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Vietnamese Baguette (Banh Mi Tay)


1 (¼ ounce) package active dry yeast, Fleishman brand preferred, or fast-rise yeast, SAF brand preferred
½ plus 1 cup warm water (105-115°F)
cups low-protein, unbleached all-purpose flour, Gold Medal or Pillsbury brand preferred, plus extra for shaping the loaves
teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
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Put the yeast in a small bowl and add the 1/2 cup water. Set aside for 2 to 3 minutes to soften the yeast. (It will look kind of blotchy as the granules break down. It may also get a bit foamy too.) Add flour, salt and sugar to the bowl Whisk the yeast and add 1 cup of water? Slowly pour the mixture in the flour, turn the processor on for 1 minute, blending just enough until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the side of the bowl Let the dough rise for one hour. Pulse one or two times to deflate the dough. Let the dough rise again and deflate. Let the dough rise and deflate one more time. You're shooting for 3 risings. Stretch 1/2 the dough into a football or rectangle. The dough should naturally stretch in one particular direction? Think of that as the grain of the dough. You want to shape the loaf along side of the grain to promote a big rise. Fold the top third down and the bottom third up? Gently seal the edges By pressing with your fingers or the palm of your hand. Pinch the edges to seal. Turn the log over and start rolling the log back and forth Loosely cover the loaves with a dish towel to prevent the dough from drying and inhibiting from rising in the oven. Set aside for 30 minutes. When the loaves have risen enough, use a sharp knife to make 3 to 4 diagonal slashes down the length of each loaf. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Mist the loaves 4 times. Place a roasting pan on the bottom rack with 1/2 inch of water. Place the loaves on the top rack for 20 minutes. After 3 minutes, mist the loaves with water 4 times. Repeat the misting after another 3 minutes.

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