About-France.com

French Bread

About-France.com -  A thematic guide to France          
When  it comes to bread, there are few things that can match the taste and savour of a  fresh French baguette; but the  iconic French baguette if by no means the only type of bread eaten in France. On the contrary, French bakers now produce an inspired selection of different types of white bread and darker varieties, made with a range of different flours

►► Site guide
About-France.com home
Full site index
About-France.com site search
►► Principal chapters on About-France.com :
Guide to the regions of France
Beyond Paris, a guide to the French regions and their tourist attractions.
Guide to Paris
Make the most of your trip to Paris; Information on attractions, Paris hotels, transport,  and lots more. 
Accommodation in France
The different options, including hotels, holiday gites, b&b, hostels and more
Tourism in France
The main tourist attractions and places to visit in France - historic monuments, art galleries, seasides, and more
Planning a trip to France 
Information on things to do before starting your trip to France.
Driving in France 
Tips and useful information on driving in and through France - motorways, tolls, where to stay.... 
Maps of France
Cities, towns, departments, regions, climate, wine areas and other themes.
The French way of life 
A mine of information about life and living in France, including working in France, living in France, food and eating, education, shopping.
A-Z dictionary of France
Encyclopedic dictionary of modern France - key figures, institutions, acronyms, culture, icons, etc.

►► More pagers on French life

A guide to the different types of French bread




***
La Baguette
 
     The "French stick", the long thin crusty loaf,  is perhaps one of the better known icons of French life. In France, it is known as a "baguette" – which litterally means "a stick" – and it is indeed the most popular type of bread in France, notably in towns and cities. The standard baguette weighs 250 grams (about half a pound); it comes in three slightly different forms; the ordinary baguette - with its crisp golden-brown crust; the "moulded baguette" (baguette moulée), which is often a baguette manufactured by an industrial bread-oven, and can be recognised by the fine lattice pattern on all the underside; and finally a floured baguette, or baguette farinée, which is paler in colour, as the crust is covered with flour before cooking. From any given bakery, the three types will be very similar - the crust often being thinner on the moulded baguette than on the other two.
     But of course la baguette is by no means the only type of bread in France. Au contraire...
     In addition to baguettes, France has a wonderful range of delicious breads to offer. Ordinary French white bread comes in several other shapes and sizes, from the couronne (bread in the shape of a ring), via the flute (twice the size of a baguette) to the batard (a half-length normal loaf) and the ficelle, a long and very thin loaf. Ficelles must be eaten fresh, as they are so thin that the inside dries out rather fast once they have been baked.
     Another traditional type of French bread is "country bread", pain de campagne, white bread made in a slightly different way to ordinary bread and often incorporating some whole wheat flour or some rye flour, so that it keeps longer; pain de campagne often has a thick crust, which helps the bread to keep.
      Apart from these basic types of bread, France's bakeries also sell a whole range of other types of bread, including wholemeal breads (pain complet or pain aux céréales), rye bread (pain de seigle), sourdough bread (pain au levain), and a sweet bread called brioche.  Bread resembling the classic English or American sliced white loaf is known as "pain de mie", and is usually available in supermarkets, though rarely on the fresh bread counter.
      These days, most boulangeries also offer a range of breads spiced up with nuts (pain aux noix) , olives, bacon (pain aux lardons), cheese and a variety of other natural additives.  Many bakers make bread by their own proven recipes, meaning that even a baguette will be different from one shop to another; but a sign of the times has been the development of a number of "brands" such as "Banette", bread made locally using a specific type of flour, and following a strict recipe.

     Bread from the bread counter of French supermarkets  is often quite tasty, and generally needs to be eaten as quickly  as baker's bread; but generally speaking supermarkets use industrial dough which has been deep-frozen before being baked on the premises. Bread counters selling this kind of bread are not allowed, by law, to call themselves "boulangeries".
     

     Tourists travelling through France, who want to stop and buy Fresh bread for a picnic, should bear in mind that many small shops close for up to two hours in the middle of the day. Boulangeries often stay open beyond the traditional midday closing hour, but after 12.30 you may well find a locked door if you stop off at a village bakery. Be warned.

To contact About-France.com, send an email to info "at"  about-france.com

Copyright notice:
Website and text © About-France.com 2003 - 2011