Apparently, buying underbaked or half-baked baguettes is the next big bakery trend
These crusty baguettes might give way to half-baked loaves.
Lovers of some ham and butter on a crusty baguette, get ready to feel appalled. The Wall Street Journal brings us the news that — gasp — Parisians are buying underbaked or half-baked baguettes, or "white" baguettes, chowing down on soft, doughy loaves instead.
The reasons are plentiful: "[A normal baguette] hurts your gums and palate." "If you don't eat it within the hour, it'll feel like it's a day old." "White baguettes" reheat better.
Of course, eating underbaked bread comes with all sorts of problems, but as a reporter who was always tempted to eat dumpling wrappers as a kid, it makes sense. Hardcore bakers, in the meantime, are upset that the traditionally super-crusty bread is getting downgraded. "The customer doesn't know what's best... it's the baker's job to educate him," Franck Debieu, one such baker, told WSJ.
Baguettes have gotten such a reputation in France that the law says only wheat flour, water, salt, and yeast can be used to make baguettes, and the term boulangerie (bakery) can only be used where the bread is made and baked in-house. We imagine next, underbaked baguettes won't even get the disctinction of being known as baguettes anymore.
These crunchy baguettes feature a chewy interior riddled with holes, and a crisp, deep-golden crust. While it's a challenge to make "real" baguettes at home, this version is probably as close to an artisan bakery version as you're going to find. The ingredients in baguettes are pure simplicity: flour, water, salt, and yeast. It's the baker's technique that turns an average baguette into an all-star. Don't expect perfection the first time out, but the more you practice your baguette-baking techniques, the better the baguette you'll make.
*Substitute 1 tablespoon (25g) healthy sourdough starter (fed or unfed) for the yeast, if desired.
Weigh your flour or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess.
To make the starter: Mix everything together to make a soft dough. Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours overnight works well. The starter should have expanded and become bubbly.
To make the dough: Mix and knead everything together — by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a soft, somewhat smooth dough it should be cohesive, but the surface may still be a bit rough. If you're using a stand mixer, knead for about 4 minutes on medium-low speed (speed 2 on a KitchenAid) the finished dough should stick a bit at the bottom of the bowl.
Place the dough in a lightly greased medium-sized bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rest and rise for 45 minutes. Gently deflate the dough and fold its edges into the center, then turn it over in the bowl before letting it rise for an additional 45 minutes, until it's noticeably puffy.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface. Gently deflate it, and divide it into three equal pieces.
Round each piece of dough into a rough ball by pulling the edges into the center. Cover with greased plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes or for up to 1 hour, if that works better with your schedule.
Working with one piece at a time, flatten the dough slightly then fold it nearly (but not quite) in half, sealing the edges with the heel of your hand.
Turn the dough around 180° and repeat: fold, then flatten. Repeat this whole process again the dough should have started to elongate itself.
With the seam side down, cup your fingers and gently roll the dough into a 16" log. Your goal is a 15" baguette, so 16" allows for the slight shrinkage you'll see once you're done rolling. Taper each end of the log slightly to create the baguette's typical "pointy" end.
Place the logs seam-side down onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined sheet pan or pans or into the folds of a heavily floured cotton dish towel (or couche). Cover them with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaves to rise until they're slightly puffy ("marshmallow-y" is the term we use in our baking school). The loaves should certainly look lighter and less dense than when you first shaped them, but won't be anywhere near doubled in bulk. This should take about 45 minutes to an hour at room temperature (about 68°F).
Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 450°F with a cast iron pan on the floor of the oven, or on the lowest rack. If you're using a baking stone, place it on a middle rack. Start to heat 1 1/2 cups water to boiling.
If your baguettes have risen in a dish towel or couche, gently roll them (seam side down) onto a lightly greased (or parchment-lined) baking sheet. If you plan on baking them on a baking stone, roll them onto a piece of parchment, and lift the parchment onto a baker's peel.
Using a baker's lame (a special curved blade) or a very sharp knife held at about a 45° angle, make three to five long lengthwise slashes in each baguette.
Load the baguettes into the oven. If you’re baking on a stone, use a baker’s peel to transfer the baguettes, parchment and all, onto the hot stone. Carefully pour the boiling water into the cast iron pan, and quickly shut the oven door. The billowing steam created by the boiling water will help the baguettes rise, and give them a lovely, shiny crust.
