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Old 04-28-2012, 06:03 PM   #1
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Smile Recreation of Vietnamese Banh Mi baguette - my tested recipe with stable successes

Hi everyone,

My name is Rose. I am new to the forum.

I would like to contribute a a Banh Mi recipe that I have been working with for quite some time already. It has shown stable success: Super airy loaves with crispy crust and moist little white crumb.

Here is the ingredient list for recipe:

160ml lukewarm water (around 35 degree Celsius)
6g fresh yeast
230g bread flour
20g finely grounded rye flour
20g sugar
4g salt
20g odorless oil such as sunflower or canola (or a mixture of 10g melted butter – 10g oil)
˝ vitamin C tablet (100mg acid ascorbic per tablet)

Anyhow, I have had great results with this recipe for quite some times already, and I am a Vietnamese. So, good luck with Banh Mi.

I am new to all this blogging and online communities, so constructive comments, recommendation and discussion are highly appreciated. Thank you!

Rose,

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Old 04-28-2012, 06:28 PM   #2
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Rose, you're doing very well for a beginner! I predict you'll have a very successful future in blogging and online if you continue to put as much energy into it.

Your comments about adding ascorbic acid were interesting, I've never heard of that.

Also, I've never seen fresh yeast in the markets in US, although perhaps I just haven't been perceptive. I've always used the dried yeast that comes in packets.

Your bread looks and sounds delicious!
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Old 04-28-2012, 07:11 PM   #3
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Instruction detail for my recipe

Hello,

Here in this post, I would describe how I make Bánh mě in my own way, which suitable for home bakers, who share the same dream of conquering this challenge to successfully recreate the mysterious Bánh mě baguette.

Below is how I make Bánh mě baguette. (6 loaves, 75g per loaf)
————————————————
Utensils needed
  • An electric mixer with dough hook attachment (recommended)
  • Clean bowls
  • A digital scale
  • A baguette perforated baking tray
  • A spray bottle
  • A double razor slashing lame (make one yourself like in this photo, I made mine that way, too)

————————————————
Ingredients and Instructions
  • 160ml lukewarm water (around 35 degree Celsius)
  • 6g fresh yeast
Step 1: Dissolve fresh yeast into the measured warm water (Remember: warm water is needed to activate the yeast, do not use too cool or hot-to-touch water). Let sit for 5 minutes or so until there is bubble on the surface. This is a necessary step to check if your yeast is still alive and active. If the mixture does not bubble up after 5 minutes, discard it, and make a new one, maybe this time with a different yeast source, or pay attention to the water temperature.

The fresh yeast is usually packed in form of cubes (or cake as people call it). Here is a picture from the yeast cake I use in Finland, 50 gram per cube, able to leaving 400ml of liquid in dough recipe. You can buy it in almost every market here; it should be in the fridge near to milk products, labeled “Toure hiiva” – Finnish for fresh yeast.

Personally, fresh yeast is what I am always to use in making my Bánh mě. I have tried making it with different brands of dry yeast without stable success, so I just drop that and stick with fresh yeast. Surprisingly enough, my Bánh mě dough, when being made with fresh yeast, comes out a bit firmer and cohesive than when being made with dry yeast (and Bánh mě or other baking products baked with fresh one has less yeasty smell. It has been claimed that bread baked with fresh yeast have superior flavor, too.) So just some more reasons why I stick with my precious little fresh yeast cubes in my bread baking.

However, if fresh yeast is not available, or you are not familiar with it, try sticking with your normal dry yeast because technically, they should react the same way and produce the same result. So for this recipe, if you wish to use dry yeast, use 3g of dry yeast. If you wish to use instant yeast, use 2g of instant yeast. Just make sure that you activate the yeast correctly according the manufacturer instruction.
  • 230g bread flour
  • 20g finely grounded rye flour
  • 20g sugar
  • 4g salt
Step 2: Mix all the dry ingredients in to a large mixing bowl. I use a combination of bread flour and rye flour (8% of total flour weight) because as I researched and experimented, rye flour does add some advantages to my Bánh mě dough.

