Sourdough Banh Mi

by - August 21, 2021

Sourdough Bahn Mi

Sourdough Bahn Mi

Sourdough Bahn Mi

Yudane Method ⬆

Non-Yudane Method ⬆

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.   I am sharing both Yudane and Non-Yudane Method recipe as I love both.  

The Non-Yudane method is more like Banh Mi, the texture is very soft, fluffy with crispy crust but not so better shelf-life compared to Yudane Method.  

The Yudane Method yields a very moist, soft, fluffy texture and crispy crust too but slightly chewy.   It stays fresh better than Non-Yudane Method.

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.


Yields:  6 rolls

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. Yudane:
    1. Add bread flour in a bowl, pour the boiling water and mix well with spatula or spoon until no dry flour.
    2. Cling film and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.  I prepared the night before.
    3. Take out from the fridge 30 minutes before using to return to room temperature.
  2. 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.
  3. Main Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butter/olive oil), including all the stiff starter and yudane dough into a bowl of stand mixer.  I usually torn the stiff starter and yudane 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.  
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. Final Proofing:
    1. Let the rolls proof at a warm place until the dough rise about double in size.  This one took approximately 2 hours minutes at at room temperature of 29C.  The duration of proofing depends on your ambient temperature and starter.
  7. Baking:
    1. Preheat oven with baking stone and 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 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 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.
    9. Once is ready, swift off the oven.  Leave the bread inside the oven for about 10 minutes with door open.
    10. Remove Banh Mi from oven and let them cool on rack.
Note:  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.

Yudane Dough

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.  

There are so many ways and methods of how to maintain the starter.  Below is my method of starter maintenance.  This is just for your reference. Please try and find a way or schedule that works best for you.

I bake almost everyday.  So, my starter is left at room temperature and I feed it twice a day every 12 hours at its peak when it is tripled.

10.00 am - at ratio 1:10:10 at room temperature 26C - 27C
10.00 pm - at ratio 1:10:10 at room temperature 25C - 26C 

I feed a very small amount of 1g starter + 10g water + 10g flour if I am not baking, so that I will not end up with too much discard.  When I am baking, I will feed the starter accordingly to make up the quantity required by the recipe to be baked. If I know that I won't be baking for a few days, I will then feed it only once a day at 1:10:10, transfer to the fridge when it is doubled, and feed again 24 hours later.

If you do not bake daily or if you bake perhaps once or twice a week, then you may place your starter in the fridge and feed once a week.  But, you will need to refresh your starter 2 days before the baking day. There is no way around this, sourdough baking takes planning! 

How I judge my starter is healthy?  My starter usually tripled in size (or at least double) in within 3 - 4 hours at room temperature (27C - 28C) for feeding ratio of (1:1:1 = starter:water:flour)

When is a starter at its peak?  My sourdough starter is usually at its peak when it is tripled in the jar. The surface of my starter looks bubbling and uneven.  It usually stays at its peak within 30 - 60 minutes before it starts to reduce/fall.  

Why use starter at its peak?  This is when the starter is most active and it will result in a better rise for your bread in general.  By the way, you can use when it is doubled/before its peak too.  But, not it starts to fall.

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.

Why do I use milk powder?  
  1. Milk or milk powder will enhance the flavour of the bread and makes the bread texture softer due to the fat content of the milk. 
  2. Milk powder is shelf stable and you can have it anytime when you want to use.  Unlike liquid milk you need to finish within a certain time before it spoils.
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. 
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.

You May Also Like


  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 :)