Bake the baguettes — on the pan, or on a stone — for 24 to 28 minutes, or until they're a very deep golden brown. Remove them from the oven and cool them on a rack. Or, for the very crispiest baguettes, turn off the oven, crack it open about 2", and allow the baguettes to cool completely in the oven, until both baguettes and oven are at room temperature.
Storage information: Store any leftover baguettes in a paper bag overnight freeze for longer storage. Thaw and reheat just before serving.
A long, slow rise is an excellent way to develop flavor in simple breads like this epis loaf. As yeast grows it releases organic acids and alcohol, both of which are flavor carriers. If desired, reduce the yeast in the dough to 1 teaspoon and allow the dough to rise for 3 hours (rather than 90 minutes) at cool room temperature (around 68°F). Gently deflate the dough, fold it into the center, and turn it over after 1 hour, and again after 2 hours.
Join King Arthur baker Martin Philip as he demonstrates the baguette shaping process. Watch 5 Tips: Shaping Baguettes now.
In short. You need moisture. Sounds strange? Maybe so but, that's what makes bread have a crunchy crust.
When we make bread we hydrate starches. The starch at room temperature only takes up about 40% of its potential hydration level.
When we cook the bread those hydrated starches take up more moisture the closer it gets to 82 degrees Celsius or 180 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, starches gelatinise irreversibly.
The high moisture level ensures that the temperature of the dough rises very slowly.
The yeast can perform a final super charged fermentation and the bubbles already trapped in the dough has time to expand before the protein structure around them sets.
To make a crispy crust we want to bombard the hydrated starches with moisture so that they become so saturated with moisture, they burst and form a liquid gel.
This gel, in turn, bakes into a glass-like structure or thin crust and then finally browns due to the Maillard reaction.
The first 10 minutes of baking is crucial as the moisture level during this period needs to be kept at a maximum. We don't want the exterior to dry out and set while the inside is still expanding.
Make sure your oven is extra steamy by placing a container with boiling water in it.
Spray the inside of the oven and also the loaf with a fine water mist every 2 minutes during the first 10 minutes of baking.
More on all that technical stuff here if you are interested in the science.
No-knead bread is all the rage – but saying it's all the rage "lately" is somewhat of an overstatement.
Contrary to what many of us might think, no-knead bread wasn't invented by Mark Bittman, Jim Lahey, and the New York Times back in 2006.
Absolutely, it was popularized by that landmark Times recipe. And no knead gained a ton of fans thanks to the Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François "Five Minutes a Day" books.
But "invented"? You have to go back a lot farther than 2006 to find the first mention of no-knead.
Check out this Fleischmann's Yeast pamphlet from 1942, for instance. Here's Agnes, offering a new no-knead roll recipe.
And, while no knead isn't spelled out, it's implicit in a whole array of decades-old batter breads: Beer Bread, English Muffin Toasting Bread, the inestimable cottage cheese/dill bread. These are all breads whose soft "dough" requires only stirring or beating, not kneading.
As it turns out, even the French are into no-knead bread – and have been for many years.
Baguettes de tradition start with a high-hydration (read: very soft) "dough" that's basically sloshed around by hand until it becomes cohesive, then folded and turned with a bowl scraper three times over the course of an hour. After a 2-hour rest, the dough is shaped into baguettes, proofed, and baked.
Crusty baguettes with incredibly open texture.
Our King Arthur Bakery makes about 300 baguettes a day and 10% of them are made using the tradition method.
Here's head baker Jeffrey Hamelman following the simple process. First, he crumbles fresh yeast into water. Next, he adds the flour: the bakery version of our King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, perfect for baguettes. After stirring to combine the flour/water, Jeff mixes the very rough, very wet dough with a bowl scraper. To really get an idea of the sloppiness of this dough, let's go to the video:
Using that same bowl scraper, Jeff works the dough three more times over the course of the next hour, 30 seconds each time. After that, the dough is divided and shaped into 30 baguettes proofed for 2 hours then baked into King Arthur's own version of baguettes de tradition.
As I watched Jeff, I had a brainstorm: sub rolls! I've been wanting to come up with a sub roll recipe for some time, and this looked like an easy, interesting place to start.
What's a "sub roll," you say? Replace "sub" (short for submarine) with any of the following: grinder, hoagie, hero, Italian, po' boy. In other words, a long, thin roll perfect for stuffing with all manner of tasty fillings.
So, why not just use a baguette?
Because to me, the perfect stuffed sandwich roll is a tiny bit softer. I like a roll that's ultra-chewy, but one whose crust doesn't shatter into a zillion crumbs at the first bite. I also like my sandwich rolls a bit flatter than the perfectly cylindrical baguette.
