The Feral Cooks are finally proud owners of a stand mixer. Why the wait, you ask? ‘Cuz we really don’t have a lot of extra room for one, given our other gadgets, but the need to start making better breads finally led to a purchase.
I immediately got to work finding a recipe for making the bread for Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches. The first crack at making them was from a Tasty Little Dumpling blog recipe.
The bread turned out quite good, but from what I had read of other methods, the recipe seems like a bit of a shortcut, compared to some of the days-long recipes I want to eventually try. Again, not to knock this recipe at all—the results were quite good, as our friends will attest.
One thing you’ll need for a lot of these good bread recipes is a digital kitchen scale that reads in grams. I bought digital scale years ago while living in Japan, so it measures in grams, but you should be able to buy one online (not Amazon, please) that switches between grams and ounces, if you need ounces, too. If you have only an ounce scale, just remember that 1 oz = 28 grams.
Last, it’s a little easier to make these if you have a baguette tray, which are pretty easy to find. Otherwise, a clean towel can be configured to work pretty well.
What you’ll need:
- 500 grams bread flour
- 8 grams kosher salt
- 6 grams sugar
- 1 packet instant-rise yeast
- 350 ml water that’s about 100 degrees F
What to do:
In a large bowl, combine the bread flour, kosher salt, sugar and instant rise yeast by mixing well.
Add all dry these mixed dry ingredients to a stand mixer with a dough hook and combine with the water. Mix on speed setting #2 for a few minutes until all the dry ingredients are well combined. Let the dough rest for 2-3 minutes.
Now increase speed setting to #3 and knead the dough for 5 minutes. Let dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead it again for another 5 minutes at the same speed.
To check is the dough is ready for the next step, see if it stretches without tearing. If so, it’s ready. If not, knead it for a few more minutes and do the stretch check again. When it’s ready, form it into a large ball and transfer it to a large, greased bowl and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. Put the bowl in a warm place for 1 hour, such as the oven with its lights on or someplace similar.
Knead the dough by hand a little bit to release all the air bubbles, and re-form it into a ball. Cover it again in the bowl with a towel and let it sit in a warm place again for 30 more minutes.
Now the dough is ready for shaping, so divide it into 8 equal peaches. Don’t be afraid to weigh them to get the portions right.
Punch down each of the 8 pieces to release any air bubbles, then shape them into the traditional tube-like shape with tapered ends.
Hang in there, you’re almost ready to bake.
Put the shaped banh mi blobs onto your baguette tray, spacing them evenly. Cover with a kitchen towel, and it’s AGAIN back to a warm place for a further 30 minutes.
15 minutes into this last 30 minutes, start heating up your oven to 450 so it’s ready at the end of the 30 minutes, because it will be time to put them in the oven. Finally!
Carefully remove the towel from the baguette tray and lightly spray the dough with water and quickly put a slit in the top of each piece with a razor or very sharp knife.
In a smooth motion, open the oven door, put in the baguette pan and spray a little water into the oven before quickly closing the door.
Bake for about 20-23 minutes. If your oven has hot spots, rotate the pan within the oven 180 degrees halfway through the cooking time.
When done, let them cool on the baguette rack and enjoy! They’ll be delicious!