These Banh Mi Rolls are Part One of my quest to create the Viet street food that is a fusion of French baguettes with the amazing sandwich fillings from Vietnam.
Banh mi rolls have a crispy crust and a fluffy interior. They are inspired by the French baguette, but the interior is softer.
This recipe has been adapted from The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches.
Andrea Nguyen, the author of this book, was on a quest to recreate the perfect bread for Banh Mi sandwiches. Once she finally deduced some of the secret ingredients and techniques involved in creating the perfect roll, she spent three months, baking every day, to create the perfect roll. She says she's happy with these, "for now."
The secret ingredients? Ascorbic acid and vital wheat gluten, along with shortening.
I actually have ascorbic acid on hand (of course I do), but if you don't, you can crush a 500 mg tablet of vitamin C and add it to the dough.
Vital wheat gluten can usually be found in the Bob's Red Mill display at your grocery store.
This recipe makes six rolls. The slice I tried was very tasty. The crust was crispy and the interior was fluffy, and the flavor was well developed. They disappeared very quickly from the place where I set the breads I've baked.
I can't wait to use this bread to make the amazing sandwiches in the book.
Update: (8/24/14) I made these Maggi Steak Sandwiches with Daikon Pickle. So good.
Banh Mi Rolls
Makes 6 sandwich rolls
500 mg vitamin C (capsule or crushed tablet) or ascorbic acid
5 g (1 tsp) fine sea salt
1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
7 g (1 envelope) instant dry yeast. I used Red Star Platinum.
18 g (2 T) vital wheat gluten
454 g (3 C plus 3 1/2 T) unbleached all purpose flour
18 g (1 1/2 T) shortening
284 g (1 1/4 C) warm (110 degrees F) water
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add the shortening and mix with the paddle attachment on low for about 30 seconds.
- Add the water, and mix on low for one minute.
- Rest the dough in the bowl for five minutes.
- Switch to the dough hook and mix on speed 2 for 2 minutes, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Transfer the dough to an unfloured work surface and hand knead into a ball. The dough should be just slightly tacky, but not sticky.
- Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for about 45 minutes, until doubled.
- Gently remove the dough and place it on the counter. Cut into six equal pieces, about 4 1/2 ounces each.
- Form each piece into a round ball. Place them seam side down and cover the rounds with plastic wrap, and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Turn the rolls over (seam side up), and slightly flatten them. On the side facing you, roll the edge to the middle twice. Repeat on the other side to from a cylinder. Press the seam together, then roll and shape until the roll looks like a torpedo.
- Arrange the rolls on a parchment lined baking sheet and cover with oiled plastic wrap.
- Let rise for about an hour, until doubled in size. In the meantime, preheat the oven with a baking stone and steam pan to 475 degrees F.
- At 45 minutes, remove the plastic wrap from the rolls and let them sit uncovered for 15 minutes.
- Fill a spray bottle with water and fill a long handled pan with a cup of hot water.
- With the knife at a deep angle, slash each roll lengthwise.
- Spray the rolls with water and place the baking sheet on top of the baking stone. Pour the hot water in the steam pan and close the oven door. Lower the temperature to 425 degrees F.
- Bake for 22 to 24 minutes, until golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through.
- When the rolls are done, turn the oven off and leave the rolls in the oven for another 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on a rack for at least 45 minutes.
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