This document is
part of the
Research answers questions but also, as
often as not, raises others. And so in preparing a paper on
breakfast in 18th
century France, I discovered that the
croissant had come to that country not, as often thought, in
the eighteenth century but in the nineteenth. My subsequent
efforts to discover just when and how that occurred led me to
August Zang, and my little volume on him (August
Zang and the French Croissant).
But that work in turn led me to the origin of the baguette, a question addressed, but only briefly, in the book.
Subsequent musings have sent me deeper into the history of the baguette, a history which has proved even more complex than that of the little croissant (née kipfel). At this point, my understanding of that history is much like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle, with large spaces between irregularly outlined patches of clear pictures. But knowing how little I knew when I started (and that, to be honest, was probably more than most people; most people, that is, who give two cents about the whole business), I thought it would be useful to start organizing and presenting some of the bits of bone and feather which have risen to the surface as I feel my way around the murk and muck of baguette history.
Hence what follows – which no doubt will lead in its time to yet another unsolved question.
About the Baguette
An inquiry into the origin of the baguette
both as an ebook and in Kindle format.
With greatly expanded text and some different images.
© 2009 Jim Chevallier
Please do not copy or post elsewhere without prior permission.
You may use brief excerpts from this page, but please provide a link back to it and proper credit.
Questions +/or comments are welcome.
In the world, the baguette is emblematic of France, and more particularly of Paris.
Baguette (pain), French Wikipedia1
The French Wikipedia is not alone in identifying the baguette as one of the most well-known symbols of French culture worldwide. This status alone might make it worth investigating, as might the fact that, like the croissant, it long ago went from being a distant foreign emblem of that country to being familiar and available to consumers worldwide. A glance at the (albeit scattered) literature on this subject shows, further, that there are connoisseurs of the baguette, who speak with longing of certain years and lament the bread's decline.
This particular form of French bread (there are many) has its own peculiar importance, and so its origin is of corresponding interest, and has in fact been postulated by a variety of writers. Some – authoritative as they appear – are very probably wrong, others perhaps less so, but offering no sources for their assertions. The question, then, of where, how and why the baguette appeared still seems to require some clarification.
But this question contains, like a Russian doll, another: just what, in its different roles as foodstuff, symbol, word, etc., does “baguette” mean?
Definitions, official and other
What, in the most limited literal sense, is a baguette?
Given France's history of bureaucracy and scrupulous categorization, one might expect to find a crisp official definition of the baguette, precisely defining, at the least, its length, width and composition. Apparently, such a definition has been tried, but unsuccessfully:
Although the French have tried to standardize the baguette, they have not succeeded. There are too many shapes, forms, flours and customs throughout France to get everyone to comply. For example, the Parisian baguette weighs 250 grams but the baguette sold in Marseilles weighs just 200 grams.
The very official French National Center of Textual and Lexical Resources (CNRTL) offers its own definition: “A long thin bread of about 300 grams”2 but also access to that of the Academie Française: “Long thin bread weighing two hundred fifty grams”3,
Nous voilà bien avancés, as the French say (or as some Americans might put it, “Yeah, that helped. Not.”).
The French National Confederation of Bakers' site says:
In terms of breads' weights, no regulation exists setting the weight of breads relative to this or that term. Absent a text, one must refer to the loyal and constant usage of commerce. Often, the question concerns the weight of the baguette and that of the flûte. For these terms, it must be admitted that usage varies from one region to another.
Thus in the Paris region, the term baguette is applied to a bread of 250 g and the term flute to a bread of 200 g. On the other hand in Seine-Maritime for instance, the commercial usage is reversed, that is the term baguette corresponds to a bread of 200 g and the flute to a bread of 250 g.4
Their information site, Espace Pain, says that there are no fixed measurements, but that the baguette is about 70 cm long and 6 cm in diameter, and in general is scored with about 5 grignes (the scores or slashes made in certain forms of bread)5. (The grignes, which are rarely mentioned in definitions, may nonetheless fairly be considered a key characteristic of a baguette.)
In Quebec, the Quebec Office of French Language is somewhat more precise, at least in regard to size: “A glazed bread, 60 cm long and from 5 to 6 cm thick.6 “ (The question of exactly how thin a baguette has to be might be ponderously academic were all long narrow breads baguettes. But of course the matter is not that simple.)
A precise definition does exist for one kind of baguette - the (dubiously named) baguette “tradition” (which purports to be a baguette as it was made traditionally, a curious claim for a relatively recent bread; the most traditional French bread is the round boule). Historian Steven L. Kaplan has some sharp observations on attempts to “revive” traditions in French baking:
The bakers' relationship to the past was not devoid of ambiguity. Most of them knew very little about what I would call the historical past, whose claims required critical scrutiny and documentary corroboration.. The allure of the unvarnished, uncorrupted professional tradition betrayed a deeper longing, hardly confined to bakers, or to the French, for the more solid values that were believed to have held sway at one time...The bakers groped to forge a usable past, one that would not cripple them [and so he says used modern methods where it suited them, even in making “traditional” bread].... Meg Bortin, an American journalist based in Paris, was doubtless right to warn almost twenty years ago that the evocation of l'ancienne was more often a "coup de décor" - a decorative ploy - than the harbinger of better bread. And Alain Shifres was equally on the mark a decade later in debunking the "enchantment with autrefois. The original bread does not exist..."... Yet our confidence in the past as a guide to primal virtues seems boundless.7
A cynical observer might be tempted to consider the baguette de tradition as an ersatz construction created for purely marketing purposes. Whatever the case, the reader will find much here about traditional breads and much about the baguette, but very little about the “traditional baguette”.
While addressing this issue in 1983, Patricia Wells gave a good general definition of the baguette, combining an impressionistic portrait with a precise definition:
Does it still exist, the great, slender French baguette, with its crackling crisp, golden exterior, its elastic and creamy interior, its flavor of fresh-milled wheat, the bread that's carried naked through the narrow streets of France from daylight until dusk?
Yes, and no. The traditional baguette, the 2 1/2-foot loaf weighing just under eight ounces, is in trouble and it's undergoing both a period of reevaluation and revival.8
Well's definition, impressionistic as it is, has the advantage of capturing some aspects of the baguette which do not make it into official definitions, yet are very much part of what many people mean when they say “baguette”.
None of these definitions for the standard baguette define its composition. The Espace Pain lists these “principal ingredients of the baguette”: wheat flour of type 55 (that is with an ash rate between .50 and .60 %), water, kitchen salt and yeast or leavening, as well as “certain improvers [that is, additives] authorized by the legislation.”9
Cautious readers will stop, and wisely, at that last phrase.
Observant Jews have more reason than many consumers to look at such phrases carefully and a French paper addressing their concerns states:
In standard French bread, of the “baguette” type for instance, 14 additives are authorized by the legislation: E 322 (lecithin), E 300 to E 304, additives only authorized during the warm months to guard against the risks of bread turning ropy, that is lactic acid and its derivatives E 270, E 325 to E 327, acetic acid and its derivatives E 260 to E 263 are authorized all year without restriction.
The same paper adds:
The European directive defines an officially labeled bread as “bread made exclusively from wheat flour, water, yeast or leavening and salt.” Such a label might have attracted a consumer seeking a kosher production. In the event, the label is particularly misleading: In reality, this bread contains no less than 18 additives! The detours in the European legislation regarding wheat bread have allowed this. In regard to additives, it bears those of “standard French bread” plus the Data (E 472 a, d, e and f: almost all non kosher!).10
Further, the (unnamed) writer points out, flour producers can themselves introduce additives, complicating the question before the bread is ever made.
This writer's observations presumably are also of interest to vegans and others with dietary restrictions.
The Observatoire du Pain, a site providing "scientific information on bread", gives what is probably the most succinct, yet accurate, description:
It is defined by custom as being made up of a mix of wheat flour intended for breadmaking, drinking water, kitchen salt, and yeast or leavening. It may contain a very small quantity of flour of broad beans, soy and wheat malt as well as a limited number of additives defined by the statutes (the most commonly used is ascorbic acid...)11
Finally, what exactly does the original word mean in English?
Linguistically, the word is often translated as “wand”, and before the bread appeared, it was often used to refer to a magic wand (baguette magique), as well as a glass rod (used in chemistry) or a baton (as in the expression “to lead by the baguette”). The word also has a host of other meanings, most of which imply a stick-like object: a small thin stick, often flexible (that is, a switch); an emblem of authority; a (musician's) drumstick; a chopstick; a ramrod; various costume and architectural embellishments; an astrological table; a type of diamond cut; or (slang) legs.12
As it happens, it is just possible that the original baguette did resemble a wand (as today's does not). Still, in English, it seems most appropriate to choose the meaning of “stick”, and in fact common usage has favored this choice:
French stick, or more vaguely French loaf, is an English term for a long thin loaf of French bread, particularly the type known in French (and increasingly in English ) as a baguette. It is first recorded in 1959.13
So, when did English speakers start to associate sticks of bread with France?
The short answer is “long before the baguette appeared”.
In 1815, one of Napoleon's soldiers in Italy asked, “What can you expect from so stupid a nation, that eats its bread in a stick?”14. The soldier – who was referring to the grissini, a favorite of Rousseau's - could not have known that very soon, and long before the baguette appeared, English speakers would be referring to French “sticks of bread”15.
An Italian-French dictionary from 1830 defines that same bread (here called a gherssin) as a “pain baguette” - literally, (as we call the same food in English) a “bread stick”16. More tantalizingly, a Milanese-Italian dictionary from 1840 says of the different kinds of “grizzini”: “All are inferior in merit and digestive quality to the best which are the pain baguette of the French”17. Which seems to imply that some French equivalent of the (short and very crisp) bread stick then existed (probably this refers to the flûte, which at the time seems to have been synonymous with “soup bread” and nothing like the larger bread that exists today18). Absent a similar reference from the French side, however, the most that can be said is that if the term was used in France towards the start of the nineteenth century, it was for a bread that was almost the opposite of today's baguette (notably, the grizzini were said to last almost indefinitely, while the baguette famously goes stale within hours).
