Thursday, August 1, 2013
The delicious irony of this is that the campaign is being directed in part by the commercial bakeries -- the very same people responsible for the decline of French bread to begin with. After the Second World War, the traditional, sourdough-leavened, long-fermentation baguette was replaced by machine-made bread full of additives that strengthened the dough against the rough handling of mechanization and shortened the rise time. The result: lifeless baguettes that tasted like cotton.
The commercial bakers would like nothing better than to see the French return to their earlier levels of bread consumption. That would be -- are you ready for this -- a whopping THREE baguettes per person per day in 1900!! As recently as 1970 the French still averaged an entire baguettes per person, and the current level is about half a loaf. Which is still a lot of bread by American standards.
You can find my own artisan baguettes recipe here, if this posting has made you hungry.