Vietnamese Style Baguette Recipe (Baguette for Bánh mì) (2024)

Posted on October 20, 2009 by RuneRider | 9 Comments

Vietnamese Style Baguette Recipe (Baguette for Bánh mì) (1)So…. you love Bánh mì sandwiches and you want to take the next step do you? You’ve pickled your own Do Chua, made your own mayo and pate and have tried every know combination of fillings, what’s there to do next?

Well, the thing you want to do now is try baking your own baguettes. That’s right…you read correctly, I said BAKE. Hey you’re the one with the obsession, not me. 🙂

I’ll tell you right off the hop, I’m not a baker and for me dough is like a soft gooey demon sent to provoke me unto the brink of madness. Therefore this is not my recipe and was created by author Andrea Nguyen, so she gets the kudos. I tend to disagree on some of her points about the bread you’ll generally find with a Bánh mì from a Viet shop, I like the airy, light baguettes that are more authentic to Bánh mì in Vietnam and use rice flour, but to each their own. You can try this and decide for yourself, or do what I do and buy the finish at home baguettes from the supermarket.

The following is credited to Andrea Nguyen on another site.

If you’re used to hardcore approaches like those in Peter Reinhart’s comprehensive Bread Baker’s Apprentice, you don’t need my help. If you’re new to bread baking, you’ll find the information here to be interesting, if not inspiring.

I realized the following during my experiments:

  • Skip the fat. Don’t add butter, shortening, or chicken fat (as I did) to the dough, or it will result in heavier, doughy bread. It weighs the dough down. In Vietnam, fat is a luxury. Why would they add it to bread? Duh.
  • Flour. Just use low-protein unbleached all-purpose flour, like those made by Pillsbury or Gold Medal. King Arthur is fabulous if you want a rustic loaf. What we’re shooting for are tender, fluffy results. Blending wheat flour with cake flour or rice flour doesn’t do much. The rice flour actually weighs down the dough; I used both Asian and regular health food-store rice flour. Cake flour affected the lightness of the dough marginally; if you were using hard wheat flour like King Arthur, then blending would help. For more on flour, visit:
  • Yeast. Can be either regular or rapid rise yeast, but I ended up using rapid rise, and bought many reasonably priced 3-packs of SAF at Trader Joe’s for 99 cents each.
  • Sugar. Feeds the yeast and gets it going. I also like the flavor that the sugar adds to the dough.
  • Salt. Regular non-iodized table salt is fine.
  • Water. I used tap.
  • Pan. Get a baguette loaf pan. If you’ve ever tried to lift a long and delicate risen baguette and slide it onto a baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles in the hot oven, you know it’s not easy. I’ve had plenty of loafs stick and become misshapen. On my second day of baking, I dropped baking on baking sheets or stone. I ran to the local gourmet cookware shop and bought a nonstick baguette pan, which many people swear by for circulating heat properly so that the loaves are crisp all over. It works and you can place the shaped loaf in it, let the dough rise and then put it in the oven.
  • Multiple risings. Bread takes time. A good 3 risings yields a good chewy “crumb” (meaty insides of bread).
  • Shaping the loaf matters. There’s a precise way to spring load the loaf so it bursts open through the slashes in the hot oven.
  • Slashing is important. A good sharp knife works fine for slashing. Angle the knife at about 30 degrees for nice slashes. The slashes act like steam vents. When done well, during baking, the bread opens up like a ripped weight lifter’s triceps. (Think Arnold Schwarzenegger.) If you become hooked, get a French lame gadget for surgically slashing. I don’t see a difference so long as you steel your knife first. A razor blade works too.
  • Preheat. Let the oven heat up for a good 30 minutes before baking. This can be done when the shaped loaf is rising for the last time.
  • Steam in oven. Moisture is needed to yield a nice crisp crust. A pan of water in the oven worked and spraying a few times added to a nice crust.
  • Eat fast. Even when I goofed, the bread tasted great — especially when freshly baked — about 30 minutes out of the oven, or whenever it had cooled sufficiently but was still warm.
  • Food processor. It actually works for bread like this. I stumbled across the unusual method by renowned author Jane Smiley in the August 2006 issue of Gourmet. It doesn’t get any easier than this. Just use a large-capacity food processor. The bowl of the processor is the perfect environment for dough to rise. You just push the buttons.

Vietnamese Style Baguette Recipe (Baguette for Bánh mì) (2) How to Make Vietnamese Baguette

This recipe yields nice, tasty baguettes that you’ll be proud of. The crumb is soft and chewy but not light and airy like the super cheap ones that quickly go stale. The top crust is light and crisp, while the bottom and sides are just a tad soft. Perfect for making banh mi sandwiches or dipping in bo kho beef stew or a chicken curry. Yes, it takes a good 4 hours but consider it a time and culinary splurge.

