This recipe for a Vietnamese Baguette is the start of my quest to recreate a delicious sandwich I experienced at the Food and Wine Conference in Orlando recently. You can read about my conference experience in this post: Food and Wine Conference #FWCon!Back to sandwich nirvana. The sandwich is Banh Mi. If you've never had the pleasure of enjoying this magnificent sandwich, I highly recommend you find one fast and devour it and then have another, because it's that good. I may or may not have had two sandwiches in one sitting. Okay, I had two! I couldn't help myself!
As a result of my experience with the Banh Mi, I came home determined to at least attempt to recreate this delicious wonder! There are a couple different components to this sandwich, so I'm starting with the bread. The fabulously soft bread with a slightly crispy thin crust is the perfect wrap for the Banh Mi and this recipe I found on VietWorldKitchen.com is perfect! It's actually even better!
Because I live in a humid climate, I did have to adjust the recipe to work for me. Yes, even though we have air conditioning running 24/7, it is still humid inside! The A/C can only do so much you know. I reduce the liquid a little in the recipe and it turns out great for me!
If you find the dough seems to be a bit dry, then by all means, add more liquid as needed. After all, we can't all live in a tropical
I just love this bread. Look at those loaves! They are beautiful! I'm so proud of how this bread turned out!! I'm not the best bread maker in the bakery that is for sure, but this recipe makes it easy! It is somewhat time consuming with all the risings, and you do have to pamper this bread like you're giving it a spa treatment, but believe me! It's worth it!
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Can you tell I'm a proud mama? I was tickled with how this turned out and just kept taking pictures until I ran out of light! Another downside to living in a tropical paradise is the daily afternoon storms.
This recipe calls for using a food processor . The use of the food processor was a bit scary as I didn't want to overwork the dough, but it performed beautifully. Not only did this method produce two gorgeous loaves of bread, but it also saved me from having to knead the bread and everything stayed in the food processor, so that made for an easier clean-up all around! Can't beat that!! You can make this recipe with a mixer and kneading it by hand, so no worries if you don't have a food processor. I highly recommend you put one on your wish list. A food processor makes life in the kitchen so much easier!
The recipe also recommends using a Baguette Pan of which I do not have...yet! I baked these on a parchment lined baking sheet. This worked well, but I feel like the bottom could have had a little more crisp to the crust if I had used a baguette pan, so I ordered one and will be trying again to see the results. I'm excited about that <smile> and will update the post...someday...hopefully...
- 1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water (110 - 115 degrees F)
- 3/4 cup warm water (110 - 115 degrees F)
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur Flour)
- 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Add 1 package active dry yeast to 1/2 cup warm water. Be sure the water is between 110-115 degrees F. If it is too hot it will kill the yeast; too cold and the yeast won't activate. I use an Instant Read Thermometer to check the temp just to play it safe. Set the yeast and water mixture aside while you measure out the other ingredients.
- Measure out 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour. Be sure to spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level off the top. This way you won't risk packing the flour in and using too much. Add the 3 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt, and 1 tablespoon sugar to the bowl of your food processor fitted with your chopping blade. Give it a pulse to mix all the ingredients together nicely.
- Take a look at your yeast/water mixture. It should be a little foamy. This shows you the yeast is working - YAY! Add the 3/4 cup warm water to the yeast mixture and give it a stir to make sure the yeast is dissolved.
- With the food processor running, remove the feed tube and slowly pour in the yeast/water mixture. Turn off the food processor when the dough forms and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Put the feed tube back in the processor and set your timer for 1 hour. Let the dough rise undisturbed.
- When your timer goes off, the bowl of the food processor will be full of dough! Or it should be if the dough has risen properly. Give it 2 pulses to knock down the dough and then let it rise again. This time set your timer for 45 minutes. Once again, when the timer goes off, you should have a bowl full of dough. Pulse twice to knock it down and then set your timer for 30 minutes and let it rise one last time! Again, the dough will rise to the occasion and fill the bowl.
- Lightly flour your work surface and hands with 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour. Turn the dough out onto the floured surface being mindful of the sharp blade from the food processor. Carefully retrieve the blade and set it aside.
- Gently roll the dough in the flour to coat and divide the dough in half. Set one half aside.
- With lightly floured hands, gently press the one half of dough into an 8x5" rectangle. Yes, I use a measuring tape because I'm not good at eyeballing these things. Now fold down the top 1/3 of the dough to the middle and fold up the bottom 1/3 of the dough. Pinch the edges to seal and you should have a sort of log shape.
- With the seam side down, gently roll the dough back and forth until the dough is 15 inches long and about 2 inches wide. Carefully pick it up and place it in your fancy baguette pan if you have one, or onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Do the same with the 2nd ball of dough. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise in a warm location. I place mine in my cool oven with the oven light on. This works great! Let the loaves rise for 30 minutes or until nearly doubled in size.
- After rising, remove the loaves from the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Using a very sharp knife, slash the loaves 4 or 5 times diagonally making your cuts about 1/4 inch deep.
- I use a steam method when baking bread, but please be warned this can be harmful to your oven, so proceed at your own risk. If you decide to go with the steam method place a roasting pan on the bottom oven rack. Add enough hot water to the pan to cover and about 1" deep. If you prefer not to risk using steam, then proceed without the use of the water and bake as directed.
- When the oven is preheated, lightly spritz or baste the loaves with a little bit of water. Place the loaves in the upper third part of the oven and cook for 3 minutes. Lightly spritz or baste with water again and bake for 3 more minutes. Again, lightly spritz with water and then bake for 9 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for 5 more minutes. Carefully turn the loaves over so the bottom is up and bake for about 5 more minutes. Watch it carefully so it doesn't get too browned. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack and allow to cool slightly. Enjoy! For even more detailed instructions I recommend checking out the recipe at Viet World Kitchen. There's lots of great info on that post!!
Prep Time: 4 hrs. 30 mins.
Total time: 4 hrs. 55 mins.
Tags: Bread, Loaves, Vietnamese, Banh Mi, Yeast, Sandwich, Baguette, Crust, how to, homemade
Stay tuned for how to make pickled vegetables that go on the Banh Mi sandwich, as well as the recipe for the sandwich itself. Both are coming soon!