On the other hand, it is sure that France had – and had had since at least the 17th century – long breads (pains longs). According to Legrand d'Aussy, this came about as “soft” (mollet) breads largely displaced the “stiff dough” (pate ferme) which had been used until then:
It was only towards the end of the last century, when the different kinds of fine bread called soft multiplied a great deal, that long bread started to be made, because the crumb of these was less good, more crust was wanted. 19
These breads were “long” simply in the sense that they were elongated, not round, as bread had been until then (“boulanger” - baker – may come from boulenc, ”one who made round bread”, that is, boules, or “balls”20). Broadly, this could refer to any one of a number of breads that were not round, though “long bread” seems to have taken on a more precise meaning in the nineteenth century. But images from a 1771 dictionary show several loaves that were long in the modern way, that is far longer than wider, yet not excessively long.21
Seeing these long, thin breads, some readers may wonder: “Just how do these differ from baguettes?” That is a question for a specialist, but here are a few possible answers: the shapes bulge (to varying degrees) in the middle in a way baguettes do not; they may not have had the same proportion of crust to crumb; they would not have been made in a steam oven; even the best flour of the time was inferior to much flour that was milled in the nineteenth century. In fact the very nature of flour was just changing:
What we call "bread " today is normally composed of pure wheat flour. This flour, unknown in certain parts of France until the end of the XVIIIe century, was once a precious product from which a few luxury breads and sweetened "gruels" were made... The food designated in our time by the name of “bread” is a completely different thing from that formerly so called.22
Still, these differences are not necessarily greater than those between the nineteenth century croissant (often made with little or no butter) and the twentieth century version (made with puff pastry, which requires great quantities of butter or, for a croissant ordinaire, margarine).
In other words, it is not out of the question that the baguette was merely a modern version of these breads, even if, for a variety of reasons, that seems unlikely.
Note too the absence of grignes. This is the kind of innovation that rarely gets documented at the time, but the earliest mention of it may be by Vaury (author of le Guide du boulanger) in 1834, in making “table breads or flûtes crevées”: “Put them in the oven last, moisten them lightly with a brush then cut them on top with a pocket knife, very lightly, in slanting the hand.”23 This “strike of the blade” (these days done with a special knife) does not only have an aesthetic purpose; it releases heated carbonic gas.24 (In the nineteenth century, grigne was sometimes also used to refer to the split that ran down the tops or sides of certain breads, though at least one author refers to them separately.25)
Grignes may not always have been made by incisions. Vinçard seems to suggest that the original method was to let the bread split on its own:
The form of bread which contributed the most to the process of bread-making is that of the split bread [see below], called bread with grigne. This is why the worker is careful that this grigne be clear and neat, and that, to accomplish that, he watches the fermentation without exceeding the point where this form appears: "Why has history remained mute on the name of one who found by such an apparently simple manipulation the exact expression of a good bread-making, at the same time that he has given a form by which the crust and the crumb of the bread find themselves correctly distributed?" [A. Boland, Traité pratique de la boulangerie, p 27 and 28] History has for a long time been only a dry nomenclature of facts and dates which, for the most part, should have remained forgotten; one must not be surprised the names of useful men have remained unknown.26
No doubt, Vinçard would have been gratified by modern developments in cultural history....
In eighteenth century research that anticipated nineteenth century experiments on the loss of weight in breads, the writer uses the word to describe the effect of such an opening, rather than the opening itself:
If a loaf keeps its round shape in the oven and finds itself surrounded by a crust which only leaves the aqueous vapors a difficult exit, then it can happen that this bread will lose a little less of its weight in a limited time, while another loaf, whose surface was cracked, where the crumb will have been uncovered, in taking that gilded and appetizing color, known by the name of grigne, will lose some of its round shape...27
Some today also refer to the bit of bread – the “ear” - that flaps up from the cut during baking as a grigne (the word itself appears to be related to grignoter - “to nibble”).28
Why did this innovation occur in the late eighteenth century? One reason might be that more breads used brewer's yeast, a more powerful agent, as opposed to leavening, so that more gas was released.
Vaury's quote is also the second reference we have seen to a flute. At the risk of taking a detour from a detour, it is worth looking more closely at this bread which, as stated earlier, today is slightly heavier or slightly lighter than a baguette. But in general nineteenth century flutes are described as being long and thin rolls.29 The “flûte à soupe” - probably like a breadstick, but with a chewy crust – seems to have been the more common type of flute; one American spoke of “sticks of bread so slender that they are called 'flute', and are only crust to be broken up in soups”.30 Vaury describes the "burst flute" above as being “eight inches long and pointed at the ends”. The “burst flute” (flûte crevée) may originally have suggested the standard, stick-like flute, looking as if it had been inflated; a 1902 image of a burst flute looks nothing like the longer kind and has one vertical opening, instead of slanted grignes.
The flute must have appeared in the eighteenth century, but a rare use of the term then (by Parmentier, in 1778) is more of general remark on the increasing popularity of long, narrow breads: “The long shape has been adopted, because it fits better into the oven, because the bread cooks better and takes on more crust; but this form has been abused in lengthening it into a flute, so that it is only crust instead of bread.”31
The nineteenth century technical works (often by chemists) which enumerate types of breads rarely mention the flute. Yet mentions in more casual works make it plain that by then it was a common, even popular, bread. At the start of the century, two gourmets referred to it. An anonymous gourmet in Grimod de la Reyniere's Almanach des Gourmands (probably Grimod himself) wrote in 1806 that “the flutes of M. Battu, rue Saint-Denis near that of the Precheurs, continue to be good and sell well; they are unique in their genre.”32 In a famous passage on obesity from 1826, Brillat-Savarin shares bread from his favorite baker with an “Obese Man” who enthuses “I eat a lot of bread; with such flutes, I'll do without the rest!”33 A character in a novel from 1819 gives up his little pleasures, and no longer thinks about “the flute, nor the soft bread.” 34
It was still prized in 1899 : “When one stops, by chance, a few moments before an elegant Parisian bakery, one feels the appetite agreeably tempted by the golden crust of the flutes.”35
Equally casual, but rarely descriptive, references to flutes appear in the twentieth century, as will be seen further on. By then, the roll had become a bread, but at this point the bread was still at the small end of a wide scale. At the other end, things were very different.
The image of an eighteenth century bakery from the same 1771 work cited above shows long loaves that are a bit thicker but not longer – they are in fact somewhat shorter - than today's baguette. However, at one point some breads had been very large - one nineteenth century writer says that late seventeenth century breads in Paris were “enormous”36.
This seems to have been less the case in the eighteenth century, but by the mid-nineteenth century, what struck English and American visitors was the sheer length of many breads – a length which would probably be striking today, even to those familiar with the baguette: "We were tired of seeing loaves of bread five or six feet long, and looking like great walking-sticks."37"loaves of bread six feet long that look like crowbars"38; “bundles of bread, in loaves from 6ft. to 8ft. long" (1867)39; “In Paris they make loaves six feet long and only four inches in diameter...” (1884)40.
Some were not quite as monstrous, but still longer than the baguette: “The long sticks of bread, a yard or two in length, made an odd impression on me.” (1891)41; “The loaves of bread here are rolls three or four feet long, and frequently one of these is laid across - or rather along - for it is oftentimes longer than the table is wide - the table for you to hack at."(1885)42. As late as 1903, an American work for hoteliers said: “The bread now called French is in very long loaves of one thickness from end to end. At some Paris restaurants the bakers leave loaves daily that are from one to two yards long.”43
In general, the stick-like French bread caught foreigners' attention: “One of the long sticks of bread propped up in a corner.” (1881)44; "It is funny to see the street-boys belaboring each other with the long sticks of bread they are taking home." (1898)45
Note that several references to somewhat shorter bread come towards the end of the century – did the bread “shrink” with the decades?
If so, one reason that might have been the case is a familiar one in French cultural history – the impact of officialdom. An example of this is the fact that many eighteenth century French cabarets were located outside the city walls. Why? Because they thus escaped regulations that applied within each city itself. By the same token, before 1863 (when a key law established “the liberty of bakers”), prices were regulated for standard breads, but not for those outside certain parameters.46 It should come as no surprise that bakers then favored breads that, for instance, exceeded the length below which regulation applied.
This regulation had begun in 1803 (after various shifts under the Revolution) at first fitfully, but became more comprehensive and organized over time, starting 182347. Did it inspire the creation of excessively long breads? Says a work from 1870: “Breads are made, and one sees them daily transported in our streets, with the aid of indispensable artificial means to avoid their breaking, which have up to 1m 80 and 2 meters in length for a small diameter ...Thirty years ago still the longest breads were not so long as a meter....Today 2 kilogram short split or short jockos [see below] make up only a small proportion of consumption in Paris. ”48.
The bread called regulated is the four pound or 2 kilogram loaf, whose weight is obligatory, and whose length must not exceed 70 centimeters. Above this size, the bread is regarded by the baker as a pain de fantaisie. 49
Much of French bread history from at least the eighteenth century is incomprehensible without some understanding of pain de fantaisie, a term whose meaning shifted somewhat over time. Literally, it means “fantasy bread” (or perhaps more appropriately “whimsy bread”), but is typically translated in English as “fancy bread”. It is often mentioned with or in the place of pain de luxe (“luxury bread”). Nineteenth century writers – who range from chemists to jurists - often use these terms interchangeably and may not always have known the precise definitions themselves. The most basic meanings can be deduced from the very words - pains de fantaisie were breads made in shapes or sizes that were out of the ordinary, that is, according to the customer or the baker's whim; pains de luxe were breads of superior quality (the term dates back to at least the fifteenth century50). The croissant, for instance, could be either, when it first appeared, and was included under both labels by different writers.
The term “pain de fantaisie” appeared in the eighteenth century, though already in the Middle Ages a similar concept existed called pain de fenestre (“window bread”); that is, bread fine enough or unique enough to be put in the window as a display. (This practice was later outlawed under Richelieu, at which point the term may have changed meaning to refer to the ordinary breads which were now displayed).51 It seems to originally have referred to breads which were out of the ordinary in composition, which in practice meant they were finer - the 1771 dictionary cited above lists four breads as an example, all made with the best flour, some with milk and brewer's yeast and some with butter52. Legrand D'Aussy calls them “fine breads” (pains délicats) and says they are typically called “soft breads” (pains mollets) and already (in 1783) were not regulated like more conventional breads.53 (Ironically, at this point, such breads were also typically smaller.) But a nineteenth century dictionary states that pains de fantaisie are made with the same dough as common breads, shaped differently, while pains de luxe are made with special flours. Another contradicts this:
In baking luxury breads refers to those not subject to regulation, either of the weight or of the price. These breads differ between them, either by the form or by the way of working the dough... Luxury breads, called navette, flûte crevée, pains de tête, etc. are made with ordinary dough...54
Other sources also mention milk, gruau flour (the finest) and brewer's yeast, though some breads using these, like pain viennois, were also referred to as pains de fantaisie. A prosecutor was quoted in an Algerian (and so, then, French) case defining these a bit differently:
Luxury and fantasy bread is a bread which, by its special shape, generally lengthened, and above all by its greater degree of cooking (recooked bread) contains, relative to crumb, a greater proportion of crust than that of ordinary breads; it is thus lighter.55
Again, in practice, these terms are often used interchangeably, especially in regard to the issue of most immediate concern in the nineteenth century – the fact that these breads were not regulated in the same way as more standard breads.
