Recipe: Bánh mì – Vietnamese Baguette

Vietnamese Baguette - Bánh mì

banh mi

By Helen Le Published: July 6, 2013

  • Prep: 60 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Ready In: 3 hrs 50 mins

  • Yield: 3 Servings

The most popular kind of bread in Vietnam. It can be served with beef stew or stuffed with meat and vegetables to make the world-famous Vietnamese Sandwich

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Ingredients
Instructions
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast and lukewarm water. You can add sugar to easy activate the yeast. Stir well to dissolve. Add half of the flour 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.
    buoc 1
  • Add the rest of the flour and salt. Stir well with a wooden spoon until well combined. Then transfer the mixture to a floured working surface and knead well until it forms into a smooth, soft and elastic piece of dough. Kneading method: fold the dough and use the wrist to push and stretch without tearing it. This helps gluten to develop. You can switch hands alternately.
    buoc 2
  • Place the dough back to the mixing bowl. 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.
    buoc 3
  • 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 3 equal portions (each portion should weigh about 130g). Twist each portion inside out and form into a ball (Please see video demonstration). Cover with kitchen towel and let them rest for 10 minutes.
    buoc 4
  • Take out 1 portion, hold the side and bang it 3 times on the counter. Use the wrist of your hand to flatten it out roughly into a 20x10 cm (8x4 inch) rectangle. Roll it lengthwise 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)
    buoc 5
  • Place the shaped dough on a piece of parchment paper and cover with kitchen towel. Let it rest for another 1 hour until it rises double in size.
    buoc 6
  • 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.
    buoc 7
  • 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.
    buoc 8
  • Remove the preheated baking tray from the oven and lift up the parchment paper to transfer the shaped dough onto the tray. Spray water on both sides of the oven and on the dough.
    buoc 9
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes at 230°C/450°F. After the first 8 minutes, spray water one more time on the baguettes and rotate the baking tray or the parchment paper to bake the baguettes evenly.
    buoc 10
  • If the bottom part of the baguettes is not as golden as the upper part, remove the water tray and lower the baking tray. Turn off the heat and let the baguettes sit in the oven for a few more minutes. The crust of the baguettes will continue to crack after removed from the oven. Listen to the beautiful tiny cracking sound!
    buoc 11

Post By Helen Le (157 Posts)

Since 2011 Helen has shared her Vietnamese home cooking video recipes on Youtube, helping viewers cook Vietnamese Food in the easiest, fastest and most authentic way possible. Subscribe to receive her newest videos for FREE: http://goo.gl/upfRRU

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  • Kinko

    Hello chi, is it necessary to put a tray of hot water at the bottom of the oven and spray water on the baquettes when it’s half way baked?

    • http://danangcuisine.com Helen Le

      Yes it is^^

    • Helen Le

      yes it is

  • JOJO STOKE

    Hello Helen, you`re a super!!!! Best recipe. Can`t wait to make them. Thanks.

    • Helen Le

      let me know the results!

  • Mrmambo

    Hey, Helen–how long do you stretch the baguettes out to? From the video I’m guessing 10-12 inches (25-30 cm). Thanks!

    • Mrmambo

      I split the dough into 5 pieces and rolled out into 6″ baguettes–worked beautifully! I’m so happy; I’ve been trying to get this recipe down for years. Thank you!

    • Helen Le

      Awesome! So glad the recipe works for you!

    • Mrmambo

      I probably need to make 4 next time and then cut-off the ends–I’m trying to replicate New Orleans po-boy loaves, which weigh 2 oz. (57g) per 6″ (15cm) loaf. The crust on yours came out GREAT and the inside was nice and soft. I may let them rise even more next time and try an overnight initial rise in the fridge to add flavor.

    • Helen Le

      That looks great! Thanks for sharing your photo!

  • banhmifan

    how long do you bake it after rotating the loaves?

