Team "well done" or "not overcooked"?
While some swear by a golden and very crispy baguette, baguettes with a whitish crust and a generous crumb are gaining ground on the market.
However, artisan bakers are adamant that a well-baked baguette is the best.
So why do the new generations shun it like this?
Explanations with the Meilleur Ouvrier de France baker, Olivier Magne (1), and food sociologist, Philippe Cardon (2).
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For MOF Olivier Magne, a good baguette is “crispy and well-cooked, with a caramelized crust and a slightly moist and honeycombed crumb, that is to say with irregular bubbles”.
The signature of a bread resulting from a good fermentation and having experienced a nice degradation of its sugars during cooking: "A baguette made with love, what!".
In contrast, the enthusiast describes the undercooked baguette as "tasteless, tasteless, rubbery, and indigestible."
If Olivier Magne is so intransigent on his preferences in terms of cooking, the undercooked baguette is proving very popular within his Parisian bakeries Farine & O: “The requests are incessant.
Two-thirds of my sales are baguettes that have not been baked successfully, so I have to adapt my offer to demand,”
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“Crunchy but not too much”
No need to go to a bakery to witness this division.
On social networks, after the publication on Twitter of two baguettes side by side with very dissimilar cooking, the debate on the national symbol is raging.
In response, Internet users defend their preferences tooth and nail: “Bread not overcooked!
Just better, crunchy but not too much, ideal for the sandwich”, “It is better on the right without debate”, “The uncooked baguette is a bakery aberration”, “Fed up with white bread in the bakery”, “Vive the baked bread”, can we read in the comments.
Industrialization singled out
If no official study confirms a new preference for less baked bread, for Philippe Cardon, a sociologist specializing in food, this success can be attributed to industrialization.
“It does not date from yesterday!
In the 19th century, there was a mechanization of flour mills which accelerated in the 20th century.
We started to make bread with white flour then, during the post-war period, white bread became the norm,” says the specialist.
Faced with industrialization, there is a real struggle on the part of bakers on the definition of a good baguette.
Philippe Cardon, sociologist
In the 1980s, large retailers encroached on the territory of bakers by selling less and less baked bread at more affordable prices, leading to a "bread war" between supermarkets and bakers.
"Faced with industrialization, there is a real struggle on the part of bakers on the definition of what a good baguette is", explains Philippe Cardon.
Olivier Magne shares this opinion: “It's globalization, the Americanization of things!
Kids don't want to eat things that are too hard anymore.
Look at all the crustless sandwich breads that are sold in the supermarket, people like that”.
The baker also blames this phenomenon on the desertion of rural areas: “We still eat well-baked baguettes in the countryside, where habits remain unchanged,
White bread, bad for your health
If for the moment the undercooked baguette is very coveted, the sociologist Philippe Cardon cautiously predicts a change to come in habits thanks to the medical profession: “Doctors talk a lot about the negative impact of white bread on health.
Perhaps this discourse will slowly make its way to consumers.
The baker MOF explains that when the baking of a baguette is not complete, the starch does not cook.
“In addition to obtaining a very soft baguette that does not keep well, the body will have difficulty digesting it”.
It will be understood, "a well-baked baguette, please", is THE sentence to pronounce during our next visit to the bakery.
Farine & O
, 10 rue des Martyrs, 75009 Paris.
, lecturer at the University of Lille.