The term of pain de fantaisie was invented. The creation of this word was one of the happiest discoveries for the baker who, thanks to it, refuses to weigh the bread he supplies. Regulation bread must weigh at least 2 kilos and its length does not exceed 0m, 70. Any bread whose weight is less or length longer is called pain de fantaisie. Otherwise, this bread is made with the same dough as ordinary bread, only the form differs. According to Le Play, there are no less than 45 types of pain de fantaisie which all have one thing in common: the deficit in their weight.56
Armengaud (writing in 1881) says "All breads made for a nominal weight under four pounds are considered pains de fantaisie, whatever in fact their shape or size."57 A central point of his article, in fact, is the fact that many common breads were sold beneath their putative weight – which, for pains de fantaisie, was legal.
Fontenelle gives another reason for the popularity of long breads:
It is undeniable that bread with a long shape is more convenient than that with a round shape to put in the oven, that it bakes better and that it takes on more crust; it is equally true that soft dough does better in this shape than in another, and in a small volume rather than a large. It is, without doubt, these motives which have decided bakers to only make long breads, and at a weight that never exceeds 6 kilograms.58
(Did nineteenth century bakers ever make breads that exceeded 6 kilograms? The question suggests an entirely separate avenue of inquiry.)
Whatever their origin, these longer breads would have been pains de fantaisie, of which numerous types existed. Anglophone writers did not (understandably) say which specific type of bread was made in such striking lengths. It would not be surprising if they confounded more than one type with another; nineteenth century France offered a variety of long breads.
Period definitions of these are not always consistent. Armengaud also lists the standard types of fantasy bread in 1856 by weight, from four pounds to well under one ("one sou breads" are the smallest, weighing on average 85 grams). Here are the seven types listed for the highest weight:
Jocko half-long and long; pale jocko half-long and long; split half-long and long; grignon or split on the side; weighing on average 750 grams, and sold for 0 fr. 66, which for the consumer brings them to 38 centimes the kilo.
Note that the weight is not directly related to the length; each of these (which also exist in smaller weights) come both as “half-long” and “long”. In 1850, an American writer explained how this could be true:
Bread is baked in loaves of two and four pounds, and also in the form of rolls for breakfast. It is of various degrees of consistence and character, but always good. The loaves have a peculiar shape. A two pound loaf is nearly two and a half feet long. The four pound loaf is twice this length, but doubled on itself.
The same writer adds "it is deposited in chairs, on the floor, like a cane in the corner, or elsewhere, as may be most convenient; it being the general opinion that it cannot, by any possibility, be soiled."59
The reader may also have noticed that general references to bread weights were in pounds, even if the official measures were metric. By one account, four-pound breads remained the most popular until almost the Second World War.60
The above list does not mention every major bread found through the nineteenth century. The standard four-pound loaf, made with white flour, was the pain de maçon (“mason's bread”), though it is rarely mentioned by name.61 This seems to be the same as the boulot; but neither term is ever defined with any precision. Rivot, in his much-cited experiments on water content, flour yield and other technical aspects of bread, began his list with several of these, bought from different bakers.62
Here is a general idea of the major longer (and so fantasy) types:
It appears then, though very tentatively, that split breads were the longest, but that some of the breads shown might also be jocko breads, especially when they are not flattened towards the middle and include several grignes. Some of the long breads might also be miches, though not much is said about these in the period.
A. White fantasy
breads [jocko and wine seller's bread or grignon?] B.
Boulot (common) bread C. Split or polka breads [“D”
appears on the second bread]
rearranged to match rows.
The 1863 law freed bakers from numerous obligations), but the question of regulation of price and weight was more complicated – and beyond our scope here. Local municipalities retained the right, if they wished, to regulate these. The resulting issues, forgotten today, were a common, even repetitive subject in the period. In practice, the gist of the nuances and variations resulting from the law's attempt to free the bakers from unwieldy regulation without letting the public be robbed seems to have been that weights could be deficient for fancy breads, but not unreasonably so. The public's insouciance on this point led to some exasperation on the part of the authorities, as in this quote from the (surprisingly lively) Journal of Police Commissioners: “Does not the robbed, deceived public constantly take the side of the merchant of bad faith against the necessary severities of the police? The public is a little like Sganarelle's wife, and does not mind being beaten.“77
In a general way, it is possible that some changes in bread-making can be traced to 1863. But it would require more study to define precisely which. Certainly, it increased the number of bakers; from 1 for every 1800 inhabitant to 1 for every 1000, says one writer.78 This in turn made bread more expensive, since bakeries were smaller and had greater relative costs.
The term “luxury breads” became ambivalent as the century went on and by 1884 the New York Times reported that this “luxury” had become commonplace:
The genuine Parisian population will not look at brown bread; its bread must be "first category bread;" more still, it is beginning to insist not only upon "first category bread," but to crave for what is called pain de luxe, that is, bread made after the Vienna fashion, of the very finest flour. Twenty years ago only half a dozen bakers in the central district offered for sale this bread "a la Viennoise," at present in every quarter every bakery must have its so-called Viennois baker or lose its customers; it must offer its pain riche, its pain jocko, its pain allemand, its pain de gruan [sic], &c, without counting on an infinite variety of petits pains.79
Breads at the end of the century
One bread has not been mentioned and is not mentioned as such in nineteenth century sources: the baguette. We have seen some evidence that the monster breads of pre-1863 were mentioned less later in the century, and one might guess – but, at this point, only guess – that the yard-long baguette was the natural end result of long breads becoming shorter. But no specific evidence establishes that link, while there is strong evidence that the baguette – whatever its ultimate origin – appeared under that name in the twentieth century.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century, one list of breads and some images come from a best-selling novel, published in 1884, whose protagonist practiced a trade that had existed for centuries in France, and was practiced almost exclusively by women: bread carrier, or porteuse de pain.
Sometimes they literally carried the bread: “The loaves are placed upon a frame, similar to that which is used to transport wood, and borne on the backs of women to the regular customers.”80 However, images showing them with wagons are more common.
An 1890 article titled (wonderfully) “Aprons in Paris” says some also used aprons:
This sturdy woman who carries bread is not one of the aristocrats in aprons. She is a sort of patient pack-horse going her rounds betimes and too heavily loaded to relish gossiping with customers on her route. She seldom sees her clients, as she leans her loaves against the door, rings and departs.81
When the protagonist is hired, she is told there are many breads, including “Boulots [standard workers' bread], splits, jockos, galettes ["flat-cakes"], tire-bouchons ["corkscrews"], Viennese, English, flutes, noels, rich breads, nattes ["braids"], mophines [phonetic for muffins?], benoitons [rye rolls with raisins82], richelieu, etc.83” Though the list is not complete, it is unusually extensive. Again, the baguette is not mentioned.
An image from one edition (1902-05) shows breads that were still impressively long (and no doubt heavy).
At the World's Fair of 1900, these French breads were shown: “rounds, galettes, boulots, polka, split, jocko, wineseller's....Let us add that each of these sorts is made in short loaves, long, light, floured, little baked, well baked, and in weights varying from 200 grams to 2 kilograms.”.84 (The polka, which came in different shapes, was distinguished by the cross-hatching on its face, suggestive to some of a dance rhythm.)
In 1897, a member of a baker's association explained why bakers had to be “true artisans”, and paid as such, by giving a list of the most common breads:
Seven sorts of four pound breads: half-long and long jocko, half-long and long light jocko; half-long and long split; gregnon [sic] or split on the site.
Seven sorts of two pound breads, seven also of one pound; the same as above.
Four sorts of crown breads [ringbread].
Two sorts of three sou breads: the little jockos and the Viennese.
Ten sorts of two sou breads: burst flute, navette for coffee, for soup, small Viennese jockos, small English rounds, braids and bonapartes and crowns.
Eight sorts of one sou bread: burst flute, navette for coffee, for soup, small Viennese jockos, small English rounds, braids and bonapartes.85
And this nomenclature includes neither luxury breads, breads of gruau!
Nor does it include: regulated breads or four-pound breads which are subdivided into six sorts: short split, short cudgel, short polka, half-flat round and flat round.
There you have modern bakery; is it not fair that the public pay its whims, given that it obliges us, for these whims, to have first rank employees whom we pay very dearly?86
Note that this list too does not mention the baguette.
A more ambivalent reference comes from Emil Braun's 1903 translation from his own German of his The baker's book: a practical hand book of the baking industry in all countries . Having collected breads from bakers in all the countries mentioned, he shows photographs of the standard breads for each country. His list (which differs for the most part from those above) too omits the baguette, but does include “The genuine Parisian dinner sticks or Luxury Bread, made in loaves of 1 and 2 pounds, [in batches] of 4-5 respectively, 1/2 meter long.” 87
The second of these, even if shorter, certainly resembles a baguette. Unfortunately, he does not give the French term for this, though it looks very much like the “short jocko” shown in the 1938 French edition of the Larousse Gastronomique88. The recipe he gives is for a standard dough (flour, water, yeast and salt) made with a sponge and “molded into long sticks, set between cloth and baked on the hearth in a steam oven.” This sounds much like a baguette, though one might quibble on the (here undefined) width.
Absent any new discoveries, it is clear that the baguette, so-called, was not among the French breads of the nineteenth century. It is less clear if a bread very much like it already existed.
Myths, claims and maybes
Newcomers to culinary history should be warned that most such history - even history written by acknowledged experts - is at best undocumented and dismayingly often pure fantasy. Why is this true?
One reason may be that many food writers write popular books and columns, that is, entertainment, and colorful stories, true or false, are entertaining. Another is that experts on food are often practitioners, not historians, and so happily repeat familiar myths that may be no more than culinary lore. In one of his books, for instance, a famous chef who is, like the croissant, of Austrian origin repeats a long-disproven story tracing the croissant back to... Hungary.
One might also point to the vacuum left by professional scholars – a search through Google Scholar, for instance, reveals no scholarly study of the baguette as a bread (even if some papers reference it fitfully), though there are several on its part in national stereotypes89.
Finally food, unlike say, a species of bird or the site of a battle, is commonly sold, and so much of what is “known” about it comes from salespeople. Weaving a compelling story about a product, or its producer, is an effective way to sell it. The fact that such creative promotion might make its way into authoritative sources is not the first concern of such sellers.
