Jul 20, 2008

See you in October

Hey everybody! I am currently on a work trip in Europe for the next three months and will not return until October. No daring baking for me for three months...boohoo =( but I will be back in October!! till then..take care of you!!

Jul 6, 2008

Mini Vietnamese baguette

We have a Vietnamese fast food chain in Hawaii called Ba-le. I absolutely love their Bánh mì sandwiches. Bánh mì sandwiches are made with some type of sandwich meat, pickled turnip and pickled carrots, and topped with some cilantro. The best part of a Bánh mì sandwich is the light and fluffy baguette. You would think a baguette is just a baguette, but the Vietnamese baguettes are much lighter and more airy. I searched for such a recipe and found one at Cook and Eat. I pretty much followed the recipe exactly, except, I shaped the baguettes like you normally would for a regular baguette.

I really like these baguettes... the outside was really thin and crisp, while the inside is light and fluffy. It was very good the first day, the second day the outside was no longer crisp, but was still tasty if you toasted it. Give them a try:

Vietnamese Mini Baguettes
adapted from Cook and eat
Makes 8 baguettes

1 cup rice flour
1 cup pastry flour or 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 t baking powder
2 cups warm water
1 T active dry yeast
1 1/2 t sugar
1 1/2 t salt
About 4 cups of all purpose flour

1. Mix the rice flour and pastry flour along with the baking powder in a dish and set aside.

2. Combine the water and yeast and let sit to proof. Then add the sugar and stir to combine. Sprinkle in the salt and the rice flour mixture, and mix with a wooden spoon. Then, transfer the dough to a stand mixer with a dough hook and mix on low for about 1 minute. Add the 3 1/2 cups of the all purpose flour, continuing to knead with the hook for about 3 minutes until its all combined and forms a smooth dough. Then, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for another minute by hand.

3. Transfer the dough to a large bowl, cover and let sit in a warm spot for an hour and a half, or until doubled in size.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and carefully punch down. Cut the dough in half, and then cut each half into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a bowl, and flatten a little. Then, cover the dough balls and let rest for 10 minutes.

5. Working rapidly, turn the dough upside down on a lightly floured kneading surface and pat it firmly but not too roughly into an 6 inch oval with the lightly floured palms of your hands. Deflate any gas bubbles in the dough by pinching them.

6. Fold the dough in half lengthwise by bringing the far edge down over the near edge. Being sure that the working surface is always lightly floured so the dough will not stick and tear, which would break the lightly coagulated gluten cloak that is being formed, seal the edges of the dough together, your hands extended, thumbs out at right angles and touching. Roll the dough a quarter turn forward so the seal is on top.

7. Flatten the dough again into an oval with the palms of your hands. Press a trench along the central length of the oval with the side of one hand. Fold in half again lengthwise. This time seal the edges together with the heel of one hand, and roll the dough a quarter of a turn toward you so the seal is on the bottom. Now, by rolling the dough back and forth with the palms of your hands, you will lengthen it into a sausage shape. Start in the middle, placing your right palm on the dough, and your left palm on top of your right hand.

8. Roll the dough forward and backward rapidly, gradually sliding your hands towards the two ends as the dough lengthens to about 8 inches.

9. Place the roll, seam side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat. Repeat with remaining dough balls, and space each roll about an inch and a half a part. Cover and let them sit for another 30 minutes.

10. Preheat the oven to 425F. Slash the dough by running a razor blade or a sharp knife along the length of the baguette. Bake the bread for 20 minutes total, rotating the baking sheets after 10 minutes. The bread should be golden and sound hollow when tapped. Cool on a rack before serving. Best eaten the same day it’s cooked, but you can freeze the bread if you don’t use them the same day.

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