- Firstly, a small amount of rye – 5-10% of the total flour by weight – has a definite effect on the flavor of the bread. The distinctive flavor of the rye itself may not be noticed, yet the bread’s overall flavor seems better. This may be due to the action of the amylases in rye releasing more sugars. This is necessary for this bread because originally, Bánh mě has quite plain taste.

- Secondly, dough with rye flour added often require a bit higher proportion of water than pure wheat dough. Therefore, even though this dough is 64% hydration, by adding 20g rye flour, the dough is less sticky and easier to handle.

- Thirdly, rye has more free sugars than wheat, so rye added dough ferments faster than pure wheat dough. You can cut down the fermenting time by adding bit rye flour into the dough.

- Fourthly, this point does not have scientific background though, by adding a small amount of rye flour, I noticed that the bread crust is crispier than pure wheat loaves’. It’s almost like hard flakes, which resembling original Bánh mě’s crust a lot.

If you don’t have rye flour in hand, simply just leave it and add the same amount of bread flour, meaning 250g in total. I used to use only pure bread flour with many successes too.

NOTE: The bread flour I use is semi-coursed 13% protein bread flour (which is normal and usable, because wheat produced in Europe tends to have higher protein percentage than in other regions). The rye flour I use is finely grounded rye flour.

I also add sugar in the recipe to increase the complexity in flavor for this bread since this is not long fermented bread, the flavor can be cut back quite deeply, and have to be support by outside substances. About salt, I use regular table salt, nothing fancy about that.
  • 20g odorless oil such as sunflower or canola (or a mixture of 10g melted butter – 10g oil)
Step 3: Add oil or oil-melted butter mix into the dry ingredients bowl. Usually, there is no oil in baguette recipe. But please do, in this recipe. Oil will make the crumb moist and soft, resembling original Bánh mě. In Vietnam, bakers use bread improver to increase the moisture in the crumb, but I do not support any kind of addictive added to homemade breads, so I recommend to stick with the oil. A mixture of melted butter and oil can create the buttery smell of the finish products, so, use this mix if you like your bread to smell like a bit more like heaven when it’s being baked and done.
  • ˝ vitamin C tablet (100mg acid ascorbic per tablet)
Step 4: Crust ˝ tablet of vitamin C into fine powder and sprinkle into the mixing bowl, together with other ingredients. Acid ascorbic creates an acidic environment for the yeast that helps it work better. It also acts as a preservative & deters mold and bacterial growth. With just a touch of ascorbic acid, your breads, the yeast will work longer and faster. By adding this amount of Vitamin C as an improver, my bread dough strength improves significantly; the loaves are also lighter, airier, which make it a lot lot like Bánh mě in Vietnam. However, it gets destroyed during baking, so no health benefits!

I do not recommend using orange/lemon flavor fizzy tablets or Vitamin C candy (even though they contain acid ascorbic), as they do not react the same way as pure acid ascorbic. Vitamin C tablets can easily be found in pharmacy shops and one small bottle of them can be use like forever, so if you want to conquer Bánh mě, the addition of acid ascorbic is a must.

Step 5: After your water-yeast mixture has bubbled up, add it in to the dry-oil-vitamin C mixture in the same mixing bowl.

Step 6: Start combining all your ingredients first by starting the mixer at low speed until you achieve a mass. If your mass looks wetter, simply add more flour at 10g each addition. If you mass look dryer, simply add more water at 5g each addition. This can happen due to different flour type that you use, or because of the environment differences such as humidity.

Use the dough hook if you have a stand mixer like me. Some hand mixers also have a duo of dough hooks, which can also be used. Or if you make bread by hand, just create a well in the center of the mixing bowl, add water gradually when using your hand to in a circular motion to help the flour absorb the water, until you achieve a mass like above.

Step 7: increase the speed to medium high speed if using electric mixers. Stop at 5 minutes interval to check the level of gluten development in the dough (a.k.a the strength of the dough). Here is my dough at 13 minutes of mixing, fully developed gluten, that my dough can be stretched out in to very thin, almost see-through sheet. Stop when your dough reaches this stage.