Makes two 15-inch loaves, each about 14 ounces

  • 1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast, Fleishman brand preferred, or fast-rise yeast, SAF brand preferred
  • 1/2 plus 1 cup warm water (105-115°F)
  • 3 1/2 cups low-protein, unbleached all-purpose flour, Gold Medal or Pillsbury brand preferred, plus extra for shaping the loaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Special equipment: Large capacity food processor; a double (15-inch long) dark, nonstick French bread pan; a razor blade or very sharp knife; plastic dough scraper; plastic spray bottle.

  1. Put the yeast in a small bowl and add the 1/2 cup water. Set aside for 2 to 3 minutes to soften the yeast. (It will look kind of blotchy as the granules break down. It may also get a bit foamy too.)
  2. Meanwhile, outfit the food processor with the regular chopping blade to make the dough. Put the flour, salt and sugar into the food processor.
  3. Return your attention to the yeast. Use a whisk or spoon to gently combine the yeast and water well. Pour in the 1 cup of water and gently whisk or stir again to combine. With the feed tube removed, start the food processor. Slowly pour the yeast mixture into the flour mixture in processor, blending just until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from side of processor bowl, about 1 minute.
  4. Replace the feed tube and let the dough rise until it nearly fills the bowl, about 1 hour. Pulse 1 or 2 times to slightly deflate the dough. Let the dough rise again and deflate. Let the dough rise one more time. You’re shooting for 3 risings. As you progress, each one will take less time.
  5. Flour your work surface and hands with about 1 tablespoon of flour. Detach the processor bowl from the machine. Holding the bowl upside down above your work surface, turn the very soft and sticky dough out onto your work surface, taking care to notice where the blade is in the blob of dough. (The dough scraper is handy for removing the dough from the walls of the processor bowl.) Remove the blade from the dough. Gently rotate the dough on your work surface so it is lightly covered by flour and does not stick. Use the dough scraper to divide the dough in half, setting one half off to the side. (If it’s unwieldy, use the scraper to move it around the work surface, lest the dough stick to your fingers!)
  6. Vietnamese Style Baguette Recipe (Baguette for Bánh mì) (3) To shape each baguette, use lightly floured hands to gently press one half of dough into an 8- by 5-inch rectangle or football shape. It should feel lofty and soft. The dough should naturally stretch lengthwise in one particular direction. Think of that as the grain of the dough. You want to shape the loaf along the grain of the dough to promote a big rise.
  7. Fold the top third down and the bottom third up as if you were folding a very wide and narrow business letter. Gently seal the edges by pressing with your fingers or the palm of your hand. The result should look like a fat log. (If you have a rectangle of sorts, you can repeat the folding and pinch the edges to seal to create a log.) Your aim is to coil the dough so that when it’s baking, it will spring and burst open beautifully. Try to keep as much of the air in the dough as possible without breaking the skin.
  8. Vietnamese Style Baguette Recipe (Baguette for Bánh mì) (4) Turn the log over (seam side down) and start rolling the log back and forth (have your hands flat facing downward) to elongate and stretch it into a 15-inch-long thick rope that’s 2 to 2 1/2 inches wide. Try not to stop for long lest the dough sticks to your work surface. The dough should be very soft and easily yield to your motions. Pick up the dough with both hands and place seam side down in the cradle of one of the bread pans. Repeat with the remaining half of dough.
  9. Loosely cover the loaves with a dish towel to prevent the dough from drying and inhibiting rising in the oven. Set aside in a warm draft-free place for 30 minutes, or until just shy of double the original size.
  10. Meanwhile, put a large roasting pan with 1 inch of hot water in it on bottom of gas oven or on lowest rack of electric oven. Position the oven rack in upper third of oven. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  11. Vietnamese Style Baguette Recipe (Baguette for Bánh mì) (5) When the loaves have risen enough, they’re ready for baking. Fill the spray bottle part way with water. Use a razor or sharp knife to make 4 or 5 shallow diagonal slashes down length of each log. The cuts should run the length of the log, be about 4 inches long each, and ¼ to 1/2 inch deep. Angle the razor or knife at about 30 degrees. Mist the loaves with 4 to 6 sprays of water.
  12. Slide the pan into the oven onto the upper 3rd rack and bake for 20 minutes. After baking for 3 minutes, mist the loaves. Repeat the misting after baking for another 3 minutes. Then, let the loaves bake. At the 15-minute mark, you may rotate the pan for even browning. At the 20-minute mark, gently turn (you may have to pry it free just a tad) the loaves bottom side up in the pan to promote even crisping and browning. Bake for about 5 minutes, during which you can even rotate the loaves so that the sides brown and crisp too, or until the loaves are crisp all over. The browning happens quickly at this stage so carefully monitor the loaves to prevent burning.
  13. Transfer each loaf to a rack to cool. The bread is wonderful warm after having cooled for about 30 minutes. They’ll remain at their best for about 6 hours after baking and can be reheated in the oven. Store overnight in a thick paper bag. To freeze for up to 2 months, wrap in a double layer of plastic wrap; defrost at room temperature and reheat in a 350F oven for about 10 minutes to refresh and crisp.Vietnamese Style Baguette Recipe (Baguette for Bánh mì) (6)

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Vietnamese Style Baguette Recipe (Baguette for Bánh mì) (2024)


What is the difference between Vietnamese baguette and French Baguette? ›

French baguettes have a chewier open crumb and have a thicker crunchy crust. While Vietnamese Baguettes have a pillowy fluffy crumb that is super light and a crackly thin crust.

