Bonjour! When I was living in Paris, one of my favorite parts about the experience was my daily ritual of buying a fresh baguette from the local boulangerie (bakery). Everyday, after my classes were over, I’d take the metro home, and on my walk back from the station to my apartment I’d stop in at my local boulangerie to pick up a warm and toasty baguette tradition for dinner. I’d usually actually only eat a third with dinner, have another third with Camembert or cheese afterwards, and save the rest for breakfast (which is quite anti-French considering these baguette become hard and indelible quickly).
It goes without saying that in France, the baguette is sacred. Making them really is a form of fine art. Bakers wake up in the early hours of the morning and work all day in order to keep a nation fed, and their passion for their work is unrivaled. So much so that every year in Paris, hundreds of bakers gather and compete to see who makes the best baguette, with the winner receiving the honor of being the official baker of the president. No wonder the baguette is a staple in the French diet. Every meal is typically served with a side of baguette, perfect to munch on or use to mop up the plate at the end of the meal. Or of course, why not do the hipster thing and have a picnic with wine, cheese, and a baguette?
My daily baguette ritual, however, has lead to one slight problem: I’m now spoiled, as I’ve yet to find a baguette here that can live up to France’s impeccable baguette standards. So instead of trying to buy a perfect baguette, I’d figured I’d do as most great chefs do and try and replicate it my own the kitchen. Although I’ve only finished with my first attempt, it’s obvious that I’m no master bread maker yet. That being said, I can guarantee that a homemade baguette straight out of the oven will be infinitely better than a store bought one any day.
After scouring the web high and low, I settled on two recipes from which I adapted. They can be found at here and here, however since they’re both in French I’ve posted a translation of the recipes below and included some tips and tricks. Enjoy!
A big part of making any kind of dough is the water, so I bought evian brand water in order to make my french baguettes.
I actually forgot to make the incisions right away so I attempted to make them after having put the baguettes in the oven already but unfortunately it was too late. Oh well, c’est la vie!
Tips: Buy your baguette as close as close as possible to the location where you’re going to eat it. Nothing’s worse than a cold baguette, plus you won’t be able to resist the urge to nibble at it! If its obvious that’s it’s straight out of the oven, remove any sort of wrap around it as that traps the gas that’s trying to escape.