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  • Writer's pictureDeana Thai

Deana's Vietnamese Baguettes Banh Mi

Updated: Mar 10, 2021

Soft chewy insides and a thin crispy churchy crust creates a delicious balance of textures!

Tag me on Instagram @Lifestyles_With_Deana #aromatichomechef when you recreate my dishes! I love seeing them and they make my day better!

Deana's Vietnamese Baguette - Instagram @Lifestyles_With_Deana

Bread in general is an addictive food. Growing up my parents would drive from the central valley of California out to the San Jose Bay Area every couple of weekends and buy a ton of Vietnamese deli foods from Huong Lan. It was the only time we got to eat food from what I thought was a restaurant. I looked forward to the cha lua sandwiches with the paté and tasty mayo. During my research a couple years ago on how to make banh mi; I was surprised to learn that it required a water bath for part of the baking and a water spray bottle to create that crispy thin bread crust. Isn’t the science behind this amazing? And to create that spiral looking texture inside the banh mi, we actually rolled the dough to achieve it! And it’s important to use a higher protein flour to build gluten to stabilize the dough so that it doesn’t deflate when you make the slits. I hope you enjoy my recipe and journey into bread making!

Ingredients (Makes 8 cute five inch baguettes)

  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour

  • 1.5 tsp salt

  • 2 tsp sugar

  • 1 tbsp INSTANT YEAST

  • 1 1/2 cups water

  • 2 tbsp butter melted or olive/veg oil

  • ½ tbsp melted butter for brushing after baking

  • Olive/veg oil for greasing

  • Hot boiling water (after shaping for last proofing before baking)

  • Spray bottle with water

Method (Bake 415° for 22-25 minutes.)

  1. Add flour, salt, sugar and yeast to the mixing bowl. Keep yeast away from the salt. It will deactivate the yeast. Begin mixing and slowly adding water to the dry mixture. Once the dough is mostly formed, add the butter or oil. Mix and knead everything together either by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle. In order to achieve a soft dough, all ingredients must be mixed well. If you're using a stand mixer, knead for about 15-20 minutes on medium-low speed which is setting 2 on a KitchenAid. The finished dough should stick a bit at the bottom of the bowl and the surface may still be a bit rough. If your location is humid, dough may be slightly wetter; add 1 tablespoon flour. If your location is cooler, dough may be drier; add 1 teaspoon water.

  2. Do a window pane test of the dough. Pull the dough as thin as you can and if it doesn’t pull apart easily, you have built enough gluten to create a soft and chewy bread texture! It also stabilizes your dough with enough structure and won’t clasps when you make the slits! If it breaks easily, not enough gluten has been formed. Knead for 10 more minutes.

  3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a cloth towel on top. Let the dough rest and rise for 45-60 minutes. Timing varies depending on home temperature. Dough should be allowed to rise 2.5 times its original size.

  4. Gently deflate dough and round dough into a smooth ball. Let rest for 15-minutes uncovered.

  5. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces like a mini pizza. You can weigh each dough to make more consistent bread sizes. I don’t always do it because I’m okay with them being slightly different sizes. It gives it a rustic feeling!

  6. Roll dough like a pizza slice. Doesn't have to be exact. It will be rolled up like an inverted croissant to create the banh mi shape. Start by rolling the pointy end towards the wide end. Pinch seams together. Place your hands on the rolled dough’s edge and begin to roll it back and forth to smooth the shape out. Applying more pressure to the ends and not the middle. To create the classic banh mi shape with the narrow tips and chubby middle. Place on a bread pan and continue making the other pieces.

  7. Once all pieces are done, spray all pieces with water and then rub or spray oil on them.

  8. Place in the oven for 45-50 minutes to do the final rise. The oven is not on at this point. You can place hot water in a pan on the lowest rack to speed up the rising time.

  9. Remove dough from the oven. Preheat the oven to 415°. Replace the water bath with fresh hot water.

  10. Spray the dough with water again and wait for the oven to come to temperature.

  11. While the oven is heating up, cut a slit across the length of the individual risen dough using a 45° angle with either a razor or super sharp knife. Spray opening with water so that that section stays moist and can rise in the cooking process. This will create that beautiful split on the banh mi.

  12. Right before it’s time to bake, spray water onto the individual bread pieces and extra on the slits. Bake bread on a middle rack between 22-25 minutes.

  13. First 3-4 minutes of baking spray with water again to allow the outside to stay wet and allow time for the inside to expand some more. If you have a dry and cooked exterior, the inside won’t be able to keep expanding and creating that fluffy texture. Be careful! The steamed air is super hot! Open the oven and let air escape before moving yourself closer to spray the bread.

  14. Remove the water tray during the last 10-12 minutes of baking to allow bread to brown.

  15. Melt the ½ tablespoon of butter. Use a brush to apply butter to the tops of the banh mi.

  16. Once the golden brown color appears, your bread is cooked and ready for the final butter brush application! Let bread cool slightly and enjoy with some condensed milk or make a sandwich! Great with curries and stewed meats. Bon Appétti!


Baguette Pan:

Baking Tray:

Spray Bottle:

Multiple Spray Bottles:

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