may I know what does fan forced in your oven means? Thank you

    1. Hi, fan-forced (convection) setting have a fan that circulates the hot air, resulting in a faster cooking and hotter temperature.

      Cheers :)

  12. I don’t have lava rocks. Can I make the banh mi recipes without them?

    1. Hi, thank you for your interest in this recipe. If lava rocks are not available, please use empty tray and pour hot water in it. However, lava rocks is more effective to create steam.

      Cheers :)


Post a Comment