Bánh mì (/ˈbæn ˌmiː/; Vietnamese pronunciation: [ɓǎɲ mî]) is a Vietnamese term for all kinds of bread. The word is derived from bánh (bread) and mì (wheat, also spelled mỳ in northern Vietnam). Bread, or more specifically the baguette, was introduced by the French during its colonial period. The bread most commonly found in Vietnam is a single-serving baguette, which is usually more airy than its Western counterpart, with a thinner crust. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%C3%A1nh_m%C3%AC)
One of the Facebook members just came back from Vietnam and obviously she like the banh mi or Vietnamese baguette very much. I have seen her preparing Banh mi for a few times and posted in Facebook. That sparks my curiosity to blog this regional bread ..
All these while, i knew that Banh mi is related to baguette due to its shape and its colonial relationship with France. I Google a few recipes but I used none of them as I find that the recipe is very much similar to my baguette recipe.
Just like any famous worldwide breads, there are many recipes in the internet and it is similar in some aspect yet different in another… I think the recipe i used is one of the simplest, without fats or oil or even sugar. I have added rice flour such that it has a crispy crust and soft interior. The only dissatisfaction I have is I should have let it proof longer such that it is even more fluffier. I have only let it proof until 2 times bigger but I will advise readers to let it proof until 2.5 times – 3 times bigger.
The bread is very basic, just like baguette. You can used in to prepare sandwiches just like the one sold in Delifrance or Subway. It is slightly chewy but it is that chewiness that attract me. Of course you can always served this in the very local manner: with curry chicken .
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: About 4-6 Banh Mi depending on size
- 5 grams of instant yeast
- 450 grams bread flour or plain flour
- 50 grams of rice flour
- 50 grams of sugar (optional)
- 350 grams lukewarm water
- 1.5 teaspoons of salt
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Put all dry ingredients together. Make a well in the centre, add the lukewarm water. Stir until it make a wet paste. Use the dough hook to knead the dough in a stand mixer until the dough starts to pull from the sides of the mixing bowl. It will takes about 5-6 minutes. At times the dough can be rather wet and cannot pull from the side of the mixing bowl, you will need to transfer to the lightly floured surface to do the kneading by hand.
- Transfer the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knead for 1-2 minutes. Shape it into a ball and let it proof in a greased bowl until it is twice the size. Depending on the weather, it can range from 30 to 45 minutes or more. Cover the dough with a clingy wrap or wet towel. Once the first proofing have done, transfer the dough out to the floured surface, lightly knead for 2-3 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 4-6 equal pieces, use a rolling pin to roll into 6” x 4 “ pieces.
- Roll the dough into a long cylindrical shape. Transfer the dough to the baking tray and and let it proof until it is double to triple in size (about 30 –45 minutes)
- Pre-heat the oven to 220 degree Celsius.
- Once the proofing is done, use a sharp knife or a razor blade to score some lines (about 1 cm deep)
- Open the oven door, add about 3-4 ice cubes top the lower baking tray (or you can spray about 10 squirts of water into the oven rack and sides.) Quickly put the baking tray with proofed baguettes inside the oven (one rack above the baking tray with water), close the oven door, and baked for 20 -25 minutes until golden brown.
- Banh mi is best eaten as a sandwich bread. If you want softer bread crust, you can lower the temperature and bake at 180 degree Celsius instead.
If you are wondering why the colour of my Banh Mi looks rather pale, the reason was I did not use any sugar in the recipe. If you used the sugar (listed as optional), you colour will be more attractive and browner as sugar caramelizes during baking. But taste with and without sugar is the same and usually sugar added of very small quantities. Whether you wish to call it Banh mi or baguette, I will leave it to you as in my humble opinion, the differences are very slight.
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