Vietnamese Baguettes: Baking a Batch of Banh Mi Bread

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Here are some common questions about making your own crusty and delicious Vietnamese bread – the roll for a wonderful banh mi sandwich!

Have you been craving bread? During this seemingly-endless pandemic, many people have picked up baking their own bread. It’s a hobby that passes the time and also helps with learning a new skill. Say you’ve been longing for a baguette for a good while now. Running out to your local grocery store (or Asian supermarket) is definitely a bright idea. But with social distancing measures still highly encouraged, perhaps you’d feel more comfortable safe at home. Here are some common questions about making your own crusty and delicious Vietnamese bread – the roll for a wonderful banh mi sandwich!

Do You Need Rice Flour? 

Rice is, unsurprisingly, a staple grain found all over the world. It’s particularly popular throughout Asia. One derivative of rice is rice flour. Supposedly, the story goes that rice flour and bread flour must be mixed to create the dough you need for banh mi. That’s a myth. Through some experimentation and curiosity, you’ll find that all-purpose flour is fine for most recipes.

What About Temperature Control?

Whether or not you depend on a bread-maker machine, the temperature you prepare your bread makes a big difference. Yeast level and rising times will affect the way the ever-essential dough behaves. Cold kitchens are not conducive to this process, so maybe consider turning up the heat a few notches. Alternatively, trying shaping the dough first. This advice might not seem like it helps but trust us. The newly-shaped dough goes in the oven; after that, but a bowl of steaming water underneath it. Shut the oven door so that heat doesn’t escape and ruin your tasty sandwich-wrapper before you can even enjoy it.

Does the Shape Really Matter?

Let’s tackle another thorny question: does the shape of the banh mi bread actually matter? As you’ll come to find out, shaping the dough can’t be rushed. Even though it appears to be a bog-standard log, Vietnamese bread is more complex than that. First, flatten the dough before rolling it. The rolling technique should be familiar: do it jellyroll style. The resulting log should have tapered ends – although you could also try folding it all up much like you would with an envelope!

How Hot Should the Oven Be?

The oven is going to best your best friend. In fact, without the presence of steam inside the oven, your results may vary…with potential disappointment in the offing. Set the temperature higher than you would typically do with bread – 450 degrees Fahrenheit should do the trick. Oh, one more thing – be sure to spray a tiny bit of water onto the bread two or three times. This little secret works best during the first half-hour of baking. All of that steam will impart a delectable airiness to your bread!

Get All Your Asian Groceries at Lotte Plaza Market

Lotte Plaza Market is your one-stop-shop for all of your Korean and Asian grocery needs. With more than 10 Maryland and Virginia locations, this growing market is continually expanding and opening new markets to better serve our customers. Since we opened in 1976, our goal has always been to provide the best customer service and groceries to our customers. For answers to all of your questions, please email us at


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