If the history of bread doesn’t start with France, no one can deny the special link between this country and the magical mix of wheat, water, leaven and salt.
Buying a baguette in a french bakery, waiting in line, mixed with the French population, until the seller serves you, is a part of the French “journey”.
The way French people apprehend bread is deeply sensual and intellectual at the same time. It is almost artistic and being a baker is almost seen as a form of luxury craftsmanship.
It is almost impossible to talk about French bread without cheese. A nice piece of bread, like a rustic baguette, with a nice slice of camembert cheese is a perfect combination, that only needs to be amplified by a nice glass of red. In this association, breads plays the role of the foundation on which relies the flavors.
But selecting the correct bread for the best occasion is not something that needs to be over complicated.
There is, of course, the baguette. The history of this type of bread is not clear. One theory says that the long shape of the bread is due to ease the transportation by Napoleon’s soldier during their campaign throughout Europe. Another explanation can be found in the importation to Paris in the 19th century of Austrian baking techniques, that included this specific shape.
Since then, the baguette has turned into a symbol of France, just like the Arc de Triomphe or the Eiffel Tower.
But it would be a mistake to ignore the other kinds of bread that France can produce.
The “bâtard” or the “campagnard”, or just a “boule”, and why not the “miche”. Those are some classic ones, but in the last few decades, bakeries have seen a explosion of types of bread. Some of them exist mostly for marketing reasons due to a trend for healthier or more original bread. Multigrain breads or breads mixed with curcuma or acai berries, just to give a few examples, are now flourishing in the glasses of many bakeries.
France still has a lot to give when it comes to bread.