So I took our Bakery's baguettes de tradition recipe, and tweaked it just a bit. I added olive oil and dry milk for a softer crumb and subbed instant yeast for fresh, simply for convenience's sake.
The result? Just what I had in mind: a dark golden brown, chewy roll, whose open (read: hole-y) texture is perfect for collecting the rivulets of vinaigrette and bits of chopped tomato, onion, and pepper I consider a key part of any Italian cold cut sub.
Ready to try a new type of no-knead bread? Looking for a good sandwich roll? Let's do it.
Mix the following ingredients together in a bowl large enough that flour doesn't spill over the sides, and large enough for the dough to rise once it's mixed.
4 cups (17 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
3 tablespoons Baker's Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/2 cups cool water
1/4 cup olive oil
Once everything is roughly combined (some floury patches will still be evident), take a dough scraper (first choice) or spatula and lift/fold the dough over on itself for 30 strokes. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
Give the dough 30 more strokes. Cover it, and let it rest for 20 minutes again.
Repeat the process one more time. By the end of this 20-minute rest, you will have stirred the dough three separate times over the course of an hour.
Now, give it 30 more strokes see how it's smoothed out (photo, bottom right), compared to when you first started?
Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 2 hours in a fairly warm spot 75°F to 80°F is perfect. If you don't have anywhere that warm, don't stress just set the bowl somewhere away from cold drafts.
After 2 hours, the dough will have risen, though not wildly. It'll still be shiny, sticky and slack but you should be able to work with it, so long as you grease or wet your hands.
Transfer the dough to a greased or floured work surface. Divide it into 5 pieces each will be about 176g, or 6 1/4 ounces.
Gently push, prod, and pull each piece of dough into a log about 7" to 8" long. Keep your hands wet or oiled to facilitate this process. This isn't a typically springy, elastic dough you can easily shape as noted, it's more a matter of push/pulling it into shape.
Transfer the logs to a lightly greased or, preferably, parchment-lined pan, spacing them across the length of the pan. A half-sheet pan is the perfect size.
Cover the pan with a large plastic cover, or drape the loaves with heavily greased plastic wrap or parchment. Let them rise until they're noticeably puffy, 2 to 3 hours or so.
Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 475°F.
Uncover the rolls, and spritz them heavily with warm water.
Do they need to be slashed?
Well, I tried slashing, and it really isn't necessary. Left unslashed, these rolls don't split their sides like baguettes might.
Bake the rolls for 18 to 20 minutes, until they're a dark golden brown. The rolls pictured above aren't fully done.
Remove the rolls from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool.
See those two misshapen rolls in the middle? Those are the ones I slashed. Don't go there.
While not evidencing the "holey-ness" of a well-made baguette, there are plenty of cracks and crevices to trap and hold your sandwich's condiments.
And just as important, the roll itself is chewy, not soft so it won't disintegrate into mush under your delicious onslaught of cold cuts and juicy vegetables – or even better, meatballs and sauce!
Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for No-Knead Chewy Sandwich Rolls.
Want to try making a classic crusty baguette using this no-knead baguettes de tradition method? Omit this recipe's olive oil and dry milk and increase the water to 1 2/3 cups.
THERE was a time when a baguette was a baguette. It was a long, thin, crusty loaf and it symbolized France. That time, comforting in its certainties, has passed. The country has entered the era of the concept-baguette.
At the Robineau bakery, the leeks protruding from shopping baskets, the oyster salesman across the street and the occasional surly aside sustain the reassuring illusion that Paris will always be Paris. But when the customers reach the counter, the illusion is shattered. They ask for a ''retro'' rather than a baguette.
A retro looks like a baguette, albeit one stunted and flattened. But as the baker, Gerard Robineau, explains, the retro is also fermented longer, kneaded more lightly, lower on yeast, bereft of additives, and it is denser, tastier, longer-lasting and ''more sort of creamy-gray inside than the old white baguette.''
The idea behind the retro (whose full name is retrodor) is to make a baguette just as it was made in the good old days. The good old days, in baguette lore, are said to have occurred in the 1930's, before a post-war fad for whiter, airier bread debased the product.
The bread is thus part of a vogue here for what Gerard Brouchoire, the director of the National Bread and Pastry Institute, calls ''retro-innovation,'' the practice of capitalizing on a real or imagined past in order to make sales in an increasingly disorienting present.
