The perfect Vietnamese baguette or Bánh Mì is deliciously light, crispy, and chewy. In this recipe, I teach you how to get the authentic taste and texture that makes this traditional Vietnamese bread so wonderful – because the best Bánh Mì sandwich needs to be made with the best bread!
What is Bánh Mì (Vietnamese baguette)?
You may know Bánh Mì as the delicious, herb and veggie-filled, savory sandwich that is a staple in Vietnamese restaurants. But the word “Bánh Mì” in Vietnamese actually means bread, derived from ”Bánh” which refers primarily to baked goods. In Vietnamese cuisine, it’s also used to refer to the short baguette that is used to make the Bánh Mì sandwich. That light and crispy Vietnamese bread is what I’m going to be focusing on in this banh mi bread recipe.
French baguette versus Vietnamese baguette
Vietnam was colonized by the French for six decades and this has had a very noticeable influence on Vietnamese food. You may notice a lot of similarities between Vietnamese and French cuisine that you don’t see in the food of many other Asian countries. Some examples of this are Vietnamese coffee and Vietnamese flan – both very delicious.
But probably the most popular example is the Vietnamese baguette or the Bahn Mi. This Vietnamese version of the French sandwich bread has a crisp, thin crust with a delightfully cottony soft and chewy inside. It’s also a little bit sweeter than the European baguette, which makes it a great base for all the delicious Vietnamese herbs and savory flavors in a Bánh Mì sandwich!
The process of making Vietnamese baguettes versus French baguettes is also a bit different. While the French baguette uses a more delicate rolling and shaping process, Vietnamese baguettes typically require more speed and more force. In this banh mi bread recipe, I use a stand mixer to get the same effect. This treatment of the dough allows more gluten to develop for the ideal chewy texture.
How to make the best Vietnamese baguette
The secret to making the perfect Vietnamese baguette is in the kind of flour used. The easiest and best way to get that authentic Vietnamese baguette taste and texture is to use bread flour instead of regular all-purpose flour. Bread flour has more protein and gluten. The extra protein gives the bread more rise and the extra gluten gives it more chew. This is what creates the much lighter and chewier texture that is unique to the Vietnamese baguette.
The brand of bread flour I like best for this recipe is King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour, but you can use any unbleached bread flour available to you. Unbleached flour is slightly denser than bleach flour which makes it perfect for creating a sturdy bread that can hold in a lot of fillings. You might also be interested to know that unbleached flour is a little bit healthier too since it hasn’t been chemically processed as much as bleached flour has.
Using the right kind of flour really makes a big difference when it comes to baking, especially in a recipe that requires very few ingredients like this bread.
Now that we’ve covered the nuances of the Vietnamese baguette, let’s get into the recipe!
Vietnamese Baguette Bread Recipe | Bánh Mì Việt Nam
- 500 grams BreadFlour
- 8 grams Kosher Salt
- 6 grams Sugar
- 1 packet Instant Rise Yeast
- 350 ml Water room temperature
- Combine bread flour, kosher salt, sugar andinstant rise yeast and mix.
- Add all dry ingredients to standing mixer andcombine with water.
- Mix on speed setting #2 for a few minutes untilall dry ingredients are well combined. Let dough rest for 2-3 minutes.
- Now increase speed setting to #4 and knead doughfor 5 minutes.
- Let dough rest for 5 minutes.
- Knead dough for another 5 minutes at speedsetting #4.
- Do the stretch test to make sure dough isready. If dough stretches withouttearing, then the dough is ready. Form the dough into round shape.
- Transfer dough into lightly greased bowl, coverwith kitchen towel and put in the oven with OVEN LIGHTS ON and let t rest for 60 minutes.
- Knead the dough by hand a little bit to release all the air bubbles.
- Form dough into round shape again, cover and putin the oven with OVEN LIGHTS ON for another 30 minutes.
- Dough is now ready for shaping. Divide the dough into 8 equals sizes.
- Punch / flatten each dough to release any airbubbles and then shape into finish size.
- Put on your shaped baguette on baguette orbaking tray. Cover with kitchen toweland put back in the oven with OVEN LIGHTS ON to rise another 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, take dough out of oven andpre-heat oven to 450 – 475 degrees Fahrenheit (depending how hot your oven )
- Once oven is pre-heated, lightly spray doughwith water and make a cut in the middle with a very sharp knife.
- Put in the oven. Spray some water into the oven before closing the oven door.
- Bake 20-23 minutes (depending on youroven). If your oven has uneven heatdistribution, turn the baguette half-way through the baking time.