The prize for the best traditional style Baguette in Paris (Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Française de la Ville de Paris) was recently awarded to Sami Bouattour of the Brun Bakery located at 193, rue Tolbiac in Paris’ 13th arrondissement.
The word “baguette” was not used to refer to a type of bread until 1920, but what is now known as a baguette may have existed well before that. The word simply means “wand” or “baton. “Though the baguette today is often considered one of the symbols of French culture viewed from abroad, the association of France with long loaves predates any mention of it. Long, if wide, loaves had been made since the time of Louis XIV, long thin ones since the mid-eighteenth century and by the nineteenth century some were far longer than today’s baguette.
A standard baguette has a diameter of about 5 or 6 centimetres (2 or 2⅓ in) and a usual length of about 65 centimetres (26 in), although a baguette can be up to a metre (39 in) long. Rules for the contest stipulate that a baguette weigh 250-300 grams and not contain more than 18 grams of salt per 1 kilo of flour. In addition to earning 4000 Euros prize money the bakers won the chance to provide bread for a year to French President Francois Holland’s at the Elysee.