The technique involves taking something from the past with connotations of authenticity, wholesomeness or simply Frenchness. Then repackage it for a society in which the French, worried by an undifferentiated modern world, are casting around for symbols of tradition and the uniqueness of their ''terroir'' or soil. ''Retro-innovation works because it plays into a growing need for identity,'' Mr. Brouchoire said.
That need is linked to the fact that France is changing fast. Close to 100 McDonald's hamburger restaurants opened in here last year, bringing the total to almost 550. Italian ''panini'' -- toasted sandwiches with rubbery mozzarella and olive oil -- are all the rage.
The French malls are full of hypermarkets selling baguettes made from factory-produced frozen dough for about half the four francs (77 cents) charged for a standard baguette at a bakery.
It is in this disconcerting context that the concept-baguette, as the new loaves are known in the National Bread Institute, has begun to thrive, just as renovated, Art Deco, 1930's brasseries are increasingly popular.
An example is the '➺guette de campagne,'' or country baguette. With its added rye, longer fermentation and darker color, it is supposed to conjure up the days when the kindly Mme. Dupont baked her bread in a lonely cottage in the Drome. In fact this rustic baguette never existed. Farmers' wives baked bulbous loaves weighing several pounds to last several days. The eight-ounce baguette, with its laughably streamlined shape, never entered her head. Only retro-innovation brought the now thriving baguette de campagne into being. The loaf belongs to a theme-park vision of France.
The retro baguette -- which is an old-style rather than a country loaf -- was created by the Viron flour mills, based in Chartres, west of Paris. Hubert Varenne, a director of the company, said the idea was to ''rediscover the taste of good things from the 1930's.''
Viron provides bakers who make the retro with a special flour, its recipe, and such marketing devices as red-and-white packages for the bread and posters. Over 150 bakeries now make the retro.
There are several competitors in the themed-baguette sector. The '➺nette'' has pointed ends and a sprinkling of flour. The '➺guepi'' always comes in its own little package. '⟾stival'' resembles the retro. All are the inventions of different mills and are supposed to conjure up the baguette of old.
Jean-Pierre Gisquet, a baker, dismissed the loaves as ''products of a fad for the falsely old.'' He has not changed his technique since he started baking in 1946. Plunging an old wooden baker's shovel deep into the oven to retrieve some rolls, he growled, ''I make my baguettes like they should be made, and now that's called retro.''
But the concept-baguette has proved popular. The retro, for example, is widely seen as a big improvement on the increasingly tasteless baguette. The Government has taken up the defense of traditional breads, old and new, by declaring this week that any outlet that does not select its own flour and knead and bake on the premises must remove the sign '➺kery.'' Up to 5,000 stores may be affected.
Despite their higher prices -- generally they cost about a dollar -- the special baguettes have helped stop a fall in bread sales. Individual consumption has now stabilized at around five ounces a day, compared to 2.2 pounds in 1900, Mr. Brouchoire said.
But what France do the concept-baguettes represent? At, Mr. Robineau's bakery, sales of the retro are brisk and the baker enthuses about the authentic recipes of a better France. But he has also introduced Haagen-Dazs ice-cream, Coca-Cola and sandwiches that can be daubed in ketchup. Signs outside are in English and they offer breakfasts of bacon and eggs.
This bread machine French bread recipe is very easy to make. It only uses a few simple ingredients such as flour, water, salt and yeast. Moreover, our French bread tastes great and you can easily mold it into a beautiful baguette shape. Your family will be amazed by your baking skills… while you smirk because you made it with the help of a bread machine! This bread recipe can also be a fun family project, especially if you have small children. Have them shape your bread for you. You can always reshape the dough if they create a food monstrosity.
Delicious Bread Machine French Bread (Baguette)
This is a pretty simple recipe because I made it for beginners. Many online French bread recipes call for a number of different “rising” periods, complex rolling & shaping of the bread, adding steam inside the oven, etc. However, my French bread recipe does not include these steps because I believe that bread machine recipes should not be too complicated. Let professional bakers make the fancy, over complicated and expensive baguettes while you make some easy, delicious and very inexpensive homemade French bread & baguettes for your family.
Tender Inside of Bread Machine French Bread (Baguette)
Please be aware that this is not the usual set & forget bread machine recipe. You will have to shape the bread in order to create the classic baguette shape (versus getting the standard bread machine “block” shape). Moreover, given the baguette shape, this French bread needs to be finished in an oven. Nevertheless, this bread machine recipe is much easier than making French bread by hand! It also looks much nicer than a “block” of bread machine bread.