One possible example is that of August Zang, an Austrian officer and the son of a surgeon, who opened the first (and highly influential) Viennese bakery in France. French sources often identify Zang as a count, baron and/or royal chamberlain. He was none of these. But in 1839, as his bakery was opening, the French paper La Presse referred to him as “de Zang” - that is, an aristocrat (the German equivalent would have been “von Zang”). Was Zang himself responsible for this “error”? If so, one can easily believe that he also supplied aristocratic titles to back it up.
If the reader wonders how anyone could claim, for instance, to have been the royal chamberlain of Austria and not be found out, consider the recent case of “Clark Rockefeller”- in fact, a German immigrant who had presented himself not only as an American, but as a member of one of America's most prominent families, and who did so in a time of electronic communication and the Internet.
It is, in a word, absurdly easy to fool most people, especially when they have no pressing reason to challenge the information before them. (There is also a long tradition in France of people appropriating aristocratic titles, which is a whole other issue.)
In fairness to Zang, later references to the bakery omit the “de” and so his ersatz ennoblement might well have been the work of a later writer – or simply unnecessary, since the bakery was now a huge success.
All of this is speculative, especially since no work or site that uses these titles gives their source. But it is no more – perhaps much less – speculative than some of what has been said about the origin of the baguette. While a wide range of versions exist, those most generally available can be roughly referred to as the “Napoleon's soldiers”, the “love of crust”, the “pain viennois” and the “bakers' hours” versions. In a less specific way, some simply describe a general evolution. Finally, research for this paper has suggested two other possibilities.
This story – set long ago, but probably modern – is questionable on its face. Napoleon's military bakers are said to have invented the baguette because soldiers could put the long bread down their pants leg while marching, rather than carrying a round loaf. One has only to imagine trying to march or fight with a stick – a stick of anything at all – in one pants leg to realize how unlikely this story is. (A scabbard would have been more likely, were the story true). But a contributor to the French Wikipedia attacks it with more precision:
An examination of period portraits of the soldiers of the Empire or of the uniforms which have survived are enough to demonstrate that such a means of transportation would have been entirely impractical. The baguette would have hindered the soldier during his day's march and it probably would have been in a bad state upon arriving.90
The fact that the baguette is not even mentioned as a bread until the twentieth century only makes what is already an awkward explanation the more unlikely.
Patricia Well's 1983 article provides the following summary of this version (this paraphrase appears to differ from Calvel's original, but may have been more widely read, appearing as it did in a major newspaper):
According to Raymond Calvel, one of France's more respected bread experts, the baguette came into being just before World War I, when the classic French loaf took two forms, the round miche, weighing about five pounds, and the pain long, an 8-inch by 30-inch loaf of the same weight. The bread's mie, or interior, was thick and heavy, the crust crisp and flavorful. Most consumers preferred the crust and so bakers accommodated them by making the bread thinner and thinner, to obtain a maximum crust, also reducing the volume of the loaf until they came up with what today is known as the traditional baguette, weighing 250 grams, or about 8 ounces.91
But the French love of crust goes back to at least the seventeenth century (as explained above by d'Aussy). The eighteenth century dictionary cited above concurs: “In general, the crust is preferred to the crumb of bread, today when the crumb is made too soft by yeast, which currently is overused.”92
The French delight in a well-baked crust can be deduced from a word long used to describe various mouth-watering items – be they the crackling on grilled pork, a tempting display of jewels, an attractive woman or a juicy bit of gossip. The word, croustillant, is derived from croûte (once crouste, hence the diacritical û.) The word very literally means “crusting” or “crusty” and has a distinct nuance of “crunchy” or “crackling”. (Among other things, this makes it hard to translate, since most other uses of the word retain this immediate, sensual nuance – not to mention the sound of the word. English speakers have only to speak the word “crusty” and then, phonetically, “croo-stee-yahn” to appreciate the lingering, savoring quality of the French term. For some uses, "toothsome" might come closer than "crusty" to the word's meaning.)
The French have loved a good crust for centuries and have done their best to produce it in many breads. Recall the 1863 definition above of a miche as a bread that is largely crust. Rivot's 1856 tests on the water content of different breads also looked at the percentage of crumb per weight and the ratio of crumb to crust for different breads:
Note the cudgel (here apparently the same as the jocko), in which the crust accounts for over half the weight for one size. Clearly the crust for nineteenth century breads represented a significant part of the bread. In 1870 Laporte wrote:
White bread, which today forms the basis of food in the comfortable classes, not only in cities but also in the smallest hamlets, is made with flours of pure wheat, hard, semi-hard or soft, called first or second class, mixed together to support a screening of twenty-five to thirty per cent. Loaves of two, four, six or eight pounds are sold, in varied forms, tart [sic], flute, etc., depending on whether one wants more or less crust or crumb. The general rule for four pound breads is, for 100 parts, 64 of crumb and 36 of crust.94
Fancy breads in particular were known to be crusty: “"One must have, for good bread, about 1/4 crust to 3/4 crumb. For luxury bread 1/3 crust to 2/3 crumb".95
Here is another study of crust to crumb from 1881:96
Note that the smaller jocko could be almost half crust. Note too none of these breads (by 1881) are over 1 meter; also that croissants – made with the finer gruau flour - came in two sizes.
Recall too Parmentier's 1778 complaint that long breads were becoming “only crust”.
Otherwise, it is difficult to make any decisive comparison with the baguette and earlier breads because neither the definitions provided earlier nor the more rigorous definition of the “baguette tradition” define the crumb-to-crust ratio.97 So the issue is at best dependent on impressionistic criteria.
Wells also presented one version of another common “origin” for the baguette.
Other historians suggest that the baguette evolved from the viennois, the Austrian loaf popular around the turn of the century. The loaf, still found in the majority of boulangeries in France, has the same slender form as the baguette, but is sweetened with sugar and softened with milk.98
Gilles Pudlowski (described by one site as “France’s most respected food critic”) offers a variant of this version:
The baguette was born when count Zang, great chamberlain of the Austrian court, acquired, in 1838, a boutique on the rue de Richelieu...He offered his Viennese bread there, composed of gruau [a particularly fine flour] and milk.
The current baguette appears around 1890. New ovens, use of direct yeast, design of slanted slits: 70 centimeters long and 6 wide, this lengthened bread weighs 300 grams.99
As usual, none of this is documented, but Zang's titles, of course, did not exist and the 1890 date seems very unlikely, given that the baguette is not mentioned as a bread until well into the twentieth century. As for the pain viennois, claims that it was the ancestor of the baguette seem to be based on two facts: it preceded the baguette (Zang introduced it in 1839) and it, today, has the same “slender form” as the baguette.
The big fly in this logical ointment is that it assumes the nineteenth century pain viennois was a long, slender loaf (as it is today). Zang introduced two Austrian specialties to France: the kipfel and the kaisersemmel. Worldwide, more people today know the descendant of the first: the croissant. But all through the nineteenth century, one finds far more references to the French version of the second; that is, the pain viennois.
What does a kaisersemmel look like? In a word, exactly like the American bread with the same name (translated into English): the kaiser roll.
Anyone who has had a deli sandwich on this less than refined roll might be surprised to know that the Austrian original was long considered the pinnacle of Austrian bread-stuffs:
This is one of the characteristic and best selling Vienna varieties of breadstuff. A perfect, fine Kaiser Semmel is really the pride of the Vienna baker. The moulding of these rolls is quite a knack, and out of a hundred bakers you may find ten who can mould a Kaiser Semmel properly. Of course in Vienna every baker must be proficient in making this particular roll. Before he can do this, he is not considered a good baker. In many bakeries, especially in this country, a cutter is now used which cuts the roll into the five parts, otherwise done by hand.100
Images of the nineteenth century pain viennois are lacking, but numerous sources refer to it as a “petit pain”, that is, a roll, not a “pain” (bread or loaf): "The petite [sic] pains Viennois sold at present are delicious"101..Even those which do not often make it clear in context that the term refers to a roll: “Viennese loaves - These rolls are prepared...”102''; "How good after it all... a fresh pain viennois and a luscious bowl at the Cafe Voltaire!"103
(It does not help matters that Anglophone writers of the period often refer to full-size French breads as "rolls" - a confusion which is generally avoided when the French term is "petit pain" instead of "pain".) Payen gives a slightly more precise description: “ These breads, elliptical, bear a longitudinal groove and transversal rays obtained by very light incisions in the dough.”104
An American source from 1884 is more ambivalent – the cuts on the top described here could be those on the classic Kaiser roll, or the grignes on a long bread:
French and Vienna bread if properly baked is the best in the world, on account of being made into narrow loaves, and quickly baked. In Paris they make loaves six feet long and only four inches in diameter, and free from contact with each other in the oven, which gives chance for rapid evaporation, making the bread sweet and palatable, so in Vienna bread made for sale never weighs over one and a half pounds-the loaves are cut a half dozen times across on top before being put into the oven, to give room for expansion caused by evaporation and are baked in the same way as French loaves.105
As late as 1907, the poet Apollinaire referred to “pains viennois, like pale oranges”. The same year, an ophthalmologist compared diplococci (pairs of small round bacteria) to pains viennois. suggesting a roll made with two halves which can be split. This shape is common enough and is seen in other rolls as well. But it is nothing like a baguette.
At the same time, the modern pain viennois seems to be composed of roughly the same ingredients as its nineteenth century ancestor. Aside from the care taken to make it and the superior flour used, one of the distinguishing characteristics of the roll was (despite a contrary and rather strange claim by Raymond Calvel) that it was made with milk : “Viennese loaves - These rolls are prepared with very white flour, replacing the water for kneading with a mix of 1 part milk and 4 of water.”106 Today's bread is made with milk powder, and includes sugar, but seems generally similar in make-up.
An American source again describes it as a roll:
Many caterers prefer to serve a small individual loaf or roll to each person. This is an old custom brought over from Europe, where it has been in use for many years. The largest of these loaves is made in the shape of the Vienna loaf, or French loaf, weighs about seven ounces in the dough. It is made just long enough to fit exactly the oval silver tray in which it is served. The smallest loaf or roll is not more than two inches long, and weighs not quite one-half ounce. 107
When did French bakers begin to shape it like today's baguette? Very probably, after the baguette itself became popular. Calvel offers one explanation:
The so-called Vienna breads and rolls that began to make an appearance toward the end of the 1940s partially replaced farine de gruau-based baguettes and rolls, since production of these latter products was essentially forbidden from August 1940 to September 1956.108
This seems a reasonable enough explanation. But since Vienna breads were themselves made with gruau flour (and long before most French breads), the question arises of why they would have been preferable in this case.
