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It's possible to buy 'part-baked' baguettes in the UK which are intended to be heated in a hot oven, say 220C (430°F), for 10 minutes before serving.

Does the dough or crust undergo any significant cooking (i.e. a chemical change in composition) in the final step? Or is the only purpose to make the bread palatable?

As a follow up question,

What differs in the preparation of these baguettes from those intended for immediate consumption?

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Pre-baked baguettes are typically not browned at all when you buy them. If there is a crust all all, it is still very soft and mostly the same colour as the inside of the bread. The main chemical change undergone by cooking them is browning the outside. The inside is slightly undercooked when you buy them, to make sure it doesn't dry out completely when you brown the outside. If you tried to eat them straight from the package, the texture will be slightly uncomfortably doughy rather than fluffy.

They are intentionally underbaked compared to those intended for immediate consumption, and underbaked at a temperature that's low enough that there is minimal browning of the crust. This related question describes how to achieve something similar at home.

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    You could probably slice them and put them in a toaster; I haven't tried it with these but it's rescued underbaked bread for me in the past
    – Chris H
    Commented Dec 16, 2019 at 16:27

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