For more great recipes, please visit Bread Dad’s main Bread Machine Recipes section. Bread Dad also has a printable and “pin-able” recipe at the bottom of the page. If you like this recipe, we hope you will leave a comment below and give us a 5 star rating. Thanks!
French Bread Dough from a Bread Machine
Ingredients – Bread Machine French Bread (Baguette)
Servings – Roughly 12 slices per medium baguette
Instructions – Bread Machine French Bread (Baguette)
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Tips – Bread Machine French Baguette Recipe
If you liked this recipe, please leave a comment below & give us a 5 star rating. The recipe comment section is located at the bottom of this page. Your comments help us to improve & clarify our recipe instructions. Moreover, it is ALWAYS great to hear from someone who has enjoyed our recipes!!
French Bread Machine Recipe Questions
What is the traditional French bread called?
Traditional French bread is called a baguette. A baguette comes in a long narrow cylindrical shape. The word baguette means wand, baton or stick. French bread or baguette is typically made from flour, water, yeast and salt. Nevertheless, there are many other types of well-known breads from France such as the brioche, fougasse, pain de campagne, etc.
What is the French bread setting on my bread machine?
If your bread machine has a French bread setting, it will allow you to make a crusty “French-type” bread with your bread machine. However, the bread will not be in a baguette share. Rather the bread will be in the standard bread machine “block” shape. The resulting bread is basically a bread machine white bread recipe that has been baked longer and has a thicker crust.
If you want to make a French bread with a baguette shape, please try the bread machine recipe on this page. Or if you prefer a block shaped French bread loaf, please read the instructions/manual included with your bread machine because it should contain a basic French bread recipe that will work on your machine. However, be aware that some bread machines have a very limited number of settings and may not have a French bread setting.
Personally, I think that our bread machine French baguette recipe creates a French bread that is much nicer and tastes better than the standard “block” bread machine French bread.
How to eat French bread?
You can cut French bread down the middle and add your favorite sandwich ingredients (i.e. cold cuts) in order to make it into a delicious hero or sub. Or cut the French bread into slices and slather on some butter, cream cheese or olive oil. Yum! In my opinion, French bread tastes even better when it is still warm.
What is the difference between French bread and Italian bread?
There are hundreds of different French and Italian breads so it is hard to generalize. However, in America, the typical “French” bread is usually made with just flour, water, yeast and salt. American-style French bread is also typically in a thin baguette shape and has a harder crust. In contrast, in America, the typical “Italian” bread may contain more ingredients such as milk and sugar. American-style Italian bread is also typically a wider loaf (versus a narrow baguette) and has a softer crust.
Making baguettes is a formidable undertaking for any home baker, but the good folks at America's Test Kitchen have a multi-step recipe that will give your bread the authentic flavor and crumb of a proper French stick. Be gentle when shaping the dough, it's key in achieving the right texture!
Makes four 15-inch long baguettes
For best results, weigh your ingredients. This recipe makes enough dough for four loaves, which can be baked anytime during the 24- to 72-hour window after placing the dough in the fridge.
1/4 cup (1 1/3 ounces) whole-wheat flour
3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 teaspoon diastatic malt powder (optional)
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) water
2 (16 by 12-inch) disposable aluminum roasting pans
Sift whole-wheat flour through fine-mesh strainer into bowl of stand mixer discard bran remaining in strainer. Add all-purpose flour, salt, yeast, and malt powder, if using, to mixer bowl. Fit stand mixer with dough hook, add water, and knead on low speed until cohesive dough forms and no dry flour remains, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer dough to lightly oiled large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Holding edge of dough with your fingertips, fold dough over itself by gently lifting and folding edge of dough toward center. Turn bowl 45 degrees fold again. Turn bowl and fold dough 6 more times (total of 8 folds). Cover with plastic and let rise for 30 minutes. Repeat folding and rising every 30 minutes, 3 more times. After fourth set of folds, cover bowl tightly with plastic and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 72 hours.
Transfer dough to lightly floured counter, pat into 8-inch square (do not deflate), and divide in half. Return 1 piece of dough to container, wrap tightly with plastic, and refrigerate (dough can be shaped and baked anytime within 72-hour window). Divide remaining dough in half crosswise, transfer to lightly floured rimmed baking sheet, and cover loosely with plastic. Let rest for 45 minutes.