If you are mixing by hand, fear not. Simply follow this slap and fold (or French method) technique demonstrated in this video by Richard Bertinet.
The Technique: Sweet Dough with Richard Bertinet: Magazine Video : gourmet.com

You can achieve the same result by applying this technique for 25 to 30 minutes. I must say it is not an easy exercise but many of you may not know, kneading and mixing dough by hand is claimed to be the cheapest and one of the most effective stress relieving therapies in the world. Just imagine the dough as the face of someone or something that bothers your right now, and BAM! BAM! BAM! … Phew, good for you. You know what I mean, ahaha. Believe me, very effective. Been there, done that!

Step 8: Shape your dough into a ball and let it rest in a lightly oil container for 1 hour or until double in size. This is the bulk fermentation stage, which let the dough rest for further gluten and flavor development. My apartment is always a bit cold, around 20-22 degree Celsius inside, so my solution is that I cover my container with a warm damp towel, put it inside my oven, which light turned on but no heat applied.

Step 9:
After the 1 hour bulk fermentation. Flip the dough out onto your working surface, which already oiled lightly also. It should come out very easily since the containing bowl was oiled. It will deflate a bit and that’s alright.

Step 10: divide the dough into 6 equal parts, 75g each. Then gently shape them into short cylinders, like this. The them bench rest for 10 minutes, covered with plastic wrap.

Step 11:
After 10 minutes rest; turn 1 ball on to the lightly oiled surface. (As I explain the previous post here, Bánh mě baguette shaped on a lightly oiled working bench, not by using excess flour). Stretch it into very thin sheet, like this. But not too thin that makes it tear apart. Pay attention to the edge of the dough sheet because it tends to be thicker than the inner part, keep the edge very thin. (Otherwise, you will end up with a bone-like shaped baguette)



Roll the sheet very very tightly into a firm torpedo. You should feel the tightness of the torpedo, or else, it will not spring properly when baked. Continue with the remaining balls. When finished, you have a tray like this.



Step 12:
Mist the loaves with a spraying bottle a couple of time to create the needed humidity for the proofing. Let the tray go through the final proofing stage in a homemade proof box like this, in room temperature, for 1 more hour. Basically, it’s a big size black plastic bag I found somewhere in my apartment, clean thoroughly and let dry.

After 45 minutes of final fermentation, preheat your oven to it’s maximum temperature, in my case is 300 degree Celsius.

After 1 hour of final fermentation, your dough should reach this volume shown this the picture.



Step 13:
At this stage, your oven should be preheated properly to 300 degree Celsius. Your loaves have been proofed to the right stage. You have to make sure that your loaves have a smooth, not totally dried-out but not wet surface. If they are still wet outside, or stick to your finger, you should consider leaving it out in room environment for like 5 minutes to create a “skin” to your baguette.

Now it’s time for some slashing. I used to have countless troubles with slashing my baguettes. But after viewing this wonderful video I open up my eyes.

- Proper scoring/ slashing the baguette by Bread Hitz


Here is how I perform my slashing:
- Stand vertically from the loaf, not horizontally; you are facing the loaf length-wise not height-wise.
- Hold the lame like holding a key to open a door.
- The lame should be hold not perpendicularly with the loaf but at a slight angles of about 30 – 45 degree. The cuts should not enter deeply into the loaf, but rather making a lift right under
- Slashing motion is done with the entire arm, not just the hand.
- Imagine dividing the dough into 3 equal strips length-wise. Your cuts should all fall into the center trips but not across the whole loaf.
- Your cuts should be around 0.8cm deep, 5 cm long, with around 1.5cm overlapping with the previous cut.
- After cutting the loaf, I pipe a small line of shortening/margarine into the cut. When baking, the shortening or margarine melts leave the inner part of the cut moister and more fragile than the outer crust, therefore, if the loaves spring while baking, it will choice the weakest point to rise up, which is the moistest part of the loaves.

Here is a picture of how my lashes look like.



These following steps are critical in the making of Bánh mě. So read the instruction first, and then follow them exactly.

Step 14: Prepare your oven properly now. Check carefully if there is any air vents in the oven, if there is, cover the exit tightly with a cool damp towel. Mine have one but I did not notice for such a long time, so you’d better check, for the best.
Prepare 200ml of hot water. Boiling is best.

Step 15: Right after slashing your Bánh mě loaves, mist them generously with water from spray bottle.

Step 16: Open the oven’s door, splash the prepared hot water onto the oven floor, and put your prepared baguette tray onto the center rack, close the door immediately. This is how I create steam for my oven.
There are more ways to create steam for your oven. Feel free to explore all the possibilities.

