What Makes A Good Baguette?

It can be difficult to know how to pick the perfect baguette, so here is all you need to find the best bread in France!

Five Points To Consider

  • How does it look? A good baguette looks good. It should have a nice oblong shape with pointy ends, a telling sign that it has been carefully crafted by hand.
  • How much does it weigh? You always have to weigh your bread. The denser it feels, the better it will taste. A light baguette typically means that it has been made by a machine and enzymes and additives has been used.
  • How does the crust feel? The crust should be thin and crunchy. If you hold the baguette between your fingers, you should hear a gentle crackling sound.
  • How does it look inside? It should never be white, but instead a cream colour with small white flakes, even a pale yellow.
  • How does it smell and taste? Bread is just as rich in its sumptuous smells as wine. You should be able to pick out some strong aromas, sometimes smoky flavours, caramel and even hazelnut.

Different Types Of Baguettes

Le pain de “tradition française”: Never frozen, no added chemicals, it is made from wheat, water, salt and yeast. Six natural additives are allowed, but in moderation: bean and soya flour, gluten, fungal amylase and deactivated yeast.

Le pain courant français: Fourteen additives are added to the natural ones mentioned above. Their main purpose is to speed up the preparation process and to ensure that they go stale less quickly.

Le pain au levain: Sourdough bread is made from wheat or rye flour; other ingredients such as honey can be added. Sourdough is a common base used for baguettes and is characterised by having a slight acidity to its flavour.

Le pain de campagne: This loaf is made using a poolish, a yeasted pre-fermentation similar to a sourdough starter that is classically used in French bread making. The grains and slow proving create a complex flavour and chewy crust.

Le pain de seigle: Rye bread is a type of bread made with various proportions of flour from rye grain. It can be light or dark in colour and is typically denser than bread made from wheat flour. It is higher in fibre than white bread and is often darker in colour and stronger in flavour.

Les pains spéciaux: These can contain, among other classic ingredients, added fats and sweeteners, dairy products, additives and seed mixes. Most are made from mixtures of readymade ingredients delivered directly to bakers.