French Bread is a long bread with a crisy, crusty exterior and a soft chewy interior, commonly known as a baguette.  This is the most frequently eaten food in France.  It is a light yeast-raised bread.  The exterior is sprayed with water while baking to give it that crisp crust.  It is also made with water instead of milk, like many of it’s relative breads. French law dictates that ‘French’ bread should contain only combinations of flour, yeast, salt and water; no other ingredients allowed.

French Bread comes in a long narrow shape, which allows the maximum amount of dough to be exposed to heat while baking.  This produces a nice thick, golden crust all along the bread.  It is also noted by it small slits on the top crust which get tough and crusty while baking.

Baguettes were first created in Vienna, Austria during the Industrial Revolution of the mid 19th century.  It was this time the steam oven was invented in Vienna, and this invention allowed Vienna to produce a new style of bread with a different different texture and flavor than bread baked in a brick-oven or dry oven.  Austrian officer August Zang brought steam ovens with him to Paris and the baguette quickly became a symbol of French culture and cuisine.  This is why Zang is sometimes credited with the invention of what son to became known as ‘French Bread’.  The long, thin loaves were popularized in 1920 when a French law banned workers from working before 4am. The bakers often made baguettes as they would not be able to  make their popular Boule (a thick round loaf) in time for their morning customers.  The long and thin (no more than 2 1/2 in diameter) cooked much faster than older styles of bread.

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