Step 17: Turn down the heat to 275 degree Celsius. Bake with steam for the first 7 minutes.

Step 18: Open your oven’s air vent (that previously covered by a damp towel), ajar your oven door for 1 minute by a wooden spoon to let the steam evaporate completely. Then close the door, reduce the heat to 250 degree Celsius and bake for 8 more minutes.

Turn your tray inside out if needed for even browning. If your baguettes brown too quickly or too slowly, simply adjust the baking time or the heat accordingly.

Step 19: Turn off the heat, ajar the oven door, and let the tray sit in the oven for 2 more minutes. Then take them out and let cool off for 5 to 10 minutes.

Here is picture of my finish products.



Step 20:
Enjoy. You can see in this picture below that the bread has almost little white moist crumb. Perfect for adding layers of your favorite fillings in and eat them up. Nom Nom…



What do you think? What is your favorite Banh Mi recipes? Any comments and discussions are highly appreciated.

Thank you,


Rose
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Old 04-28-2012, 07:38 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by EvillyChic View Post
Ingredients and Instructions

160ml lukewarm water (around 35 degree Celsius)
6g fresh yeast
230g bread flour
20g finely grounded rye flour
20g sugar
4g salt
20g odorless oil such as sunflower or canola (or a mixture of 10g melted butter – 10g oil)
˝ vitamin C tablet (100mg acid ascorbic per tablet)


What do you think? What is your favorite Banh Mi recipes? Any comments and discussions are highly appreciated.
I will appreciate if you can explain what Banh Mi means. Your ingredients (other than the ascorbic acid) seem fairly standard for a baguette, and more or less for most breads. (Please note that I'm not an experienced baker.)

Also, I presume the ingredients listed makes 6 small loaves?

Again, you did a very nice and thorough job writing up your recipe! I'm an Asian food enthusiast and I hope you'll post more Vietnamese recipes soon!
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Old 04-29-2012, 12:14 AM   #5
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Hi Rose,
Welcome to DC.

Josie
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Old 04-29-2012, 05:07 AM   #6
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What is Banh Mi

Hi,

Thank you all. I feel very welcomed. :)

Here is my definition of Banh Mi:

Bánh Mě or Bánh Mỳ (English pronunciation: /ˈbʌn ˌmiː/, Vietnamese pronunciation: [ɓǎɲ mî]) is a Vietnamese term for all kinds of bread. Bread was introduced into Vietnam by the French during its colonial period. The Bánh Mě that I want to discuss about today is specifically the Vietnamese baguette Bánh Mě but not any other type of bread. Bánh Mě baguette is the most commonly found bread in Vietnam. It is a single serving size baguette that resembles a torpedo, and usually more airy than its western cousins, so as a result, has a thinner, crispier crust.


Although the term ” Bánh Mě ” itself only refers to the Vietnamese baguette without any fillings, the term is widely used also to describe to a type of heavenly meat-filled sandwiches made from Bánh Mě. The sandwiches made from Bánh Mě include various wonderful kinds of meat fillings such as steamed, pan-roasted or oven-roasted seasoned pork belly, Vietnamese sausage, grilled pork, grilled pork patties, spreadable pork liver pâté, pork floss, grilled chicken, chicken floss, canned sardines in tomato sauce, soft pork meatballs in tomato sauce, head cheese, fried eggs (vegetarian version is tofu or seitan filling); accompanied by vegetables such as fresh cucumber slices, cilantro and pickled shredded carrots and daikon. Spicy chili sauce, freshly sliced chilly, Vietnamese mayonnaise, and soy sauce is normally used in Bánh Mě sold by street vendors in Vietnam.


And yes, I intend to do more of Vietnamese cuisine, so keep in touch.

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Old 04-29-2012, 09:31 AM   #7
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Thanks for explaining Bánh Mě. I did indeed think this referred only to sandwiches, not what the bread is. We have several (many) Vietnamese restaurants in our community. I am thinking of one in particular which makes the best sandwiches. And no wonder-- It's a Bakery and makes the best breads!! Crisp outside and has a light crumb inside, just as you describe. This is the part I got right-- one can not make a good sandwich unless starting out with a good bread.

