The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Banh Mi Success!

mrmambo's picture

Banh Mi Success!

I've been trying to replicate both banh mi and New Orleans-style po-boy loaves off and on for years with minimal success. Most of the recipes here and elsewhere are complicated (rice flour or other uncommon ingredients; difficult shaping tips) or are too dense. By "dense" I'm referring to the weight per inch; the authentic loaves are usually about 2 oz. by weight for a 6" loaf and about 180 calories while recipes like Bernard Clayton's very popular and tasty version are often twice that weight and caloric density.

Well...I just stumbled upon a new recipe TODAY that holds great promise. I baked my first batch and they came out nice--great thin, shattering crust and soft interior. I'd like to maybe get a bit more rise, but these were really nice and easy to make.

It's a banh mi recipe from a vietnamese baker, Helen Le, who worked on the recipe for some time--check this out; it includes a long YouTube video with great shaping demo:

This photo is mine: I divvied up her recipe into 5 pieces rather than 3 to make 6" long loaves; next time I may do 4 longer loaves and trim the ends to get the squared-off po-boy look. (The trimmed ends, by the way, make awesome pain perdu/french toast!) I also tried hand kneading, but gave up after 15 minutes and finished in a stand mixer. I'm also going to try an overnight first rise in the fridge to get more flavor into the dough.

These came out GREAT for a first try--Good luck!



mrmambo's picture

Here's an inside shot--I actually took one of the flatter loaves and sliced it and tore it before I took the shot, so it got a little squashed. But you can see the shattering crust and fluffy interior.

Banh Mi interior

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Good and close!  Banh Mi baguettes are extremely light in weight as you mention.  Yours look quite close to what I am used to picking up from local Vietnamese markets and restaurants.

Now on to pickling your own Do Chua!