On lightly floured counter, roll each piece of dough into loose 3- to 4-inch-long cylinder return to floured baking sheet and cover with plastic. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Lightly mist underside of couche with water, drape over inverted baking sheet, and dust with flour. Gently press 1 piece of dough into 6 by 4-inch rectangle on lightly floured counter, with long edge facing you. Fold upper quarter of dough toward center and press gently to seal. Rotate dough 180 degrees and repeat folding step to form 8 by 2-inch rectangle.
Fold dough in half toward you, using thumb of your other hand to create crease along center of dough, sealing with heel of your hand as you work your way along the loaf. Without pressing down on loaf, use heel of your hand to reinforce seal (do not seal ends of loaf).
Cup your hand over center of dough and roll dough back and forth gently to tighten (it should form dog-bone shape).
Starting at center of dough and working toward ends, gently and evenly roll and stretch dough until it measures 15 inches long by 1 1/4 inches wide. Moving your hands in opposite directions, use back and forth motion to roll ends of loaf under your palms to form sharp points.
Transfer dough to floured couche, seam side up. On either side of loaf, pinch edges of couche into pleat, then cover loosely with large plastic garbage bag.
Repeat steps 4 through 9 with second piece of dough and place on opposite side of pleat. Fold edges of couche over loaves to cover completely, then carefully place sheet inside bag, and tie or fold under to enclose.
Let stand until loaves have nearly doubled in size and dough springs back minimally when poked gently with your fingertip, 45 to 60 minutes. While bread rises, adjust oven rack to middle position, place baking stone on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees.
Line pizza peel with 16 by 12-inch piece of parchment paper with long edge perpendicular to handle. Unfold couche, pulling from ends to remove pleats. Gently pushing with side of flipping board, roll 1 loaf over, away from other loaf, so it is seam side down. Using your hand, hold long edge of flipping board between loaf and couche at 45-degree angle, then lift couche with your other hand and flip loaf seam side up onto board.
Invert loaf onto parchment-lined peel, seam side down, about 2 inches from long edge of parchment, then use flipping board to straighten loaf. Repeat with remaining loaf, leaving at least 3 inches between loaves.
Holding lame concave side up at 30-degree angle to loaf, make series of three 4-inch long, 1/2-inch-deep slashes along length of loaf, using swift, fluid motion, overlapping each slash slightly. Repeat with second loaf.
Transfer loaves, on parchment, to baking stone, cover with stacked inverted disposable pans, and bake for 5 minutes. Carefully remove pans and bake until loaves are evenly browned, 12 to 15 minutes longer, rotating parchment halfway through baking. Transfer to cooling rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Consume within 4 hours.
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France’s relationship with bread goes way back. The humble baguette represents so much more than a vessel for butter: it forms an essential part of not only the culture, but history, of the country. With this in mind, it is only logical that there are major prizes for the very best boulangers.
Each year, the Syndicat des Boulangers invites the bakers of Paris to compete for the title of baguette of the year. The criteria for each competing baguette must be met exactly: they must be between 55cm and 70cm, weighing between 250g and 300g, containing none other than flour, yeast, salt and water. Beyond that, it is simply a matter of taste.
This year marked the 25 th anniversary of the competition, attracting 228 participants – 80 of which were disqualified for not meeting the above specifications. Fifteen judges were on-call to assess the quality of the anonymous, numbered baguettes. Between them, they determined baguette number 203 worthy of the title. Along with the accolade and a €4,000 cash prize, the winner gets to supply the President his daily bread at the Elysée Palace until next year’s champion is chosen.
The man responsible for baguette number 203 was Fabrice Leroy, of Boulangerie Leroy Monti in the 12 th arrondissement, who, just two years prior, had been a project manager at the French train company SNCF.
(203 Avenue Daumesnil, 75012 Paris)
The world feels particularly alarmed at the moment. The U.S are afeared at what their election will bring given that one candidate is a proven loose cannon and the other a proven liar. Last week a woman who I knew for a short while as a colleague was savagely and barbarically shot, kicked and stabbed to death whilst going about her work as a Member of the British Parliament, serving constituents who had elected her for her talent and energy and goodness and days before that a twisted maniac massacred 49 innocents just being themselves in a Gay nightclub in Orlando. Today my country of birth opted by a slender margin to exit the European Union and exercise it’s right to navigate the world in splendid isolation. All of these things are quite shocking to digest. I need not and will not comment – my opinions are of no interest to those taking the time to read my words but I do have something that I hope might strike a different and more harmonious chord.
