The French baguette’s road to immortality is nothing if not bumpy. For the past three years the boulangerie lobby has been pushing for France to submit the traditional bread loaf for UNESCO designation as a cultural treasure. Just one other candidate was under consideration, the ubiquitous Parisian zinc rooftops, but the baguette was finally chosen as the candidate this year… Could the baguette actually achieve the coveted UNESCO recognition?
So much more than a delicious vehicle for butter, the baguette is a symbol of a certain pace of life, a daily ritual, bound by strict rules and know-how. A 1993 French government decree dictates that traditional baguettes must be made from nothing more than the four classic ingredients; flour, water, yeast and salt, with fermentation of the dough lasting 15 to 20 hours at between 4 to 6 degrees Celsius. And, of course, it must be enjoyed the day it is made – no leaving it in the bread bin overnight!
BAG THE BEST BAGUETTE
The addictive M6 TV show La Meilleure boulangerie de France (France’s best bakery) sees bread and cake makers up and down the land vying for the prestigious title, with the warmth of the shop’s welcome just as important to judges as culinary skills. Until the winner is announced, anyone seeking a fine baguette can guarantee the highest standards by seeking out the Boulanger de France logo. To get it, each boulangerie has to go through a rigorous certification process with local, fresh ingredients and fait maison among key criteria. Check out the website here: www.boulangerdefrance.org
From France Today magazine