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I have tried a couple different recipes, and the best tasting (in my opinion) are from Betty Crocker and Fannie Farmer. I was just wondering what are the qualities of a good French Bread?

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From Retrodor:

The Bread Decree issued in France on September 13, 1993, defined the characteristics of the baguette de tradition française, the traditional French loaf.

This baguette resembles the best of those made in the 1930s, when the baguette reached its peak in the major French cities. The Retrodor stands out in particular because it is made from high-quality flour; no additives, chemical products, or other “improvers” are allowed.

What makes it special? You can recognize a baguette de tradition by specific qualities that appeal to all five senses.

Here are the cues that will help you identify the ideal baguette.

As soon as you go into the bakery, you’ll detect aromas of caramel and toasty, nutty hot cereal coming out of the oven.

First, you’ll judge the loaf’s appearance by sight: it will have a smooth, earthy golden crust.

Take it in your hand: you’ll see right away that, at 300 grams, it is more robust and generous than the classical baguette

When you touch it, the appealing crust, thin and crisp, will crack under light pressure; it won’t be hard or brittle.

If you tap on the bottom of the baguette, you’ll hear a distinctive drum-like sound; this comes from the tension created in a well-cooked loaf during the baking process.

After cutting off a piece, you’ll look carefully at the crumb (the inside part).

It adheres well to the crust. It’s cream-colored, not white; this shows that the bread was made with an exceptional flour, then kneaded slowly and with care. The little cavities or air pockets (alveoli), extremely variable in size and unevenly spaced, are the memory sites of a successful fermentation and harbingers of sensory pleasure.

The crumb has good elasticity: it will spring back to its initial form after you’ve pressed it gently with your fingers.

When you can no longer resist the temptation to bite into it, you will immediately discover reassuring signs: both delicate and sturdy, the bread is easily chewed and swallowed as a result of the perfect marriage of crumb and crust. The impression in the mouth is promising, at once round and long.

When you finally taste this baguette, you’ll detect aromas of hazelnut and butter, with scents that are fruity (black cherry, dried apricot) and floral (acacia, verbena). There is no hint of acidity. Its light yeast content keeps it tasty and fresh.

  • Thank you so much! I've only just started making French bread and this is a really helpful guide! – Breadful Sep 26 '17 at 19:27

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