  • Tommy in Saigon

    Hi Helen, I’m having trouble with your recipe i’m afraid. I live in a cold climate so I’ve done the oven proofing with the hot water tray. I’m using live yeast and dissolving the yeast with sugar before mixing into a pancake mixture. I think things are going wrong in the third proofing once the rolls are put onto the baking tray to rest for 1 hour. My rolls don’t hold their shape and although they double in size, they kind of deflate as a blob shape. I then try and bake them they don’t rise in the oven. They brown a deep brown on top, are sticking to the baking tray underneath and are not cooked through. They also have a yeasty taste. I baked normal bread the other day and had no problem hence it must be a Banh Mi thing. I really want to be able to produce Banh Mi as I miss it from when I used to live in Vietnam, can you help?

    • Helen Le

      Hi Tommy, pls follow the recipe and use instant dry yeast. I guess your dough was too wet. Also don’t forget to line the baking tray with parchment paper to avoid sticking. It takes a few tries to get it right.

    • Tommy in Saigon

      Hi Helen, I only moved back from Saigon 2 weeks ago and when I was there I was following the recipe using dry yeast and getting the same result. I’m now proofing using the oven with a hot water tray as you mention in the recipe however I’m using live yeast. When I was in Saigon I visited one of the Banh Mi bakers to see if he said that all bakers use live yeast. Having said this I don’t believe that yeast is the problem here, do you have any other suggestions? If you have an email address I could also send you the recipe I got from the baker while I was there.

    • Helen Le
    • isabel

      If I understand it correct, this is a 72% hydration dough (180ml/250g=0.72), which is supposed to be very wet and sticky, but typical for baguette dough. My dough didn’t look a thing like yours in the video, Helen! It was impossible to use normal kneading techniques — it was sticking all over my hands and table. I tried a slap-and-fold method, but I don’t think I did it very well. Ended up just adding a touch extra flour and left it in the bowl to autolyse. Next time I’ll use the stretch-and-fold method instead of kneading. When working with wet dough, this has been the best method for me so far. Anyway, I just wanted to let Tommy know that he’s not the only one with a very sticky dough!

    • Tommy in Saigon

      The flour quantities seem to not quite work for me either. After I have done the first proofing with the pancake mixture, I add the other half of the flour and the mixture seems very wet. Should I keep the quantities how they are and then grease my hands with oil/butter to stop the mixture sticking to the table/my hands?

    • Helen Le

      Hi Tom

      You have misunderstood the recipe. My recipe calls for 250gram and not 250ml flour. 250g equals to about 2 cups flour.

    • Tommy in Saigon

      Helen,

      From left to right I’ve uploaded photos of my mix after 3 hours of proofing the pancake mix (which I think is fine), the next is after I add in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour (still a liquid), I then add another 1/2 cup to get image 3 (which is still too wet). The image on the right is the kneaded dough after a total of 2 cups in all which I think is the right consistency for the dough. Can you confirm that my method is correct as I seem to be adding a lot more flour than in the recipe? Thanks and sorry for the bombardment of questions! I’m super keen to get my Banh Mi :)

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com/ Igusti Ayu Dewi

    Helen, it was delicious. Thank you!

    • Helen Le

      That looks amazing, Igusty!

  • Lien Dang

    Can I use the mixer or dough maker ?My hands not strong enough to catch up with you.And you said use unbleached all purpose flour not bread flour?What,s low protein?

    • Helen Le

      Yes you can use mixer. I used unbleached all purpose flour 10% protein

  • Meo U

    Cám ơn công thức và hướng dẫn của Helen. Bánh mình làm thì không nở và vỏ không mỏng giòn như bánh mì VN. Helen có thể chỉ giúp mình thêm ?

  • Lawrence

    hi helen, i just tried the recipe today and it was a success. the exterior was crunchy and the interior was soft and spongy. I would like to ask if there is a reason for mixing in the flour in two separate steps. thank you for this wonderful recipe.

  • Bina Messenger

    Hi Helen, I am based in the UK and found your recipe on youtube and followed to the letter. However my baguette came out hard. What did I do wrong?

    • Helen Le

      There are so many things that could go wrong. I can’t help by just hearing so :(

  • JefferyS

    Making bread takes practice! The first time I used your recipe, it was just “ok” the second time I paid more attention, and I had 3 beautiful baguettes. Thanks, Helen for your work on this.

    • Helen Le

      So happy to hear that! You are right, making bread requires patience and practice. This recipe took the highest number of tries among all my recipes :)