What is the secret of best baguette? ›

One of the secrets of a great baguette is to start with a sponge (a mix of flour, water, and yeast), which gives the yeast time to mature and combine with the other ingredients, creating the mildly sour and nutty flavors and chewy texture.

What is the famous baguette in Vietnam? ›

In Vietnamese cuisine, bánh mì or banh mi (/ˈbɑːn miː/, /ˈbæn/; Vietnamese: [ɓǎjŋ̟ mì], 'bread') is a short baguette with thin, crisp crust and a soft, airy texture.

What is the best bread for banh mi? ›

These are the ingredients you'll need to make this bánh mì recipe: Bread: Don't overthink this as one community member says. Look for light, lofty bread. A French-style baguette works but so does a Mexican bolillo or hoagie-style roll.

Why are Vietnamese baguettes so good? ›

Rather than the gentle, repetitive folding technique that produces the tender texture of Parisian-style baguettes, Vietnamese bakers develop their gluten by vigorously whipping the dough with a machine mixer for a short amount of time, then rapidly slapping the loaves into shape before a long proof, Nguyen says.

What is a substitute for Vietnamese baguette? ›

Baguettes from a supermarket, torta or cubano rolls, or even kaiser rolls are good substitutes. 2. Fresh Chiles – Banh mi sandwiches need a spicy element, so use thinly sliced medium-hot chiles like jalapeños or Fresno chiles.

What is the best flour to use for baguettes? ›

Overall, the ideal flour for baguettes should have a moderate protein content, a fine texture, and should be of high quality. While traditional French type 55 flour is the ideal choice, a combination of all-purpose and bread flour can also work well in its place.

How do you get the golden crust on a baguette? ›

Adding steam to the oven by adding water or ice to a preheated baking tray or pan will help develop that crust. Make sure that your oven temperature is nice and high, we want to cook these quickly to help with that crust, but avoid an over baked crumb.

Why is my baguette not crusty? ›

If your crust is becoming soft too quickly and not staying crispy you simply need to bake the bread longer. The best way to do this is to lower the temperature of your oven slightly and bake a few more minutes to achieve the same color you would have at the higher temperature.

What is the national dessert of Vietnam? ›

Vietnamese sweet soup, or "che", is a traditional dessert enjoyed throughout Vietnam. Made from a variety of ingredients such as beans, fruits, nuts, and glutinous rice, che is a sweet and refreshing treat, perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth on a hot day.

What is the most famous meal in Vietnam? ›

Pho might be Vietnam's most famous dish but bun cha is the top choice when it comes to lunchtime in the capital. Just look for the clouds of meaty smoke after 11 a.m. when street-side restaurants start grilling up small patties of seasoned pork and slices of marinated pork belly over a charcoal fire.

What's the difference between banh mi and baguette? ›

To the uninitiated, bánh mì is an airy, crunchy French-styled baguette stuffed with a combination of meats, vegetables and other condiments. While balancing different textures and temperatures, bánh mì also has a flavor profile that is off the charts: salty, sour, savory, sweet, and aromatic all at once!

What is the difference between banh mi and French baguette? ›

Texture: A Vietnamese baguette has a thinner crust that is crispier than a French baguette. The Vietnamese baguette is also typically lighter and airier due to the use of rice flour in the dough.

What is the yellow stuff in banh mi? ›


It's mixed with oil and egg yolks, so it becomes a creamy yellow dressing. (Many banh mi recipes call for mayonnaise, which is an egg-based dressing). Vu describes the butter as one of the two essential ingredients to banh mi.

What is the difference between French bread and Vietnamese bread? ›

Vietnamese bread isreally light, crispy, and flaky versus French bread, which can be really hard—you could knock someone in the head with it.

How is Vietnamese bread different? ›

Vietnamese bread is a short baguette with thin, crisp crust and soft, airy texture. It can be made from either wheat flour or rice flour. It can be eaten plain or alongside dishes from meat such as beef stew, offal stew, or curry. It can also be dipped in condensed milk.

What is the difference between a baguette and a banh mi? ›

“Perhaps the most obvious French-influenced dish in Vietnam is the banh mi, a sandwich that evolved as the Vietnamese adopted the Frenchtradition of baking baguettes. Vietnamese baguettes use rice flour in the dough, making them lighter and chewier than a typical baguette.”

Why do Vietnamese sandwiches use French style bread? ›


The story begins in the mid-19th century when Vietnam fell under French colonial rule. The French brought their baguette with them, and the Vietnamese people began to eat their bread much like they did – typically with a platter of cold cuts, butter, cheese and/or pâté.

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