Making Tradittional Bread


The people of Vietnam and eat a lot more bread (banh mi) than those in the


Above: In the markets of Ho Chi Minh City, stalls are laden with freshly baked baguettes, which are eaten almost as much as rice and noodles

rest of South-east Asia.Having both been influenced by French colonization and wartime occupation. bread has become a daily feature. Somewhere between a long, crispy French baguette and the wider Middle Eastern loaf, the bread of Vietnam  is usually made from a combination of wheat and rice flours and is shorter than a baguette with a slit down the middle. Whether used for grilled meat and salad sandwiches. flavoured with fresh herbs and chillies or smeared with a local pork pate ana a
splash of chilli sauce, freshly baked loaves are available in the streets of southern Vietnam just as easily as noodles. Torn into chunks to dip into stews and curries, bread is also served as an alternative to noodles or rice. And then there is the ice cream sandwich. A popular sweet snack with children in both Vietnam 
thick chunks of baguette are halved lengthways and a wedge of ice cream is tucked in between them - a South-east Asian version of an ice cream cone.Buns and


Above: A woman baking traditional rice flatbread in Hoi An, Vietnam.

dumplings fall into the bread category, as they start with a dough made from wheat flour and yeast. However, following ancient

 Chinese tradtions, buns and dumplings are often stuffed and usually steamed, although some buns are baked after steaming. Flatbreads and wrappers, used for folding around morsels of food and for spring rolls, can also be included in the bread culture. Made from rice or wheat flour, they are baked on griddles, or left in the sunshine to dry.In the main shopping areas of cities such as Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City, bakeries and patisseries, stuffed full of enticing, freshly baked cakes,pastries and a variety of sweet and savoury loaves, reflect the French influence, as well as the travels of many refugee Khmer and  Vietnamese who have returned to their homelands to set up business. International favourites such as jam tarts, chocolate eclairs, gingerbread men and sponge cakes, all baked on the premises, are enjoyed by  passers-by with a good cup of tea or coffee.

Making Tradittional Bread

Scme loaves are made from wheat flour alone but, in order to achieve the unique lightness and subtle flavour of traditional Vietnamese and 
bread, it is essential to mix the wheat with rice flour. Once the dough has risen for the second time, use a sharp knife to make a slit lengthways along the top before baking it in the oven.As the freshly made bread is so
delicious, one loaf won't go very far,so it is worth making at least two.

To make 2 loaves

  • 15g/0.5 oz fresh yeast
  • 450ml/15fl oz/scant 2 cups cold water
  • 350g/12oz/1.25 oz cups unbleached strong white bread flour
  • 350g/12oz/2 cups rice flour
  • 15g/rhoz sea salt
  • 15ml/1 tbsp vegetable oil

Cook’s tip


If using dried yeast, sprinkle 10g/0.5 oz over 60ml/0.25 tbsp of water and 2.5ml/0.25 tsp sugar in a small bowl. Stir the yeast, sugar and water until the yeast is well blended. Set aside for about 15 minutes, until the mixture is foamy. Follow the recipe from step 2.


1.Crumble the yeast into a bowl with your fingers. Add 60m1/4 tbsp of the water and cream the yeast to a smooth liquid. Sift the flours and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture. Pour the rest of the water into the well in the centre.


2.Using your hand, draw a little flour into the centre and mix well. Draw in a little more flour and mix until you have formed a thick, smooth batter in the centre. Sprinkle a little of the flour over the top of the batter to prevent a skin
forming and leave it to froth for about  20 minutes.


3.Using your hand, draw in the rest of the flour and work the mixture into a springy dough. Lift it on to a floured surface and continue to knead for about 10 minutes. Shape it into a ball.


4.Clean the bowl and lightly oil it. Put the dough into the bowl and cover it with a damp dish towel. Leave to rise and double in size - at least 2 hours. Knock back the risen dough by punching it with your knuckles. Lift it on to a floured surface and knead it.


5.Divide the dough into 2 pieces and knead them into sausages, about 30cm/ 12in long. Place both lengths of dough on a baking tray and, with a knife, slit the surface of each piece lengthways. Cover with a damp dish towel and leave again to double in size. Preheat the  oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7.


6.Sprinkle the loaves with flour, or brush with egg yolk and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 and bake for 20-25 minutes. until the  loaves sound hollow when tapped.


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1 Respones to "Making Tradittional Bread"

Erika Toh said...

Wow, I love this info! I'm so gonna try to make Vietnamese bread later. ^^ Btw, I love Tanaka too. I use it on my face like the Vietnamese do. It's a good, natural skincare. :D

July 16, 2010 at 4:16 AM

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