Continuing our series on how to make your own banh mi sandwiches, is how to make homemade mayonnaise. The mayonnaise spread in Vietnamese banh mi is simply made from egg yolk, oil, salt, and lemon. To fancy things up, you can add optional ingredients such as garlic, sriracha, turmeric/curry, or whatever spices you think might tastes good. You can make it using a whisk, hand held mixer or blender.
In a large mixing bowl whisk egg yolk, salt, and lemon juice with about 2 tbs of oil (we also added some finely minced garlic). Whisk until ingredients are well emusifield. At this point, slowly drizzle remaining oil and continue to whisk until mixture becomes creamy. Alternatively, you can place all the ingrediants in a blender and slowly drizzle in the oil while blending until creamy. Make final adjustment with salt if necessary.
For a different twist and other uses besides banh mi, you can add seasonings such as garlic, mustard, Sriracha, chipotle, roasted red peppers, Creole seasoning, ginger, sesame oil…the flavors are endless.
We recently went wading in the tide pools at Abalone Cove Park in Palos Verdes, CA. Each little pool was teeming with sea life–a living aquarium right before our eyes.
I work at a cafe and we also use this method for our mayonnaise. However, the taste is different to 'Banh Mi' mayo. The 'Banh mi' mayo has a very chunky texture whereas this one is very smooth. Also I find 'Banh mi' mayo has a very meaty taste, I use to joke with my siblings about it being animal fat. 😛
Well this comment is almost a year too late, but oh well.
@Guppy Taro I suppose the "chunky" texture and meaty flavor of banh mi mayo comes from the fact that it is usually spread right on top or below the Viet pate (somewhat chunky) and sitting next to other cuts of meat, flavor infusion? Years ago my family used to run a busy Viet deli in SoCal, and banh mi was our specialty. We made our own mayo all the time. The only differences from this recipe is that we didn't waste anything by using both yolk & white and "stretched" the recipe by using much more oil, which actually makes the mayo a lot stiffer. But the mayo itself wasn't chunky at all. -C.T.
To be honest, I was still a kid back when my family ran the deli, and we hired a bread baker. But from what I do know, you would need a special steam oven (oven w/ a steam system) to create that shiny, crunchy, golden crust; otherwise, the crust will have a very dull look with white splotches.
Personally, I have not tried to replicate the steam oven at home, but I've seen many creative techniques for doing so on the web. I've read that simply spraying the bread with water prior to baking, putting a pan of hot water in the lower rack, or just throwing in a few ice cubes into the oven as the bread goes in to bake can produce sort of hit/miss results. However, Susan from Wild Yeast seemed to have gotten it down:
We also used the perforated baguette pans as seen in the recipe above (easily found on Amazon).
After a while, I remember we got a dough conditioner to help the bread stay soft longer. We got it through some wholesale supplier, but I've seen a very similar product on Honeyville Grain: http://store.honeyvillegrain.com/doughconditionerCAN.aspx On the downside, this conditioner will prevent the crust from being very crunchy, as it makes everything softer.
Our breads weren't those extra puffy, football-like rolls. They were just "medium" sized with slightly tapered ends. I know there's a rumor about Saigon style baguettes having some ratio of rice in the dough, but we never used that. So I can't comment much on that.
That's all I know. Sorry for the long post! Good luck with your bread. Please do post your results when/if you decide to attempt making your own bread.
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