Long ago when the French colonists arrived in Vietnam they brought their baking skills with them. Thus was born the banh mi, a Vietnamese version of French baguettes, which have their own unique texture. They are generally lighter than normal French bread, and have a very thin crust that crackles when broken.
This article features ten recipes for making banh mi bread. Let’s get started!
This recipe uses a bread flour with at least 12% protein along with bread improver to ensure that the dough rises enough. Both of these ingredients are essential for getting the soft, fluffy texture that characterizes banh mi baguettes.
You will also need vitamin C for giving the yeast a boost; a crushed up vitamin C tablet will work perfectly well for this. These baguettes are brushed with vegan butter for a beautiful, shiny crust that is very crispy.
Most traditional banh mi breads are made with just flour water and yeast, but this recipe adds an egg to improve the texture of the crumb (the inside of the bread).
In order to get the extra crispy crust, you will need to open your oven after the first 15 minutes of baking to spray them with a fine misting of water.
You can store these baguettes in the fridge for up to a week, and reheat them in the oven when you want to use them for a sandwich.
A lot of recipes add a small amount of oil to their banh mi dough in order to make it more elastic. However, this can also make the bread much heavier, which is not what you want for a Vietnamese baguette. As such, this recipe skips the fat entirely and offers some great advice on how to slash your loafs to get the right look and texture for your banh mi.
With only five ingredients, this recipe is very easy to make, but it will certainly take a bit of time and practice to master.
Banh mi originated from the Vietnamese city of Saigon, and this recipe teaches you how to make authentic Saigon style baguettes. They don’t have any fat in them, and a bread improver is used to make the dough rise more than it normally would. This gives the loaves that incredibly light, fluffy texture that characterizes banh mi.
To get the crispy outer crust, you will need to spray your baguettes with water after 13 minutes of cooking. While all of this may sound a bit tricky for amateur bakers, but the end result is well worth the effort.
This recipe uses a small amount of oil in the dough to make it more elastic. In order to get the same light fluffy crumb, you will need to cook the loaves at 450 °F for five minutes, spraying with water every two minutes. Once the dough has started to rise, lower the temperature to 420 °F and cook for another five minutes.
After this, you can turn the oven off and leave your bread for three minutes in the ambient heat. Don’t leave it for too long though or your baguettes may become very hard. While it is quite complicated, this recipe produces perfect crispy banh mi with a very light crumb.
The only difficult part of this recipe is that you will need to punch your dough down before shaping it. To do this, you will need to push the dough and squeeze out all the air bubbles, so the yeast can start making it rise a second time. This gives the baguettes a slightly tighter crumb that is perfect for making a sandwich.
The crust of these Banh mi are perfectly crispy and crackly when you break them in half. This effect is achieved with cold milk and iced water, which is sprayed over the loaf while it is cooking. You will need an egg for this recipe, which means it isn’t strictly traditional, but it still tastes amazing.
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Instead of butter or margarine, these banh mi have a single egg in the dough to give them a lighter yellow coloring. This may also contribute to a thinner crust that will crackle when you break the baguette in half.
A great thing about this recipe is that it teaches you how to make a traditional French poolish, which is a yeast culture commonly used to make French bread. When they are finished, these baguettes have a beautiful golden brown color and have a beautifully crispy outer crust.
As we said above, banh mi is normally made with a poolish yeast culture, but you can use a sourdough culture instead if you have one close to hand. There are two different methods you can use for making these sourdough baguettes.
The traditional Japanese yudane method uses hot water to gelatinize the starch and leads to bread that is slightly chewier. The non-yudane method on the other hand produces a crumb that is more similar to traditional banh mi with a fluffy, soft interior. Whichever one you use, you are sure to love these delectable little loafs, and they can be enjoyed alone or as part of a healthy sandwich.
While traditional Vietnamese banh mi don’t always require a combination of rice and bread flour, some of them do. This recipe teaches you how to make a baguette using both flours that tastes just like it came off the streets of Saigon.
With no egg or fat, this is a very authentic recipe and goes beautifully with any traditional filling, from tofu to pork. It is also completely vegan, and using all rice flour instead of mixture will make this recipe gluten-free.
Be sure to follow all the instructions very carefully, especially when it comes to slitting and punching down your dough. This recipe also includes some fillings you can put in your sandwich, such as pickled carrot and Daikon radish.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Difference Between Banh Mi and a Normal Baguette?
Although banh mi originally came from the baguette during the French colonial occupation of Vietnam, it is slightly different. For one, French bread tends to be a bit denser and more chewy. Banh mi on the other hand is extremely light and fluffy on the inside with a thin crust that is very crispy and crackles when broken.
What Equipment Will I Need to Make Banh Mi?
A food processor with a dough hook is a great tool to have when making any bread, especially banh mi. This saves you having to knead the dough by hand, which can be very time-consuming.
You will also need a perforated baguette tray to get the best shape, as well as a scraper for removing the loafs from the tray and a spray bottle, for misting the baguettes with water while they are cooking.
It can help to have a bread lame, which is a French razor designed for slitting loafs of bread. However, you can easily use a normal knife for this purpose and your loafs will still turn out fine.
What Fillings Can I Put in Banh Mi?
There are lots of delicious and exciting fillings you can put in your baguettes to make a beautiful sandwich. Some traditional Vietnamese options include pate made from pork or chicken, pickled carrot, and Thi Nguoi (which is a special type of Vietnamese ham). Smashed pork meatballs and shredded chicken also make excellent fillings, especially when combined with lots of fresh vegetables.
If you don’t eat meat, then you can fill your banh mi with meat free alternatives, such as marinated tofu. This tastes amazing with traditional Vietnamese pickled vegetables like carrot, cucumber and Daikon radish. It often helps to remove some of the center from the bread before adding your fillings to ensure there is enough room for everything you want in your sandwich.
Making banh mi isn’t easy, and you will need to handle your dough very carefully to get the desired texture and consistency. However, if you get it right, then you will have delicious miniature baguettes that can be used to make all manner of exciting sandwiches.
The best part about this meal is that once you know all the tips and tricks, it can be made with very few ingredients. Test your baking skills with any of these recipes and see if you can make perfectly crispy Vietnamese baguettes with a sumptuous fluffy interior today.