Friday, July 3, 2009

The French Baguette

Here we have a porcelain example of that sinfully delicious baked treat - the French baguette. French "une baguette" is translated into English as "stick" which truly describes the unique form of this most popular French bread. French law governs on what can actually be sold as bread, i.e. it only contains flour, salt, water, and yeast.

The real baguette is a small pleasure and a huge part of French culture. France eats approximately 30 million baguettes a day. Wow! (that's a half a baguette for everyone every day).

What makes a great baguette?

The first sign of quality is a hard crust of a rich, dark caramel color. A flimsy crust, a pale, straw yellow color and an underside marked by tiny dots all indicate that the bread has been cooked in an industrial oven often from frozen dough.

The inside (or "mie" in French) of a good baguette should be a creamy color with large irregular air holes. The industrial loaf, on the other hand, will be cotton white, with tiny, regular air holes.

The texture of a good baguette should be moist and slightly chewy with a full, almost nutty flavor. The industrial version is cottony, tasteless and dry.
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