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Ah, the "Ville Lumiere" ... Just to hear those words brings to mind indelible cinematic scenes of a Paris made up of Art Nouveau detail, strolls along the Seine in between a croissant and a book stall, French music and ... a baguette under the arm.
The ubiquitous Parisian stick, anywhere from traditional to shouder height in length, is now so popular that it can be easily purchased from various bakeries and in large retail outlets around the world.
But how can we be sure to find ourselves in front of an authentic baguette and not a simply bread with a slightly elongated shape?
We asked the expert, Thierry Loy from the boulangerie and pastry shop Égalité in Milan, to explain how to recognize a real Parisian baguette.
The Ingredients of a Real French Baguette
In fact, in France you can find some slightly different sizes of baguette, but the ingredients should remain the same.
French food laws define that the traditional French baguette or "La baguette de Tradition Francaise" must contain only four ingredients: water, flour, salt and yeast (whether it be beer or sourdough).
The addition of any other ingredient, prevents the use of the status "Baguette de Tradition Francaise" on the finished loaf.
How to Recognise a Real French Baguette
Thierry Loy explains it's necessary to use all five senses to understand if you are dealing with a real French baguette.
Here they are:
Sight: the baguette must first of all be beautiful to look at, with a golden crust and with a perfect grigne (ie the transverse cuts in the upper part), it should also present the name of the boulanger that made it. When sliced, its crumb should be cream-colored, never too white (which would lead to excessive grinding or the use of additives), with small cavities that trap the aromas.
Sound: the crust must crack when you press it hard with your hands, while the bottom must echo when tapped.
Smell: real baguette must release a good aroma, a tasty smell of toasted hazelnut and wheat.
Touch: the crumb must be pleasant to the touch, tender and sensual, in contrast and harmony with the crispness of the crusty outside.
Taste: a balanced and delicate flavor that with the unmistakable and decisive notes of wheat.