A number of Web sites - and a member of the Poilâne bread dynasty – take this a step further and say that the baguette was invented in Vienna.109 This is not impossible – Vienna has a fair claim to having been the European capital of bread-making and innovation – but seems at this point to be unsupported by any direct “geneaology”, even if modern French bread-making owes many debts to Viennese methods.
One – tantalizing – reference to a long Viennese bread occurs in the list given of 1897 breads, which includes “small Viennese jockos”. This seems to imply breads shaped like jockos – that is, long and narrow – but made with some milk in the dough (like pains viennois). These would indeed have resembled baguettes. But in this case the baguette would derive not from a pain viennois (made with some milk) which was made in the shape of a jocko but from the jocko itself – a reasonable, if very tentative, hypothesis.
In 1918, an American wrote: “Some bakers make the French breads out of the Vienna dough, only in the shape of the long narrow French loaves.”110 Even then – just before the probable appearance of the baguette – the difference was clear.
It is unlikely then that the baguette derived in any direct way from the pain viennois – not least because France itself already offered a variety of native long breads that might readily have been adapted into the modern bread.
On March 28, 1919, a law declared that bakers could no longer work between 10 in the evening and 4 in the morning.111 This was the culmination of decades of efforts by bakery workers and some politicians to end night shifts (one deputy called bakers “white miners”, suggesting the oppressive nature of their work). It was very soon followed on April 23 by the far more famous law which established the eight-hour day in France. The new law – which took effect on October 1920 – theoretically meant bakers could no longer work through the night, as they traditionally had, to be sure their clientèle had bread for breakfast.112 Various ploys were used to circumvent it however and apprentice bakers from that period spoke bitterly of the lack of enforcement (though others missed having their afternoons off).113 Still, it is credited with changes that led to the baguette.
An article from the Economist provides one account of this version:
The French word for baker is boulanger, he who makes boules, or round loaves, not a "baguettier" who makes sticks. In fact the baguette dates back to the 1920s, and its progress has done to traditional French baking what the white sliced has done to the British loaf.
Changing technology was partly responsible for the baguette's introduction. By the 1920s most French bakeries were equipped with the steam ovens needed to caramelize the starch on the surface of the loaf to give it a golden, slightly translucent crust. History also played a part. The first world war created a shortage of manpower and traditional loaves prepared from a sourdough became too labour-intensive for many bakers. But the coup de grâce was legal. In October 1920 a new law came into force that prevented bakers from working before 4 am, which meant that they did not have time to bake a fresh boule for the breakfast table. They thus turned to the rapidly prepared baguette.
The baguette was a wow. Bakers liked it because it was convenient to make and stayed fresh for only a few hours. Hence customers visited bakeries two or three times a day. Consumers liked the baguette because it is whiter and sweeter than sourdough breads.114
This change was not unexpected. In 1910, the then-proposed law was criticized precisely because of the changes it would require:
This project is contrary to progress and civilization; it will profoundly trouble the public's habits and condemn it to either stale bread or warm, that is, indigestible, bread; it will wipe out the considerable efforts made by millers and bakers to provide consumers with a finer and finer product.
In effect, to provide to Parisian customers the great variety of breads they demand starting in the morning, four or five batches must be made, which takes all night; if the work begins at 5 in the morning, the first batch will not be cooked until 8:30 or 9 o'clock, and as these are generally large breads of 2 kilos, slow to cool, and which are only edible 6 hours after coming out of the oven, the public will not even have fresh bread at noon; or else it must consume fancy bread, which cools faster, but costs more; and then with a limited selection.
As for morning rolls, croissants and others, so appreciated by so many middle and even working class people; as they are generally eaten before 8 o'clock, and so must be delivered before 8 o'clock, which will be impossible, they will no longer be made.115
As with so many screeds against proposed laws, this statement exaggerates more than a little (the croissant is still with us), but accurately foresees the need for a bread that will be cooked more quickly.
The Economist's article (no doubt based on some unnamed source) unfortunately includes some obvious inaccuracies, including the idea that the baguette was responsible for the displacement of round breads, when in fact it followed a century of jockos, wineseller's breads, etc. Brewer's yeast was used in a variety of fancy breads in the nineteenth century, so there was nothing inherently new about breads that were "whiter and sweeter than sourdough breads."
Just after the war, the biggest change would not have been the non-innovation of using brewer's yeast in bread, but the return to any white bread. In France this had long replaced dark bread, and debates on the subject of white bread displacing dark appeared all through the nineteenth century (sometimes concluding, rather stubbornly, that white bread was every bit as healthy as the darker – and more nutritious – bread it had replaced)116. As far back as 1783 Legrand D'Aussy said that dark bread was no longer used, adding (perhaps optimistically) that “The management of this great city is so admirable that the lowest ranks of people eat white bread there.”117. This change however was reversed during the war and what may be being misread here is that the French, having been forced to revert to dark bread, welcomed the return of white bread of any sort.
This was not the first time the French had had to suffer what they considered a major deprivation:
Of all the privations endured during the memorable siege of Paris in 1870, the absence of white bread was the most keenly felt, and the recollection of this hardship is to this day the most vivid in the memory of the sufferers, who never fail to allude to the abominable quality of bread they had then to use, pointing to this sacrifice as an evidence of their patriotism.118
War or no war, the French had not been happy about it this time either:
A journalist actually protests in print against
the big loaves of coarse bread, long as half a stick of
cord-wood and almost as hard—remember the almost
carnivorous joy with which a Frenchman devours bread!--to
which the military government, at the beginning of the war,
In her novel One of Ours, whose hero goes to France to fight, Willa Cather speaks of “the black war bread”120. A French speaker in 1918 mentioned "This black bread which we have known, full of bran and impurities and whose nutritional properties official hygienists praised to us!"121
In July 1920, the Figaro announced with almost palpable relief: “We are then finally going to see again on our tables good white bread, made with good wheat flour, and which we have awaited for so long.”122 And so the baguette (and any other white bread) certainly would have been welcomed, but only as a return to a long-standing status quo.
Was it a “wow” and did it have any impact on traditional French baking? If so, the event seems to have gone unremarked in the popular press of the time (Le Figaro, La Presse, etc.) Yet as the quote above shows, bread was certainly an object of comment. Among other things, in 1926 the Figaro noted claims that the French now ate less bread: “No doubt a legend born yesterday claims that the 'middle Frenchman' is bit by bit losing the taste for bread... and eats more and more meat.”123 Readers unfamiliar with history may not appreciate how very central bread was to the diets of earlier generations, for whom meat was often a great luxury. The change in this as living standards improved may be one reason that the larger breads of the nineteenth century became rarer. But, as the paper noted the year before that, the reduction in consumption was accompanied by a refinement of taste:
It is certain that each increase in price corresponds to a decline in the sale of so-called luxury bread, but this decline does not last, at least not entirely, many customers return after several days to the croustillante baguette, ready to abandon it again, temporarily, at the first warning sign. One becomes accustomed to everything, even high prices.
It must not be thought, further, that popular quarters here show the road to savings. It is rather the contrary, the consumption of luxury bread declines as fast, if not faster, in the rich quarters. Economy is a bourgeois virtue. 124
Aside from the now-familiar (and here literal) description of the bread as “croustillante”, the passage also shows that at the time it was still technically a luxury item.
As it happens, the Figaro's first mention of the baguette came before the law took effect (in October 1920). On August 4th of that year, the bakers struck – quite strangely – for the very protection the law was about to grant them anyway – against having to work at night. The Figaro had several ironic remarks to make about this (predicting among other things, and not entirely in error, that some workers would miss having their afternoons off). In passing, the writer said “We can no longer envy the fate of workers who, in going to work at six o'clock, could treat themselves in leaving to these exquisite 'baguettes'”. (Note that the word, though used without comment, was still in quotes.)125 This seems to disprove any direct connection with the law, though it is always possible that bakers began to make the new bread knowing that it would soon be required.
Those who are paying very careful attention will also notice that the Figaro, just weeks before, had announced that France was again getting white bread. The baguette was unlikely to have been invented in the preceding years – if in fact it was invented at all – because of wartime restrictions. Did its appearance have as much to do with the return to white bread as with the new law?
The best one can say is that this is a puzzle with a number of missing pieces. There is also one tantalizing reference by a former apprentice to baguettes being made around 1915 or 1916: “I guarantee you, 150 quintals in baguettes and bâtards, that takes some work!”126 Unfortunately, the speaker, interviewed decades later, might well have used a stock phrase, without too much concern for specific chronology. Absent confirmation by others, it is a thin thread to follow. In fact, another interviewee in the same series says that ten years later few baguettes were being made in another town in Burgundy (where both were from).
Calvel offers a related, if curious, account of this version which does not mention the law in question:
The baguette has become a rather hackneyed symbol of French life, but it does not have a long history. Following the first World War, the technology was at last in place to produce light and delicately flavored loaves with a crispy crust. Mixing machines, stronger flours, yeast-based recipes, steam injection ovens, etc., all contributed to this. Consumer appreciation of the thinner, more delicate crust led to the introduction of longer loaves, with a higher crust to crumb ratio. Their higher price and the fact that they were bought and eaten on the same day caused them to be called pains de fantaisie, the word fantaisie meaning both extravagance and whimsy. By contrast, traditional sourdough or levain de pate loaves kept for many days, and frugal housewives never served them fresh.127
The reference to pains de fantaisie, which have existed since the eighteenth century, defining them as a bread that must be eaten the same day (a noteworthy, but hardly defining, characteristic) is idiosyncratic, to say the least. Again, the implication that the baguette was responsible for replacing sourdough loaves ignores a long history of the French (or at least the Parisians) eating white bread made with “sweet” or “soft” dough, with yeast added128. As for the length of the loaves, if anything, they seem to have gotten shorter.
Nonetheless, the 1920 version, in the main, seems the most accurate of those offered. The most substantial proof of this is that the baguette was not mentioned as a bread (with a few very ambivalent, even eccentric, exceptions) until after 1919. But by 1922, it was not only mentioned in a French periodical (“baguette, 300 grams, 0 fr 55”) - but in an American magazine ("Larger than the French roll of bread called baguette, and almost as crusty").129 For it to have been casually mentioned in the latter, it had very probably existed for some time before.
