The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bánh Mì - Vietnamese Baguette Sandwich

Wandering Bread's picture
Wandering Bread

Bánh Mì - Vietnamese Baguette Sandwich

 

This is so yummy I wish I had made ten of them! The bread is kind of like a po-boy, thin crispy crust with a soft, sandwich like crumb. The filling is shredded pepper chicken, carrot, cucumber, fresh cilantro, hot peppers and a squeeze of lime juice.

Read the story and get the recipe at Wandering Bread

-Ryan

Comments

isand66's picture
isand66

Looks very tasty.  So you are living in Switzerland now?  How long have you been there and how do you like it?  What kind of work do you do?

Wandering Bread's picture
Wandering Bread

Thanks! I am an opera singer, so my family and I go from place to place for about 2 months at a time. Our home is in Houston and we live there about three months out of the year. We are here in Switzerland for another month. I love it apart from that fact that everything costs ridiculous heaps of money, and of course, there is no Mexican food...

isand66's picture
isand66

Sounds like an exciting life you live and I'm sure your kids will never forget the experience.  I wouldn't think there would be much Mexican food in Switzerland so I guess you will have to survive another couple of months without!

Good luck.

gmabaking's picture
gmabaking

especially after seeing the results of some of your baking! Your memory pages were, well, memorable and fun to read too. Thanks for sharing, I'm sure that I will be spending some time in the future with your recipes. Good luck in Switzerland and return to Texas safe and sound.

Wandering Bread's picture
Wandering Bread

Thanks for the encouragement!

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

I LOVE Banh Mi and make it at home every 3 weeks or so.  I am lucky to live in Vancouver where we have a lot of great asian markets.  I get amazing Banh Mi baguettes from a Vietnamese market close by.  These of course are not the same as french style baguettes.  Traditional Banh Mi baguettes have a thin crispy crust and are extremely light, with a super soft airy crumb texture, not chewy at all - just like you describe above.  As these types of baguettes are not necessarily deemed as a high quality artisanal baguette, they are perfect for Banh Mi sandwhiches.

Does anyone have a recipe of these Vietnamese Banh Mi style baguettes?

John

Wandering Bread's picture
Wandering Bread

I did some research online to try to find a traditional recipe but there aren't too many resources. It's hard to tell from these pics but I can tell you these did come out just as you describe, thin crispy crust and super soft crumb. The added sugar helps with the crispy crust as  opposed to crackly crust of an artisan style baguette (which I love to make too). As far as the soft crumb goes, the kneading and punching down, plus a slightly higher hydration gave these a lovely soft, sandwich style crumb. For a chewy open crumb in my sourdough loaves, I use high hydration and only stretch and folds, no kneading. I'm happy to hear from anyone on how to adjust this further to get an even softer crumb. I thought about adding some butter but I think it would make the taste too heavy. Maybe egg whites?

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Thanks for trying to find a recipe.  I guess if I can't find one, the Vietnamese store's baguettes at 50 cents each will do just fine.

John

Wandering Bread's picture
Wandering Bread

Thanks for this. I hadn't thought to add a bit of rye, I'll definitely try that next time.

Ryan

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Thanks for the post but I can tell just from the photos of the finished product that these would not be authentic Banh Mi baguettes.  The crust alone tells the story.

John

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

You've got to be careful making claims about 'authenticity'.  In Vietnam, the bahn mi baguettes in Saigon and the south are the ones with the light crust and fluffy white crumb that are most common in the West. I believe this is the 'authentic' prototype you are referring to, John. However, the further north you go in Vietnam, the firmer (and in my opinion, the better) the baguettes.

Here's a picture I took of a basket of baguettes at an early market in Hoi An. They look very like those pictured on the site linked to (note: that post was written by a Vietnamese home baker!).

 

Here's a pic of a breakfast baguette I had in Hoi An (these - and those in the market pic above - are typical of the baguettes used for bahn mi in this area):

 

...and crumb shot:

 

Here's another Hoi An baguette, this one shaped more appropriately for bahn mi:

Cheers!
Ross

 

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

My apologies Ross. This information came from a Vietnamese family run bakery in a Vietnamese market. I should try to get my information from sources closer to the real thing like you.  John

Wandering Bread's picture
Wandering Bread

Wow, gorgeous pics! And look at that huge ear, it makes me think mine were still too wet, I couldn't have cut into the dough that deep or it would have collapsed. It also looks like it sprang a lot in the oven. Maybe more yeast and a quicker rise? Thanks for sharing!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

silk worm with the cacoon split open!  I spent a long time in Vietnam but never saw ears like those.  I still prefer the French bread in Vietnam to those in France though.  It must have something to do with what you loved first :-)

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

The baguettes I photographed were typical of those widely available in Hoi An - and Hue, for that matter.  That's as far north as I got.

I can't make any sort of useful comment on the "French bread in Vietnam" vs that in France, but I'm surprised by your findings. As I recall (going back a while!), the baguettes in France were nice, but not spectacular in flavour or crumb quality - although doubtless there are great ones around if you know where to find them. However, I found the southern baguettes of Saigon etc very insubstantial - just a crusty casing of fluffiness and not much more (exactly the same as the ones widely available from Vietnamese bakeries in the West). Not to say they don't come into their own for banh mi, but as standalone baguettes, very bland IMO. I don't think the typical southern-style baguettes in Vietnam come close to any half-decent French baguette. The northern-style ones are a different story, though! Maybe that's what you're referring to...

Cheers!
Ross

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

we ever ran across any baguettes in Vietnam just French style sandwich type bread that were fluffy like the ones in France.   They were about a foot long  and way fatter than baguettes.  Had the same bread in France but it wasn't quite as soft in crust or crumb.  The bread they sell at the Vietnamese places in AZ isn't nearly as good as the ones in Vietnam or at least what we had there 39 years ago at any rate.   Back in the early 70's the best bakeries in Saigon still had French Expat bakers and owners and imported their flour from Europe and the USA.  That probably ended in 1975 I'm guessing along with the expat bakers and owners.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

I made my comments in the spirit of contribution and clarification, not criticism. Before going to Vietnam, I would also have equated the Vietnamese baguettes we typically get in Western countries with 'authenticity'. The vast majority of Vietnamese that moved to Western countries after the war were from the south, and I guess that explains why most of the baguettes we get at Vietnamese bakeries are made in the southern style.

Glad to share the pics, Wandering Bread, and thanks for your kind acknowledgement.

BTW, folks, I reckon Franko's fantastic-looking version of banh mi is well worth checking out if you're looking to experiment at home.

Cheers
Ross

 

dosidough's picture
dosidough

Hi Ryan. I enjoyed your post and decided to try it this weekend. I especially liked that this formula makes 2 sandwich sized baguettes, as they are just for me. Yes, mine...all mine I used KAF European Style flour and they came out beautiful. Different that a French Baguette; thinner crispy crust. I didn't have a dramatic oven spring but the profile is excelllent for a "pile it sky high" sandwich. Really a great quality little bread. Here's my lunch today at work...yep, 2 days after they baked and though they seemed hardened and maybe stale they crisped right up like just outta the oven from a few minutes wrapped in foil and heated.

  Sure made a great Turkey Sandwich. Thanks again Ryan, I'll keep this in my repetoir.

Dosi