Bánh mì (/ˈbɑːn ˌmiː/ˈbæn/; Vietnamese: [ɓǎɲ mî]) is the Vietnamese word for bread. Bread, or more specifically the baguette, was introduced by the French during the colonial period in Vietnam. The bread most commonly found in Vietnamese cuisine is a single-serving baguette that is usually airier than its Western counterpart, with a thinner crust. Unlike the traditional French baguette, the Vietnamese baguette is sometimes made with rice flour along with wheat flour.
In Vietnamese cuisine, bánh mì is typically made into a sandwich known as bánh mì kẹp or bánh mì Sài Gòn, eaten alongside dishes such as bò kho (a beef stew) and phá lấu, or dipped in condensed milk (Sữa Ông Thọ).
RECIPE: (Yields 4 small baguettes)
- 250g bread flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 160 ml lukewarm water (original recipe used 180 ml, but I found the dough too wet).
- ½ vitamin C 500 mg (capsule or crushed tablet) or acid ascorbic
- In a mixing bowl of stand mixer., combine the yeast, sugar and 160ml lukewarm water. Stir well to dissolve. Add half of the flour (125 g) 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.
- Add the rest of the flour, salt and vitamin C into the starter dough and using the dough hook on a stand mixer, knead until the dough comes together and elastic. It takes around 10 to 15 minutes. If the dough too dry or wet, add 1 tablespoon of water or flour at a time.
- 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.
- 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 4 equal portions (each portion should weigh about 100g). Twist each portion inside out and form into a ball. Cover with kitchen towel and let them rest for 10 minutes.
- Take out 1 portion and roll out with a rolling pin into round shape. Roll it 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).
- Place the shaped dough on a baguette pan and cover with kitchen towel. Let it rest for another 1 hour until it rises double in size.
- 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.
- 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.
- Spray water on both sides of the oven and on the dough.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes at 230°C/450°F on the middle of the oven rack. After the first 8 minutes, spray water one more time on the baguettes and rotate the baguette pan to bake the baguettes evenly.