10 things to know about the baguette

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Symbols of French culture by Vincent FerniotSociété nationale des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France

A disputed origin story

There are several theories about the origin of the baguette. According to Steven Kaplan, bread historian, the baguette was born in Paris in the 20th century. The urban population could then go and buy their fresh bread every day and turned away from the large loaves. 

Best baguette National competitionSociété nationale des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France

Traditional or ordinary baguette?

The ordinary or standard baguette is longer, softer, puffier, and cheaper. The traditional baguette has a more pronounced flavor, is crustier and requires more work to make.

Mickaël Chesnouard, Meilleur ouvrier de France by M Gain Nathanaël et le magasin M Crampon FrancoisSociété nationale des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France

The law and the bread

Only 4 ingredients are allowed in the making of traditional French bread: flour, salt, water, yeast or leaven. This is legally regulated by the decree n° 93-1074 of September 13, 1993.

Bakery Kayser in France by KayserSociété nationale des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France

Size and weight can vary 

Unlike the ingredients, the weight and size are not determined. The criteria for the National Competition for the Best Traditional French Baguette are: 50 cm long (tolerance + 5%) and a weight of 250 g after baking (tolerance + 5%).

Bakery front by Vincent FerniotSociété nationale des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France

There are 35,000 bakeries in France

The term "bakery" can only be used in compliance with criteria defined by law (article L. 122-17 of the Consumer Code). The bread must be prepared and baked on site and may not be frozen at any time. 

Bakery Gosselin, Paris by Thomas DéronSociété nationale des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France

320 baguettes per second

According to Observatoire du Pain (Bread Observatory), 320 baguettes are consumed per second in France. It is the most sold bread. 

Toast by Thomas DéronSociété nationale des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France

94 grams per day

This is the average amount of bread consumed each day by the French in 2018. At the end of the Second World War the consumption of this basic necessity was 900g.

Mie alvéoléeSociété nationale des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France

Baguette is a fermented food

It is this action that creates the pockets of air in the baguette and develops its flavors. The 1993 decree authorizes the baker to use yeast, sourdough or a mixture of both for the composition of his traditional baguette. 

Bakery Gosselin, Paris by Thomas DéronSociété nationale des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France

The cost

In 2022 the average price of a baguette in France is 0.90 €. For the traditional one, you have to spend more, on average 1,20 €. 

Croutons et gratinée by Vincent FerniotSociété nationale des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France

A day

An artisanal baguette stays fresh for up to 8 hours, which is why you need to buy it every day. But if it has lost its freshness, it is not thrown away but can be cooked (breadcrumbs, toast, French toast...) Find anti-waste ideas here. 

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