If you think of bread and France, what’s the first thing to come to your mind? Probably a crusty baguette.
There are dozens of ways to eat it. You can split it in two and stuff it with whatever you have in your kitchen, cheese, meats, butter, jam. You can roast it, or you can just eat it plain.
There are many theories on how the baguette originated. Legend says Napoleon Bonaparte said they should make bread that would fit into the pockets of his soldiers, so it should be thin and long, a stick. That’s oddly specific, but that’s what they say.
Another story is that it was born on the Paris Métro in 1989, working people were brought in from all over France, and fights ensued.
Men got a bit violent, so bakers were ordered to create bread that could be torn instead of cut so that knives could be outlawed. Drastic, but needed.
The last story tells that the baguette was the cause of the french revolution.
Peasants saw that the nobility was eating crusty bread while the poor faced famine. This was the last straw. Talk about triggering situations.
The baguette became iconic very quickly. Wheat got cheaper, so everyone adopted this bread on their diets.
To control the sizes of the bread and avoid excesses, a law was decreed in 1920, the minimum weight of the baguette should be 80g, and the maximum length should be 40cm.
There is no person that we can thank for creating the baguette.
Still, it is said that August Zang, the baker who invented the croissant, made the baguette possible by installing the first steam oven, which made the bread fluffy in the center with a crisp crust on the outside.
But the baguette peaked in the 1920s. A law was passed that forbid bakers to work before 4am (so many laws).
Because of its shape, the baguette was quick to prepare and bake, so that’s the only bread they could get done in time for breakfast.