Even then, the meaning of baguette as a bread did not make its way into dictionaries for some time. That meaning is not found in a dictionary from 1926 nor does the Academie Francaise's 8th edition from 1932-5 mention the baguette as a bread.130 This is further evidence that the baguette, under that name at least, is very much a twentieth century innovation – though it must be said that dictionaries are often undependable on the subject of bread (many of the breads mentioned earlier cannot be found in period dictionaries).
This version is not necessarily incompatible with the pain viennois version, even if it requires some speculation to relate the two. Presumably if the bakers did indeed suddenly find themselves required to keep shorter hours and so to find a bread they could make in that time, they did not suddenly invent a whole new bread, but instead adapted an existing one. Likely candidates would have included the short jocko or the jocko viennois (that is, for the latter, a bread made with some milk, finer flour and a steam glaze, but in the shape of a small jocko). It might indeed have been simplest to take the Viennese version of the jocko and simply make it with the standard bread dough. But would this not in effect have been a short jocko – which already existed?
Various writers refer, more or less generally, to the various innovations which had became commonplace in France by the twentieth century. Calvel above speaks of “Mixing machines, stronger flours, yeast-based recipes, steam injection ovens, etc....” Some of these (like brewer's yeast) had existed since the eighteenth century; others (notably the steam oven) were brought from Vienna by August Zang in 1839. Isabelle Bertaux-Wiame, in her master's thesis on bakers' apprentices, refers to the use of increasing amounts of yeast to speed the rising of the dough and says: “The result is today's baguette.”131
These and other explanations have in common the fact that they describe an evolution, rather than a punctual moment of invention. Since even the latter would have required some infrastructure to be practicable, even an inciting event like a change in the law would have profited from an evolution that already had occurred. So these explanations are very likely valid, as far as they go. But the use of the word “baguette” to refer to a bread does appear to have begun just after 1920, so that one is still left to discover the specific event that gave birth to that word.
A review of the breads which preceded the baguette suggests at least two candidates for a bread which might not only have inspired the baguette, but might in fact have been the baguette under another name. These suggestions are necessarily tentative, not least because neither the early baguette nor these breads are precisely defined. Nor does it help that the word “baguette” is suddenly used for a bread with no explanation of how or why.
It is important to note that it is not uncommon to use alternate terms for the same bread more than once, without any explanation in dictionaries or other texts. The “pain roulé” noted earlier is one extreme example. And so the specific bread called a “pain de fantaisie” is referenced quite casually into the twentieth century, even as the generic term continues to be used. Sometimes writers refer to it in much the same way as one might refer to a baguette, as a bread one picks up on the way home or uses for a sandwich: “We're going to have ourselves a meal fit for a king: flat sausages on some pain de fantaisie, washed down with a pint of red, and then, if we have two sous left, we'll have two mokas.”132 A 1928 German dictionary also quotes the 1907 Larousse as defining a pain de fantaisie as “a bread made with the finest quality of flour and shaped in a baguette” (that is, wand or stick).133 This quote, if accurate, certainly seems to indicate that the specific bread called a pain de fantaisie was associated with the idea of a baguette, which in turn would make it reasonable for the latter to have become its nickname.
Then there is the flute.
Recall the 1899 reference to “the golden crust of the flûtes.” (Very similar references have been made to the baguette.) Were these already full-size breads, rather than rolls?
This form of bread was still sometimes referred to explicitly as a pain de fantaisie, as when a baker in the Maine-et-Loire was cited in 1919 for selling “pains de fantaisie called flutes weighing less than 500 grams and still hot.”135 (Presumably these were made with whole wheat, which was all that was allowed under the 1919 law.) A definition of pains de fantaisie from 1926 from Algeria (then under French law) gives the crown and the flute as examples, but does not mention the baguette, which had already become common by then.136 Had the baguette not yet made it over from Paris, or was the flute considered equivalent? A man who, born in 1916, became a baker's apprentice at 12, that is, around 1928, spoke of making “three pound breads, long, split, and the flutes, you know, baguettes, which weighed maybe a pound, 400 grams.”137 This seems to indicate that he considered flutes and baguettes to effectively be synonymous.
While all this is very tentative evidence, it at least raises the possibility that the pain de fantaisie or the flute (or both, if in fact these are alternate names for the same thing) either became the baguette or was simply nicknamed that before the baguette became a separate bread. For now, the lack of clear definitions of any of these makes it impossible to do more than suggest the possibility.
The most compelling evidence suggests that the word “baguette” was first widely applied to a bread in 1920 or very soon after. This still leaves unresolved several questions: Did the baguette in fact evolve from one of the earlier long breads or was it devised specifically to respond to the new law? Who gave it that name, which, if it appeared all at once after the new law, seems likely to have been the result of a decision rather than a slow evolution? Why, if an entire new “species” of bread appeared all at once, did the event go unmentioned in the popular press?
It seems unlikely that the bread was invented out of whole cloth. While the version tracing it to the pain viennois (though in its jocko form) is not entirely impossible, a simpler and more direct hypothesis is simply that the bread evolved from the jocko itself; or, more simply yet, that it originally was a short jocko, as suggested by the 1938 Larousse Gastronomique's picture. (The same picture shows two baguettes, but with qualifiers: an “English baguette” and a “Baguette gruau”; these do look like the baguettes found in French bakeries, but both are noticeably thinner than many breads described today - perhaps inaccurately - as "baguettes".) Another possibility is that the flute, originally short and very thin, evolved into the bread it so closely resembles today, or that the pain de fantaisie bread (which may or may not have been a flute) was simply nicknamed and then simply named... baguette.
Here is one extremely hypothetical scenario:
Long (but not narrow breads) first appeared at the end of the seventeenth century. Through the eighteenth century these began to largely displace the traditional boule even as many also grew longer and more narrow, suggesting, to some at least, flutes. At first, this may simply have been a way to describe the then-new long thin breads, but soon this term specifically referred to a long thin roll made mainly of crust. Why at first a roll and not a full-size bread? Probably because it was used with soups (the French then ate a lot of them) and the smaller size was more convenient. But as these became popular, over time some were made longer, so that the early twentieth century flute was already a full-length bread, if still narrow and made mainly of crust. By then too it was probably also made with the same Viennese techniques (Hungarian wheat, steam oven, etc.) which were used for other fine breads.
About this time too, the long narrow shape was nicknamed for its resemblance to a magician's wand or a conductor's baton – both known by the French word “baguette”. In the early twenties, this word, for whatever reason, began to be more widely used, even if the word “flute” continued to appear. At some point, though it might have been much later, the baguette and the flute became two separate (if very similar) types of bread; this may have occurred quite simply because bakers who preferred one or the other term found themselves working together and each made the bread in their way. It is certain that the flute “put on weight” - long before the modern baguette-like flute, it was already documented as a much heavier bread. The baguette, whether while it was still synonymous with the flute or later, probably did as well. Certainly, neither today resembles the object suggested by its name, beyond being long and relatively thin.
The gist of this version (which is frankly guesswork, though inspired by scattered facts) is that the baguette would have evolved directly from the first long thin breads made in the eighteenth century, changing its size and name as it did, and adopting to new methods of preparation, but without ever quite being invented per se.
This and the other suggestions above are all only hypotheses; the best that can be said about the physical baguette's history is that many pieces are still missing. (The histories of the flute, the jocko and the related, more recent, bâtard and ficelle are even more elusive.) All of this too is much complicated by the simple fact that no clear definition differentiates the baguette as it first appeared either from the breads that came before it nor, for that matter, from the breads of the same name that followed it.
Otherwise, there is the abstract baguette, that is, the baguette so often said to be a symbol of France. Did that caricatural association (joined at some point by a Basque beret) actually begin with the baguette itself, or is today's symbolic baguette merely the heir to an association that began with the long “sticks” of the nineteenth century? The answer to that question, should it ever be found, will lie in American and British, rather than French, sources. For now, it must be left in the mists of unexamined History.
- Ω -
This document is
part of the
Why an American recipe? Because a nineteenth century American homemaker was far more likely to make bread than someone in France, where most bread by far was made by bakers. This recipe probably is no closer than most American recipes for French bread to the real thing, but no less close either. If, however, the reader wants to produce one of the giant breads discussed above, it will help to make friends with a local pizza parlor (after of course adjusting the quantities).
Query 277.— Mrs. J. F. P., Portland, Me.: ''Can you give recipe and directions for baking the French bread served in hotels?"
We do not think it possible to shape or bake an exact copy of the French loaves (Jockos) with home appliances. The process follows: The dough is an ordinary bread dough made with water and potato yeast. Pull and beat (rather than knead) a long time. When light shape in balls weighing one pound and a half each, flatten these to a third of their thickness, and range, two inches apart, on a board dusted with flour; sprinkle with flour and cover hermetically. In about twenty minutes roll and pull again into cylindrical shape, twenty-two inches long, lay on a bed of Indian meal, and leave until a little meal adheres to the bottom of the dough. Place in a box, or tin, a long strip of coarse cloth at least twenty- two inches wide; let the right side rise up two inches against the side of the box, put in a loaf against the cloth (meal side down), raise the cloth on the left side so as to form it into a fold parallel to the dough, thus keeping it from flattening out; put in another loaf on the linen and against the fold, bring up the linen in a second fold, and so continue. When the dough has doubled in bulk, insert at one side of the first loaf a cloth-covered board shaped for the purpose, and, taking hold of the fold, roll out the loaves one at a time. Bake fifteen minutes on the floor of the oven.
The Boston Cooking-School magazine of culinary science and domestic economics, Volume 4 1899
Minor changes to version 2:
1“Dans le monde, la baguette est un des symboles typiques de la France et plus particulièrement de Paris. “ http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baguette_(pain) (accessed June 12, 2009)
2http://www.cnrtl.fr/definition/baguette (accessed June 13, 2009)
3http://atilf.atilf.fr/dendien/scripts/generic/cherche.exe?22;s=1119684090; (accessed June 13, 2009)
4http://www.boulangerie.org/journal/cont_articles.php?id_page=4662 (accessed June 25, 2009)
5http://www.espace-pain-info.com/fiches/fiche_public.php?index=55# (accessed June 24, 2009).
6http://www.granddictionnaire.com/BTML/FRA/r_Motclef/index800_1.asp (accessed June 13, 2009)
7Steven L. Kaplan, The Bakers of Paris and the Bread Question 1700-1775. (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1996). 6-7.