I am currently in France having been whisked here by a circuitous route to delay my guessing the destination by HB² (my husband) so that we could spend our wedding anniversary in the place we were married three years ago. Today I am sitting at my table in the place I call home. My world is rosy. I am fortunate. This week along with the delightful, other things have happened in my personal life that could certainly anger me, engender hatred and lead me to feel that the best thing is to curl up in my cave and live my life as a strange old hermit (complete with splendid false beard). But being the cussed optimist that I work at being, I know that I am better placed and better off endeavouring to find value in the way things are trying to effect other lives as decently as I can. Last week, the extremely lovely @Turtleway whose beauteous blog you will find here graced me by beginning to read every post I have ever written. This is either brave or foolhardy but in any case remarkably flattering. She asked me in response to a post I wrote about Oradour sur Glâne in France, which was the object of a genocide in the dying days of WWII how we can avoid hating when we come across atrocities. Which we do almost daily with modern news transfer being as rapid as it is and Social Media rampantly passing on the attrocious and the marvellous in an entirely unfiltered manner. I thought for some days before I replied and then I said this:
‘The first thing I must say is that I understand hatred. But it was my youngest daughter, then aged about 10 years old who asked me to stop using the word ‘hate’ because, she said, we should never actually hate anyone or anything. By definition it is a cankerous emotion. She is now 21 and her views have inevitably become a little less pure but she remains true to the essence of what she said. For my part, I feel that hating and being angry are well and good but that they don’t resolve anything, they do not bring back the dead, they do not comfort the bereaved and they do not heal the wounded. In fact they probably feed the perpetrators. And I refuse to grace wicked, evil people with anything that might make them feel anything other than the odious bile that they have become. So I try instead to count my own good fortune and to understand what I can do to help. I am a highly emotional person by nature and tend to ricochet between highs and lows without warning. My own balance is maintained by seeking out the good in every situation and by attempting to not fuel the fire with a whirlwind of anger but rather to damp it with the dew of decency. Different people use different mechanisms. I must stress that I am not perfect. I feel anger and rage and bitterness and fury and sometimes I let those feelings begin to tarnish my insides. But I try to remain mindful and conscious and to take a beat and if necessary many many beats whilst I get to a mechanism that can quash the negatives and allow the positive energy to release so that I can be of some use. This is not forgiveness, this is not excusing this is simply trying not to become dissolved by fury and outrage but rather to evolve by maintaining a stance of dignity and warmth of spirit.
The world we live in is full of hatred. Today Social Media is positively crackling with rancor and bitterness or exultation and self-congratulation depending on which side you take at the result of the self-proclaimed ‘Brexit’ vote. It turns into yet another reason for people to sling mud. I choose not to. I urge others to join me. I hope one day you will. And to paraphrase John Lennon, the greatest of pacifists, the most gifted of men, diabolically slain so many years ago by a twisted soul, maybe, just maybe one day the world will live as one.’
Here are two little beetles simply working together, spreading their beetle love and working as partners to further beetlekind. This ties in nicely to the photo challenge this week of which here you can find lots and lots of far more admirable examples And yes, using a picture of beetles when referencing a Beatle is entirely deliberate.
PS: The quote comes from Mother Teresa of Calcutta – ‘None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.’
In summary, "the bread which became known as the baguette first appeared in its most primitive form in the eighteenth century, then experienced a number of refinements and variations before being (officially) given that name in 1920."  : 57
The word baguette simply means "wand", "baton" or "stick", as in baguette magique (magic wand), baguettes chinoises (chopsticks), or baguette de direction (conductor's baton). It is first recorded as a kind of bread in 1920. 
Outside France, the baguette is often considered a symbol of French culture, but the association of France with long loaves long predates it. Long, wide, loaves had been made since the time of King Louis XIV, long thin ones since the mid-18th century, and by the 19th century, some were far longer than today's baguette: ". loaves of bread six feet [1.8 m] long that look like crowbars!"  "Housemaids were hurrying homewards with their purchases for various Gallic breakfasts, and the long sticks of bread, a yard or two [0.9 m to 1.8 m] in length, carried under their arms, made an odd impression upon me." 
A less direct link can be made with deck or steam ovens. These combine of a gas-fired traditional oven and a brick oven, a thick "deck" of stone or firebrick heated by natural gas instead of wood. The first steam oven was brought to Paris in the early 19th century by August Zang, who also introduced Vienna bread (pain viennois) and the croissant, and whom some French sources thus credit with originating the baguette. 
Deck ovens heated to over 200 °C (390 °F) use steam injection to allow the crust to expand before setting, thus creating a lighter, airier loaf, and to melt the dextrose on the bread's surface, giving a slightly glazed effect.