Thanks for your very thorough instructions.
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:27 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by EvillyChic View Post
Bánh Mě or Bánh Mỳ (English pronunciation: /ˈbʌn ˌmiː/, Vietnamese pronunciation: [ɓǎɲ mî]) is a Vietnamese term for all kinds of bread. Bread was introduced into Vietnam by the French during its colonial period. The Bánh Mě that I want to discuss about today is specifically the Vietnamese baguette Bánh Mě but not any other type of bread. Bánh Mě baguette is the most commonly found bread in Vietnam. It is a single serving size baguette that resembles a torpedo, and usually more airy than its western cousins, so as a result, has a thinner, crispier crust.


Although the term ” Bánh Mě ” itself only refers to the Vietnamese baguette without any fillings, the term is widely used also to describe to a type of heavenly meat-filled sandwiches made from Bánh Mě. The sandwiches made from Bánh Mě include various wonderful kinds of meat fillings such as steamed, pan-roasted or oven-roasted seasoned pork belly, Vietnamese sausage, grilled pork, grilled pork patties, spreadable pork liver pâté, pork floss, grilled chicken, chicken floss, canned sardines in tomato sauce, soft pork meatballs in tomato sauce, head cheese, fried eggs (vegetarian version is tofu or seitan filling); accompanied by vegetables such as fresh cucumber slices, cilantro and pickled shredded carrots and daikon. Spicy chili sauce, freshly sliced chilly, Vietnamese mayonnaise, and soy sauce is normally used in Bánh Mě sold by street vendors in Vietnam.
Thank you! I had assumed the French influence but it's far more interesting to hear the full explanation. I'll be looking forward to your future posts.
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Old 04-29-2012, 07:01 PM   #9
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Talking French influence or not?

Hi,

Definitely, Banh Mi was a result of the French influence, not to mention in general Bread eating culture in Vietnam. Far long ago, before the French colonial period, we Vietnamese lived solely on rice and rice product. Almost all the pastry and the cuisine we have used to be made of rice, or to be more specific, different kinds of rice like long, short, or sticky rice.

When the French come, they brought one of their most famous bread - baguette and many more. Banh Mi itself first was Vietnamese "improvisation" of French baguette because back then we did not own the luxury of eating breads full-of-crumb (dense) bread. Furthermore, Vietnamese wanted to add their local food into Banh Mi as fillings, like pickled radish or herbs so 1 arrow for 2 birds. :)

And the word Banh Mi itself is used widely for the sandwiches made from this bread and also the bread itself. In Vietnam, we distinguish these guys by adding the filling names behind "Banh Mi" to refer to the sanwiches, for instance, Banh Mi "pate" for the sandwiches made by Banh Mi, which have liver pate as filling, etc.

Thank you so much for your feedback and support. I am new to all this so I really appreciated it.

Rose,
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:03 AM   #10
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Thank you! I had assumed the French influence but it's far more interesting to hear the full explanation. I'll be looking forward to your future posts.
I agree GG, Ascorbic acid is from memory one of the few additives allowed by law in artisan French bread it improves the yeasts performance.
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Recreation of Vietnamese Banh Mi baguette - my tested recipe with stable successes Hi everyone, My name is Rose. I am new to the forum. I would like to contribute a a Banh Mi recipe that I have been working with for quite some time already. It has shown stable success: Super airy loaves with crispy crust and moist little white crumb. Here is the ingredient list for recipe: 160ml lukewarm water (around 35 degree Celsius) 6g fresh yeast 230g bread flour 20g finely grounded rye flour 20g sugar 4g salt 20g odorless oil such as sunflower or canola (or a mixture of 10g melted butter – 10g oil) ˝ vitamin C tablet (100mg acid ascorbic per tablet) Anyhow, I have had great results with this recipe for quite some times already, and I am a Vietnamese. [IMG]https://s-static.ak.facebook.com/images/blank.gif[/IMG] So, good luck with Banh Mi. I am new to all this blogging and online communities, so constructive comments, recommendation and discussion are highly appreciated. [IMG]https://s-static.ak.facebook.com/images/blank.gif[/IMG] Thank you! Rose, 3 stars 1 reviews
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