8Patricia Wells, “Fare of the Country, Vive la Baguette: As French As Paris”, New York Times, October 9, 1983
9http://www.espace-pain-info.com/fiches/fiche_public.php?index=63 (accessed June 25, 2009)
10www.chiourim.com/transfert/LEGISLATION_FARINE_PAIN.pdf (accessed June 13, 2009)
11http://www.observatoiredupain.fr/Default.asp?IDR=110985 (accessed July 4, 2009)
12http://atilf.atilf.fr/dendien/scripts/tlfiv5/advanced.exe?8;s=718658085; (accessed June 13, 2009)
13John Ayto, The glutton's glossary (Routledge, 1990) p. 115.
14Clarissa Trant, "After Elba: Journal of an Irish Girl on the Continent" The Fortnightly August 1, 1921 (London:Chapman and Hall, 1921) CXVI:249.
15"Avec deux grisses de cet excellent pain de Piémont que j'aime plus qu'aucun autre" Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Les confessions (Paris:C. Gosselin, 1822) I:145
16Casimiro Zalli, Dizionario piemontese, italiano, latino e francese, 2nd ed (Caramagnola:Pietro Barbie:1830) I:393.
17Francesco Cherubini, Vocabulario Milanese-Italiano (Milan: Imperial Printer, 1840) II:261
18http://about-france.com/french-bread.htm (accessed June 30, 2009).
19Pierre Jean-Baptiste Legrand d’Aussy, Histoire de la vie privée des Français depuis l’origine de la nation jusqu’à nos jours (Paris, Pierres, 1783) I:74
élargissement normalisant par le suff. -ier* de l'a.
pic. boulenc « celui qui fabrique des pains ronds »
21J. E. Bertrand, Descriptions des Arts et Métiers (Neuchatel:Société Typographique printer, 1771) I:vi, vii.
22Vte Georges d'Avenel, Le Nivellement des Jouissances (Paris: Ernest Flammarion, 1913) 28-29.
23http://www.cannelle.com/CULTURE/histoireboul/histoire3.shtml (accessed June 24, 2009).
24http://www.iboulangerie.com/Termes/coup_de_lame.html (accessed June 29, 2009).
25Jean Augustin Barral, Dictionnaire d'agriculture, encyclopédie agricole complète (Paris:Hachette, 1892) 24; A. Baudrimont Dictionnaire de l'industrie manufacturière, commerciale et agricole, (Paris:Baillière,1839) 277.
26Vinçard, Les ouvriers de Paris: Alimentation, (Paris:Gosselin, 1863) 37
27Tillet, "Expériences et Observations sur le Poids du Pain au Sortir du Four", Journal de physique, de chimie, d'histoire naturelle et des arts (January, 1782) XIX.
28Peter Reinhart, Ron Manvill, The bread baker's apprentice (Ten Speed Press, 2001) 8.
29“a long and thin roll”;J.C. Tarver, Dictionnaire Phraséologique Royal; anglais-français, français-anglais (London:Dulau & Co, 1858) II:371. As it happens, the word in French also refers to a type of barge, which, like the bread, was originally very narrow but now is much wider; http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fl%C3%BBte_%28bateau%29 (accessed September 27, 2009).
30"Aprons in Paris", The Deseret Weekly (Salt Lake City:The Deseret News, 1890) 663.
31Antoine Augustin Parmentier, Le parfait boulanger; ou, Traité complet sur la fabrication & le commerce du pain.(Paris: l’imprimérie Royale, 1778) 436.
32"Petite Revue Gourmande", Almanach des Gourmands, 5th year (Paris:Maradan, 1807)
33Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, Physiologie du goût, ou méditations de gastronomie transcendante (Paris: Charpentier, 1838) 263.
34Pigault-Lebrun, L'homme a projets, Vol 1 (Bruselles: Ferra aîné, 1819) p 145-146
35Henry Chastrey, "Pain Blanc et Pain Complete", Le Magasin Pittoresque 67, (1899):256.
36Abraham Du Pradel (N. de Blégny), Le livre commode des adresses de Paris pour 1692 , ed Édouard Fournier (Paris: P. Daffis , 1878), I:307n.
37Levina Buoncuore Urbino, An American Woman in Europe (Boston:Lee and Shepard, 1869) p. 153.
38"From London to Paris", Supplement to the Courant, Vol XXXII, No I (January 12, 1867) p.45.
39Charles Alfred Hooper, "Cabinet Making", Artisans' Reports on the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1867, (london:W. Trounce, 1867) P. 2.
40C. W. Schlump. A Practical Guide for the Cake and Bread Baker (Best & Co. Printers, 1884) p. 21.
41Louis C. Elson, European Reminiscences of a Musician's Vacation Abroad, Musical and Otherwise (Philadelphia: Theo. Presser, 1891, 1896) 186.
42Thomas Stevens, “Around the World on a Bicycle”, Outing, Vol VII, No 1 (October, 1885) p. 43.
43Jessup Whitehead, The Steward's Handbook and Guide to Party Catering (Chicago: Jessup Whitehead & Co,: 1903) 320.
44Charles Dickens, “Herr Crambo”, All the Year Round, no 649 (May 7, 1881) 136
45Lucia L. Marvin, "Housekeeping in Paris", Good Housekeeping Vol XXVII, no 23 (July 1898) p. 49.
46E. Rouher, "Commerce de la Boulangerie”Journal des Commissaires de Police, 9th year (Paris:Paul Dupont, 1863) 172.
47A. Fayeux, “Un Nouveau Livre de Métiers”, La Science sociale suivant la méthode de F. Le Play, 2nd year (Paris:Firman-Didot. 1887) IV:536, 540.
48Gualtier de Claubry, “Confection de Pain”, Académie nationale de médecine, Bulletin de l'Académie nationale de médecine (Paris: J. P. Baillière and son, 1870) XXXV:771, 773-774.
49Armengaud pere, Publication industrielle des machines, outils et appareils v. 27, 2nd series (Paris:Librairie Téchnologique Armengaud Ainé, 1881) VII:471.
50Alfred Legoyt, La France et l'étranger : études de statistique comparée (Paris:Vve Berger-Levrault et fils, 1864-1870) I:5.
51“Par pain de fenestre il faut entendre tout pain de fantaisie, au lait, au beurre, les petits pains de Gonesse dont le Parisien du moyen âge était trcs friand, et qu'exposait à sa fenêtre le boulanger comme enseigne et appât, par opposition au pain commun ou de ménage.“, Estienne Cholet, Remarques singulières de Paris  (Paris:A Quantin, 1881) 26,
53Legrand D'Aussy, I:89.
54Alexandre Bixio, Charles Bailly, M. Malpeyre, Maison rustique du xixe siècle (Paris:Librairie Agricole, 1849) III:434-435
55Prosecutor of the Republic, quoted in "La Question de Pain", Le Progrès (Mascara) 15th year, No 1189, May 8, 1909.
56Dictionnaire encyclopédique des sciences médicales. Deuxième série, L-P. OVA-PAL (Paris:1874) XIX:663-664.
57Armengaud pere, VII:475-476
59Augustus Kinsley Gardner, The French Metropolis: Paris; as seen during the spare hours of a medical student, 2nd ed. (New York: C. S. Francis & Co: 1850) 151-152.
60Laurianne Barbier, “L'Heureux Temps “du “Bon Pain”, masters of history at the Sorbonne, Université Paris University 4, 1996 file:///C:/Users/writer/Documents/acrobat%20downloads/baguettes/heureuxtempsbonpain.htm (accessed June 2009)
61For the use of white flour, see “La question du pain complet”, Revue générale de clinique et de therapeutique: journal des praticiens , 1896, X:105-107; mentioned by name in Ingénieurs des Mines, Annales des Mines ou Recueil de Mémoires sur L'Exploitation des Mines, 5th series (Paris:Victor Dalmont:1856) X:506.
62Rivot, “Note Sure l'Examen des Farines et des Pains”, Annales de Chimie et de Physique, 3rd series, 1856, XLVII:91.
63“1865 arg. pain jocko (Larch., p. 178 : « Des gens qui appellent un pain jocko un singe de quatre livres » Bourget); 1865 jocko (ibid.). Empr. à une lang. du Gabon ou du Congo : nshiego, ncheko « chimpanzé » (NED; König, p. 119; FEW t. 20, p. 88b). Attesté sous la forme Engeco dans un texte angl. de 1625 (Battel, Angola in Pinkerton's Voy. XVI, 332 ds NED), source de Buffon. Au sens 2 a et b, à la suite de la vogue que connut à Paris en 1825 une pièce de Rochefort et Gabriel : Jocko ou le Singe du Brésil (inspirée d'une histoire de Ch. Pougens : Jocko, épisode détaché des lettres inédites sur l'instinct des animaux, 1824) où un acteur, Mazurier, vêtu d'une peau de singe, jouait le rôle de Jocko (v. Lar. 19e). /CNRTL-jocko.htm”, http://atilf.atilf.fr/dendien/scripts/tlfiv5/advanced.exe?8;s=66891855 (accessed June 19, 2998); Pradel, I:307n
64“Query 277”, The Boston Cooking-School Magazine, Vol IV, No.1, June and July 1899; Paul Richards, Paul Richards' book of breads, cakes, pastries, ices and sweetmeats (Chicago: the Hotel Monthly, 1907) 103
65“Ville de Bougie – Arrêté”, L'Echo de Bougie, November 16, 1930.
66Vaury, Le guide du boulanger, (1834), quoted in J. Fontenelle and F. Malepeyre, Manuels-Roret: Nouveau manuel complet du boulanger (Paris:Encyclopédie Roret:1871) 202.
67Dictionnaire de la Conversation, 2nd ed., ed. M. W. Duckett (Paris:Comptoirs de la Direction, 1857) XIV:99.
68A law from 1918 refers to a fancy bread called “long rolled bread” (pain long roulé). This term is extremely rare; yet, to be addressed in a law, it must have been readily understood at the time. Today a “rolled” bread would typically be made of a strip of dough rolled up like a tape measure, perhaps with a filling. But, like the equally undefined term “corkscrew”, the reference here is apparently to a long bread and probably (this is pure speculation) refers to the impression given by the slanted grignes of something being wound or rolled up (or the threads on a corkscrew). An extremely rare reference elsewhere seems to confirm the association: “In Paris, at present, one sees, in the bakeries, far less round breads than ficelles, flûtes, baguettes, everything called rolled bread...”; “Quant a la forme, il ne suffit pas de constater qu'a Paris, actuellement, on voit, dans les boulangeries, bien moins de boules, que de ficelles, flûtes, baguettes, tout ce qu'on appelle du pain roulé, ni même que du pain en forme de couronne existait en France vers 1400, lorsqu'il s'agit du Ve a Rome”. Sociétè belge d'Études byzantines, Byzantion, Vol 31 (Fondation Byzantine, 1961) 455;“2° Pain vendu à la pièce Pain roulé, dit « Matraque », d'un poids de 750 grammes; 50 fr. la pièce. Pain dit de « fantaisie », rond ou long”; Bulletin économique et social de la Tunisie, Vol 60-65 (1952) 11.
