Baguette bread - the pride of French cuisine
President Emmanuel Macron once called for UNESCO to recognize the baguette as a World Cultural Heritage.
Walking in Paris in the morning, you will see many people walking out of the local shops, with bread on their hands. Across the country, getting up early and buying a baguette are two typical things of the people. French bread is known as eye-catching loaves of yellow, crunchy crust and flexible gut. It tastes best when eaten hot.
The famous bread of France. Photo: BBC.
According to the BBC, the people of this country consume 320 pieces of baguette per second. On average, each person eats half a day. The population of this country is more than 65.5 million people, each year, they need to 10 billion units. Therefore, you should not be surprised that the French take their baguette bread very seriously. Since April 1994, Paris has organized the Le Grand Prix de la Baguette, a competition to find the best baker in the city. Winners of the grand prize will not be allowed to participate after 4 years, since the time of winning the prize.
Baguette is the pride in French cuisine. Photo: King Arthur Flour.
Each year, about 200 bakers take part in this contest, and they will hand over to the expert panel two products that are their two best baguettes in the morning. The cakes tested to qualify them are 55-65 cm long, weighing 250-300 grams. Half of the more than 400 cars submitted to participate in this strict competition to enter the second round.
In the next round, 14 judges, including culinary journalists, champion last year and lucky volunteers, will analyze the loaf of bread based on 5 different criteria: baking, shape, smell, taste and guts. A standard baguette must be soft but not wet, elastic after pressing with your finger, just have the porosity shown through the small holes in the intestines ...
Mahmoud M'Seddi twice won the Le Grand Prix de la Baguette. Photo: BBC.
Last year's champion, Mahmoud M'Seddi, was the youngest winner in the contest's history, at 27 years old. He said he was lucky to grow up in a bakery. Passionate about French breads inherited by M'Seddi from his father, a Tunisian who settled in the late 1980s. "He was like a magician," M'Seddi recalled the scene of his father making. bread in the kitchen. He had a happy childhood when he made pies with his father.
His mother did not like his son to become a professional baker, because this job usually takes time, there is no holiday. M'Seddi is still determined to participate in the family business. Currently, he is a baker at a store named after him, located south of the Butte aux Cailles neighborhood, district 14.
His day starts at 4 o'clock, to prepare dough. The bread in the shop is handmade, has the same color as the caramel color. When asked about the secret, the 27-year-old laughed awkwardly: "I won't say it". However, he also said that the "magic" that makes his product stand out from the billions of cakes consumed each year across the country is: passion. "You can get the exact recipe, but as long as one baker is more passionate than the other, the result will not be the same."
When becoming a champion, M'Seddi is entitled to stick a large yellow decal in his bakery window to advertise the victory he achieved. The champion is honored to provide bread every morning to the French president. He also filmed a video documenting his early morning routine: carrying a basket of fresh bread towards the Elysée Palace.
"It is an honor. Nobody thought that a sandwich would take you to the Elysée palace, when I started making cookies 22 years ago," said Djibril Bodian, champion of the Le Grand Prix de la Baguette in 2010 share.
According to Sami Bouattour, the winner of 2017, the perfection of the baguette is as elusive as the chef M'Seddi is showing. "When I was a judge, you would easily pick out 10-20 outstanding cakes. But then, it would be difficult for you to compare a cake standing in third and eighth because it is so different. small".
Previously, there was a time when French bread was in a crisis when bakers were aiming for convenience. They make cakes with yeast, dough that has been kneaded and frozen. In 1993, in an attempt to save the traditional baguette from industrialization, France adopted the Bread Ordinance (Le Décret Pain), requiring the traditional baguette to be made by hand, sold right where it was baked and Only made from water, flour, yeast and salt. Today, traditional breads make up 50% of the baguette throughout the city.
Some people love bread at the supermarket, because it's cheaper than the traditional baguettes bought in bakeries. This causes many artisans to retire. 1,200 small bakeries in France are closed each year. "It's really embarrassing. It's bread. It's France. You need to buy it in a bakery where people get up early and make handmade cakes," M'Seddi said.
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