There’s nothing better than waiting on a slow-moving line at a boulangerie than when the bakers suddenly lug out a wooden crate of fresh, hot baguettes. If you’re lucky enough to be standing nearby, it’s nearly impossible to resist stretching out your hands over the crate to warm them up as if you’re standing around a fireplace.
Over the year, I’ve picked up a few baguette-buying tips and thought I’d share:
- If you think a full baguette is too much for you, order a demi-baguette (half-baguette). It’s usually just a bit more than half the price of a regular full baguette – generally about 50 centimes.
- Don’t be afraid to specify what kind of baguette you prefer. I don’t mean pointing out the second baguette on the left of the bin, but actually asking for a baguette “plus cuite” (more cooked) or “pas trop cuite” (not too cooked). This weekend, after the lady handed me a baguette, I even asked her for another one that was “plus cuite, svp”. I would’ve never known to do that one year ago!
- There’s not just one baguette, so tell the baker which baguette you want. The two most popular ones are une baguette “de tradition” (slightly pricier and without any additifs) or “normale”. I personally prefer the normale since it seems a bit lighter to me.
- You know you’ve got a bad baguette if you see braille-like dots on the bottom and small , regularly spaced holes when you slice it open. That means they were previously frozen baguettes that were industrially produced. i.e. not delicious!
- And finally, ever notice when you’re walking down the streets of Paris that Frenchies have the top of the baguette already bitten off? Well, if you’re ever lucky enough to buy a fresh baguette, you won’t be able to help yourself either.