69“La forme de vente la plus courante est le « rondin », pain roulé et court qui rappelle le «tire-bouchon ou Joko »”; Fernand David, Henry François Dupont, Joseph Pérard, Rapports sur les questions mises à l'ordre du jour par la Commission Vols 1-2 (Association des chimistes de sucrerie et de distillerie, 1934).
70M. Balland, "Sur le nouveau pain de guerre”, Journal de pharmacie et de chimie, 6th series, Vol.5 (Paris: Société de pharmacie de Paris, 1897) V:99; “PAIN DE FANTAISIE (Flûte). Pain long, sans fente, de 1 kilogramme, obtenu avec un mélange de levain et de levure, cette dernière en plus forte proportion”; “Analyses de pains de différentes provenances”, Service de l'intendance militaire, Revue du Service de l'intendance militaire, Vol 9 (Paris: Charles-Lavauzelle,1896) IX:662.
71Balland, “Analyses de Pains”, Revue de Service de L'Intendance (Paris:Charles-Lavauzelle, 1896) IX:662.
72I.A., “Economie Sociale”, Bibliothèque illustrée des classes ouvrières et des Conférences de Saint-Francois-Xavier, ed Theodore Nisard (Paris:Paul Mellier, 1845) 457-458
73Annales des Mines ou Recueil de Mémoires sur L'Exploitation des Mines, X:506.
74M.A. Mazure, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue française usuelle et littéraire (Paris:Eugène Belin:1863) 250.
75G. Husson (de Toul), Histoire du pain à toutes les époques et chez tous les peuples (Tours:Alfred Cattier:1887) 192.
76Francisque Mège , Souvenirs de la langue d'Auvergne: essai sur les idiotismes du département du Puy-de-Dom̂e ( Paris: A. Aubry, 1861) 469.
77Letreux, "Boulangers: mise en vente - poids", Journal des Commissaires de Police, 12th year (Paris:Paul Dupont, 1866) 165.
79“Bread for Parisian Poor”, The New York Times, November 10, 1884
81"Aprons in Paris", The Deseret Weekly (Salt Lake City:The Deseret News, 1890) 663.
82Bernard Clayton, Jr, The Breads of France: And How to Bake Them in Your Own Kitchen. (Ten Speed Press, 2002) 103.
83Xavier de Montepin, La Porteuse de Pain (Paris:Geffory, 1903-05) 376.
84"Exposition Universelle de 1900:Produits de la Boulangerie et de la Patisserie", Touring-Club de France, Rapports du Jury INternational: Groupe X - Aliments (Paris:Imprimerie nationale, 1902) 272.
85A navette was a small milk bread (Pierre Delacrétaz, Les vieux fours à pain: Construire son four, faire son pain (Editions Cabedita, 1993) 16.) The “bonaparte” is rarely mentioned, but may have been what a modern site calles a “napoleon” and describes as a crusty breakfast loaf. http://justfoodnow.wordpress.com/2008/09/22/bread-france-the-baguette/ (accessed July 4, 2009)
86“Le Prix du Pain” La Presse September 3, 1897
87Emil Braun, The baker's book: a practical hand book of the baking industry in all countries (New York:E. Braun, 1902) II:321, 338.
88Emil Braun, The Baker's Book: a practical hand book of the baking industry in all countries, trans., the author (New York: the author, 1902), II:321;.Prosper Montagne, Larousse Gstronomique (Paris:Larousse, 1838), 768.
89One example – for those interested – is "La vision de la France à l'étranger à travers la baguette de pain"
Relations internationales ISSN 0335-2013 2000, no101, pp. 107-116.
90http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baguette_(pain) (accessed June 27, 2009)
91Wells, October 9, 1983.
92J.E. Bertrand. I:392.
93Annales des Mines ou Recueil de Mémoires sur L'Exploitation des Mines, X:506.
94J.P.A. de la Porte, Hygiène de La Table (Paris:F. Savy, 1870) 219.
95Armand Gautier, L'Alimentation et les Régimes Chez l'Homme Sain et Malade, 3rd ed (Paris:Masson et cie:1908), 301n.
97N° 10 du 12 octobre 2000 “Avis de mise en consultation d’un cahier des charges de label rouge pour de la baguette de pain de tradition française “. http://www10.finances.gouv.fr/fonds_documentaire/dgccrf/boccrf/00_10/a0100050.htm (accessed June 28, 2009)
98Wells, October 9, 1983.
99“Les bons plans de Gilles Pudlowski: La baguette parisienne” (published 03/12/2009 in Le Point N°1904)
http://www.lepoint.fr/tendances-gastronomie/2009-03-12/produit-la-baguette-parisienne/1559/0/325080 (June 15, 2009)
100Emil Braun, The baker's book: a practical hand book of the baking industry in all countries (New York:E. Braun, 1902) II:335.
101Impressions and Observations of a Young Person During a Residence in Paris, 2nd edition, quoted in "Notices of New Works", The Metropolitan, August, 1844.
102A. Payen, Précis de chimie industrielle (Paris:Hachette, 1867) II:209.
103Caius, "Notes by the Road", The American Whig Review, October 1846.
105C. W. Schlumpf, A Practical Guide for the Cake and Bread Baker (Pittsburgh:Best & Company, 1884) 21.
107Paul Richards, Paul Richards' book of breads, cakes, pastries, ices and sweetmeats, 2nd ed. (Chicago:The Hotel Monthly, 1907) 112.
108Raymond Calvel, Ronald L. Wirtz, James J. MacGuire, The Taste of Bread: A Translation of Le Goût Du Pain, Comment Le Préserver, Comment Le Retrouver, Ed.James J. MacGuire, Tr. Ronald L. Wirtz (Springer, 2001) 116.
109“Baguette is a foreign pain, says queen of French bread“, the Times, June 25, 2007. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article1980288.ece (accessed July 4, 2009)
111B. No 246 (p.769) - No 13950 "Loi tendant à la suppression du travail de nuit dans les boulangeries" Du 28 Mars 1919 "Il est interdit d'employer des ouvriers à la fabrication du pain et de la pâtisserie entre dix heures du soir et quatre heures du matin."Bulletin des Lois de la République Française - Nouvelle Série -- Année 1919 T.XI:241-264.; for comments on it, see Isabelle Bertaux-Wiame, "L'Apprentissage en Boulangerie dans les Annees '20 et '30: Une Enquete d' "Histoire Orale"" (Master's thesis, Universite de Paris VII), February 1978 II:12-13. This thesis includes extensive quotes from interviews with former apprentices and, for readers of French, is well worth consulting for details on both life in small bakeries and early twentieth century working class life in general.
112“Ce n'est que le 28 mars 1919 qu'une loi fut votée imposant la suppression du travail de nuit dans la boulangerie. Elle entra en application le 1er octobre 1920. “ Laurent Barbier, “L' "HEUREUX TEMPS" DU "BON PAIN" “ file:///C:/Users/writer/Documents/acrobat%20downloads/baguettes/heureuxtempsbonpain.htm (accessed
114"French bread abroad. Sold with an American accent," The Economist, U.S. Edition (September 27, 1997):97.
115“Le travail de nuit dans les boulangeries”, Société internationale de science sociale, La Réforme sociale, 6th series, Vol. IX. 30th year, January-June 1910, IX:368.
116Henry Chastrey, "Pain Blanc et Pain Complete", Le Magasin Pittoresque 67, (1899):256; Émile Saillard, Jean Béziat, Technologie agricole: sucrerie, meunerie, boulangerie, féculerie, amidonnerie, glucoserie (Paris:J. B. Baillière et fils, 1904) 352;
117Legrand D'Aussy, I:81.
118Special Consular Reports: Extension of Markets for American Flour (Washington:Government Printing Office, 1897) X (part 2):206
119Arthur Ruhl. Antwerp to Gallipoli: a year of war on many fronts - and behind them (Scribner, 1916).
120Willa Cather, One of ours (New York:Alfred.A. Knopf, 1922) 386.
121Le Peytre, "L'Interventionnisme Actuel" Bulletin de la Société d'Economie Politique 1918 (5 janvier 1918).
122"Notre pain de demain", Le Figaro (Numéro 201) July 20, 1920.
123Le Figaro, August 15, 1926
124Le Figaro, February 8, 1925
125“Le Pain Frais”, Le Figaro, August 4, 1920.
126“ Je vous garantis 150 quintaux en baguettes et en bâtards, ça fait du travail !”; Bertaux-Wiame, II-42, -48.
129"La baisse du prix du pain", Journal des Débats, February 9, 1922; Frederick Clampette, "Sad Hoptimists", New Outlook, December 6, 1922
130Entries for baguette in Adophe Hatzfeld, Arsene Darmesteter, Dictionnaire Général de la Langue Française du Commencement du XVIIe Siècle Jusqu'a Nos Jours (Paris:Ch. Delagrave,  I:182 and Dictionnaire de l'Académie française, 8th Edition (1932-5)
132“4 sous par jour”, Le Pêle-Mêle, October 4, 1925.
133“ 'pain de fantaisie' pain fait avec de la farine de premier choix et façonné en baguette' (seit Lar 1907)”, Walther von Wartburg, Französisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, Vol. 7 (Bonn: F. Klopp, 1928) 544.
134“PAIN – Arrété du 5 mai 1937 réglementant la vente du pain a Dijon”, Revue municipale, No 926, September, 1937.
135“Les gendarmes de Doué-la-Fontaine, ont dressé procès verbal à une boulangère qui livrait des pains de fantaisie dits flûtes pesant moins de 500 grammes et encore chauds”;.G. Grassin, “Angers et L'Anjou pendant la guerre”, Revue de l'Anjou, Vol 78-79, 1919.
136“Art. 3. — Sont qualifiés « pain de fantaisie » les pains fabriqués avec la même farine, et par suite, étant de môme qualité que ceux de consommation courante, mais dont la forme, couronne, flûte, etc., occasionne, à la cuisson, une perte supé-rieure à celle des pains de consommation courante.”, “Prix du Pain”, Bulletin Municipal de Maison Carrée (Alger), 31st year, 2nd series, No 70 April 15, 1926.
137“Des pains de trois livres, en long, fendus et puis les flûtes, les baguettes, quoi, qui pesaient une livre peut-être, 400 gr”; Bertaux-Wiame, II:29.