This one comes to you courtesy of fellow author and friend Rhonda Ortiz, who happened to mention in an email that baguette is a relatively new word.
I’d never stopped to ponder when the famous French loaf may have come to be–in my mind, as long as there’s been Paris, there have been beret-wearing people cycling around with baguettes in their baskets. Right?? Uh…maybe not, LOL.
So the word itself just means “wand” or “stick.” This would also be why long gemstones are called baguettes, which in French dates from the 16th century and which even came over to English for that use and in architecture in the 1730s. But as for the bread itself…that’s actually quite new. A baguette has to be baked with steam, and the first steam ovens came from Vienna to France sometime around 1839. And the yeast that this loaf requires didn’t join the party in Paris until 1867. So those distinctive long loaves actually are more of an evolution than an invention. The predecessors of what we know as a baguette began to appear in the 1800s but weren’t fully identified as a baguette until…
So new! And though the baguette itself (which actually has rules it has to meet for length and diameter to rightly be called one) isn’t very old, French-style loaves have been long for centuries. They just used to be long and wide.
Do you have a favorite style of bread? Do you like baguettes? We’re big fans here in our family, and I’ve even made a decent imitation in our home oven–just requires adding a bowl of water to the oven and then baking at very high temps for that thick, hard, chewy crust. Yum! Add a bit of brie, and I’m in heaven. 😉