Vietnamese banh mi (or subs, sandwiches) use a French-style baguette that was adopted by the Vietnamese during France’s colonization of Vietnam. A Vietnamese baguette is pillowy soft on the inside with a thin, crispy outer crust. This recipe gets you close to the baguettes found in Vietnamese bakeries an delis, without the use of dough softeners. Bunches of ideas for fillings coming up!
This is the ultimate lazy man’s bread — there’s no kneading involved! You simply mix the basic ingredients together and let yeast and time do their job. The result will be one loaf of tasty, crusty, artisan quality bread and one wholly satisfied baker.
This recipe uses a modified version of the No Knead Method, popularized by Mark Bittman from the New York Times.
2 cups unbleached white bread flour
1 cup all-purpose whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 cups water
1) In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, including the sunflower seeds. Add water and stir until the dough comes together. No need to knead! It will be sticky mass of doughy goodness. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let it rest in a warm place for 18 hours, 24 if you want a more sour dough flavour.
2) The dough should look like a bubbly swamp monster when it’s ready. Spread some flour on a clean cutting board or counter, dump out the dough. Sprinkle some flour on the dough and fold it over on itself a few times. Let it rest for an hour.
3) About 15 minutes before your dough is ready, pre-heat the oven to 450F and put your baking container (a cast iron pot or Pyrex baking dish with a lid works best) in the oven to heat it up. A baking container with a lid is important if you want a nice crust on your bread.
4) Open up your container, plop your dough in, replace the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 15-20 minutes to give your bread a nice, golden brown crust.
5) Be sure to let it cool and set for at least 30 minutes before you dig in. In the meantime, savor the smells of pure, uncomplicated, satisfying victory. It will (should) smell like fresh baked artisan bread.