|French cliché: Beret Basque and baguette (©BZ).|
Peuvent seuls être mis en vente ou vendus sous la dénomination de : "pain de tradition française", "pain traditionnel français", "pain traditionnel de France" ou sous une dénomination combinant ces termes les pains, quelle que soit leur forme, n'ayant subi aucun traitement de surgélation au cours de leur élaboration, ne contenant aucun additif et résultant de la cuisson d'une pâte qui présente les caractéristiques suivantes :
1° Etre composée exclusivement d'un mélange de farines panifiables de blé, d'eau potable et de sel de cuisine;2° Etre fermentée à l'aide de levure de panification (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) et de levain ...
The most important requirement for a baguette de tradition française is a freshly prepared dough containing nothing else than wheat flour, drinking water, and cooking salt to be fermented with the help of baker's yeast and leaven ...
This reminds me of the German purity law for beer that in reality is a Bavarian decree dated 1516 I dealt with earlier. Duke Wilhelm IV proclaimed that beer should only contain barley, hops, and water. What about brewing yeast? Well, that was not known in the 16th century. All beer was top-fermented, any of those ubiquitous yeast cells turned the mash into wash such that the quality of the resulting beer was quite variable. It was not until the 18th century that beer brewing was understood and specific "tasty" strains of brewing yeast were cultivated.
And here comes bad news for Bavarians. It was not their Duke Wilhelm who was the first but Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, who issued a regulation for the brewing of bierre as early as 1438 that only barley, hops, and water were allowed. Beer in Burgundy? In the 15th century la Bourgogne was the biggest producer of hops and historians have found out that Philip's decree was aimed to protect domestic cultivation of hops rather than the purity of beer.
|Raising a baguette de tradition (©DPA).|
Why do only the French know how to bake a traditional baguette? I remember even in French-speaking Geneva I had to cross the nearby border into France to get the real thing. And forget about German baguettes. We are good at making wholemeal rye bread containing the full grain although my grandchildren living in Geneva even refuse to taste it.