In April 1944, a competition called Le Grand Prix de la Baguette began in France to determine who made the best baguettes.  Nearly 200 bakers compete each year in front of a 14-judge panel following strict guidelines. They are judged based on baking, appearance, smell, taste, and crumb. The winner receives 4000€ and supplies France's president their daily bread for the duration of that year, until a new winner is chosen. 
Following the World Wars, French bakers began baking a whiter, softer baguette that contrasted with the darker loaves produced because of rationing during the wars. These doughs took less time to ferment and used more additives, but had significantly less taste. They also began using pre-made dough and molds. The average consumption of bread fell from 600 grams/day in the early 1900s to 170 grams/day in 1986. 
In 1993, France passed Le Décret Pain (The Bread Decree).  Le Décret Pain states that breads under the name of pain maison (homemade bread) must be "fully kneaded, shaped, and baked at their place of sale." This decree also placed strict guidelines on what pain traditionnel français (traditional French bread) is allowed to be made of, banning pre-made dough from being used for traditional French baguettes. 
Because the history of the French baguette isn't completely known, several myths have spread about the origins of this type of bread.
Some say Napoleon Bonaparte in essence created the French baguette in order to allow soldiers to more easily be able to carry bread with them. Since the round shape of other breads took up a lot of space, Bonaparte requested they be made into the skinny stick shape with specific measurements to be able to slide into the soldiers' uniform.   
Other stories credit baguettes as being an invention to stop French metro workers from having to carry knives that they used to cut their bread. The workers often fought, so the management did not want them to be carrying knives and requested for bread to be easily ripped apart, ending the need for knives. The skinny, easily-rippable shape of a baguette would have been the response to this.   
Some believe baguettes were the "Bread of Equality" following a decree post-French Revolution requiring a type of bread to be made accessible to both the rich and poor.   
Another account states that in October 1920 a law prevented bakers from working before 4 am, making it impossible to make traditional round loaves in time for customers' breakfasts. Switching from the round loaf to the previously less-common, slender shape of the baguette solved the problem, because it could be prepared and baked much more quickly.  The law in question appears to be one from March 1919, though some say it took effect in October 1920:
It is forbidden to employ workers at bread and pastry making between ten in the evening and four in the morning. 
The "baguette de tradition française" is made from wheat flour, water, yeast, and common salt. It may contain up to 2% broad bean flour, up to 0.5% soya flour, and up to 0.3% wheat malt flour. 
Standard baguettes, baguettes ordinaires, are made with baker's yeast, artisan-style loaves are usually made with a pre-ferment (poolish) to increase flavor complexity and other characteristics, and may include whole-wheat flour, or other grains such as rye.
Baguettes are closely connected to France, though they are made around the world. In France, not all long loaves are baguettes for example, a short, almost rugby ball-shaped loaf is a bâtard (literally, bastard), or a "torpedo loaf" in English its origin is variously explained, but undocumented. Another tubular shaped loaf is known as a flûte, also known in the United States as a parisienne. Flûtes closely resemble baguettes but are about twice the size. 
A thinner loaf is called a ficelle (string). A short baguette is sometimes known as a baton (stick), or in the UK referred to using the English translation French stick.  None of these are officially defined, either legally or, for instance, in major dictionaries, any more than the baguette. French breads are also made in forms such as a miche, which is a large pan loaf, and a boule, literally ball in French, a large round loaf. Sandwich-sized loaves are sometimes known as demi-baguettes or tiers. Italian baguettes, or baguette italienne, involves more spices and a denser texture, giving the baguette a slightly different, more Italian, taste.  Un pain vennois is much sweeter and softer than the standard baguette. 
Baguettes are generally made as partially free-form loaves, with the loaf formed with a series of folding and rolling motions, raised in cloth-lined baskets or in rows on a flour-impregnated towel, called a couche, and baked either directly on the hearth of a deck oven or in special perforated pans designed to hold the shape of the baguette while allowing heat through the perforations. American-style "French bread" is generally much fatter and is not baked in deck ovens, but in convection ovens. [ citation needed ]
Outside France, baguettes are also made with other doughs. For example, the Vietnamese bánh mì uses a high proportion of rice flour, while many North American bakeries make whole wheat, multigrain, and sourdough baguettes alongside French-style loaves. In addition, even classical French-style recipes vary from place to place, with some recipes adding small amounts of milk, butter, sugar, or malt extract, depending on the desired flavor and properties in the final loaf.