Une baguette s’il vous plait!
The baguette is an important part of French food and culture. It is only made from wheat flour, water, yeast, and common salt. It looks pretty simple but requires know-how and a good oven. This long stick of bread is usually eaten for breakfast with butter and jam and also a side dish for the main meal.
Developed in Paris in the 20’s, there are two different stories about where it comes from. First theory says the baguette is a derivative of the bread developed in Vienna in the middle of the 19th century. Bakers replaced milk by water to make a less expensive product. Also the use of newly introduced steam ovens allowed them to make loaves with a crisp crust. Then a law was passed in the 20’s preventing bakers from working before 4am. They couldn’t make traditional, round loaf in time for customers’ breakfasts anymore. The thinner baguette was baked faster and happened to be a perfect solution to satisfy early birds. Second theory is far-fetched but amusing. It says baguette was created under Napoleon. Until then, bread was round to keep it longer. But it was not easy for a soldier to carry. Also, the baguette would have been made longer and thinner so they could carry it easier into a pair of trousers along the leg. Well, this looks like a much more uncertain version…
Since 1994, an annual contest awards Paris best ‘tradition’ baguette. The 2012 winner is Boulangerie Mauvieux at 159, Ordener street, Paris 18th.