The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Best Way to Enjoy a Baguette?

Matt_in_the_OC's picture
Matt_in_the_OC

Best Way to Enjoy a Baguette?

What is the best way to eat a baguette?  I have read that some toppings such as butter may cover up the subtle notes.  On the other hand it seems weird to serve my guests dry bread.  Please share your opinion.


 


Matt

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

In my opinion, really good tasting bread, including baguette, does not need any topping at all. One of the virtues of baguettes is that their flavor is neutral enough that it does not compete with the wonderful (French) food with which it is eaten. It is great to sop up sauces and to convey cheese to mouth.


That is not to say that it is not good with butter. One of my favorite breakfasts is fresh baguette spread with very good butter and very good preserves. This should be a baguette cut in half, crosswise then cut again lengthwise. Ideally, it is eaten in the early morning at a cafe in Paris along with a croissant au beurre and café au lait (or un express). <sigh>


David

Crider's picture
Crider

Makes a great lunch!


 


I believe butter isn't used for that combo and I believe the baguette is torn, not sliced. Of course, you can do whatever you wish.


 


Baguette sliced on the bias and then toasted is pretty darn good. Personally I love peanut butter on a torn piece of baguette.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Well this is easy. The very best way to enjoy a great baguette would be to show up at Davids house early Saturday and ask to be invited in for breakfast.Of course you would get style points if you brought flowers for the Mrs. and a bottle of vino.


Eric

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

And no vino for breakfast, but a pound of Hairbender from Stumptown would always be welcome. It's cappuccinos, at our house. Be prepared for a dash to the farmer's market right after breakfast.


David

ehanner's picture
ehanner

you are a sport!

Caltrain's picture
Caltrain

Usually some olive oil dip containing some parmigiano-reggiano, a hint of garlic, balsamic vinegar, oregano, and black pepper. If you're worried about overpowering the bread, you can use light olive oil to subdue the dip.


But yes, most guests will want something to top their bread with regardless of how euphoric the bread already is.  It's pretty ritualistic when serving bread to house guests.

proth5's picture
proth5

I make a nice, home churned, cultured butter.  Some of that and a quality dry salame on a baguette is better than one would think.


Mix the butter with tapenade.  Spread on baguette.  Very nice... (Or just tapenade, if you are a piker about adding butter to oil...)


Mix the butter with the scapings from a Tahitian vanilla pod (to taste) - toast the tartine (like how David described slicing it) and spread on. Mmmm - Tahitian vanilla...


Butter lightly and dip into a bowl of quality hot chocolate.  Decadent.


Toast a tartine and serve with peanut butter and spiced tomato jam (oh - my homemade spiced tomato jam - recipe posted on these pages, ages and ages ago).  Doesn't sound very good, does it?  Wrong.  My mother's - and many other people's favorite once they try it.


In France butter is never served with bread at dinner.  Tell your guests that this is the "European" way.  Tres chic!


Composed butters - as long as they aren't too strong - should complement the flavor.  I serve mine molded in individual pats.


Hope this helps.


 

leucadian's picture
leucadian

I had some cream that I tried to make into creme fraiche, and wound up making butter instead. The cream never thickened, but when I whipped it I got the most delicious, soft, flavorful butter I've ever had. I grew up with unsalted butter, and I've had some imported European butters, but none were like the butter I made.


Would you mind sharing some of your butter expertise? How do you culture it, how do you get rid of the water after draining off the buttermilk? I used yoghurt and sour cream to culture, then kneaded it gently. Didn't know about washing till later. Otherwise, I'm a neophyte here.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

come to market in Central China.  To get an informal provincial meal of these beauties with a rich spicy sauce is Gumbo I will always treasure.  


Various make-shift restaurants and stands line the streets with folding chair flair, the bubbling brew hissing over gas stoves,  crayfish sautéing, the heavenly aroma the only heeded advertising!  Here is where the baguette, shared, torn and dunked into the central big bowl of sauce adds an extra delight and eating pleasure as each person soaks and scoups up the flavoured broth of this meal.  But bring your own!  Fresh from the oven!  You can pick up a bottle of wine on the way walking down the street.


Mini

rockfish42's picture
rockfish42

I'm fond of either butter and a nice slice of dry cured ham or a lump of chocolate.

jennyloh's picture
jennyloh

I like my baguette plain....when its really good, just out of the oven.  Perhaps sometimes make into garlic bread,  or bruschetta. I love it with other dips as well, hummus, Tzarzika.


But many of you won't believe it, I guess the French will rather drop dead if they know what we do with baguettes....in South East Asia or perhaps just Singapore - we eat them with curry....and it has to be chicken red curry......yum yum.....

tomsbread's picture
tomsbread

I usually enjoy my baguettes simply with butter but occasionally, I indulged myself with an overload of cholesterol laden topping of homemade kaya, a coconut custard-like jam made with eggs, sugar and coconut milk flavored with the juice of the pandanus. A real killer if eaten with butter.


Tomsbread


rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

And in the food paradise of Penang, there's a delicious variation: Roti John Ayam. You probably have something similar in Singapore, but for the benefit of other readers, it's a baguette halved lengthwise, crispy fried in beaten egg, and eaten with curried chicken. The French might lean back aghast, and indeed I have to admit to being a little thrown at first...but oh, one bite and I was a convert!


On a more conventional note, I have fond memories of my backpacking days in Paris, lunching by the Seine for less than the price of a coffee in the tourist traps - scraping pâté de foie gras on to a fresh baguette with my trusty Swiss army knife. I do declare, there are not many finer uses (or settings) for a baguette.

jennyloh's picture
jennyloh

How can I forget that - not only Roti John Ayam (Chicken) but the Roti John Kambing (Mutton) and Roti John Sardines are also wonderful!

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Got those last two noted for next time - which will be later this year! Thanks Jenny.

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

Bought fresh, along with some very runny Brie, eaten together in a hot car parked beside the road in North Hatley, Quebec.  No butter, just torn bits of baguette scraped along the Brie - heaven.

Reuth's picture
Reuth

Hi Matt,


I'm a big fan of a little butter or olive oil on a baguette, but I also like them plain. If you're serving to guests, why not just encourage them to try it without the butter? A sort of "In France, they don't butter their bread at all--you should try it!" kind of thing. But then pass the butter (or olive oil or dip or what have you) around...


Ruth

alabubba's picture
alabubba

Check your local farmers market and pick up some basil.

b_elgar's picture
b_elgar

The best way to eat a baguette is whatever way you wish. Offer your guests options, accoutrements - just as you would with many other foods and allow them to choose for themselves, too.


Although one could say that butter or fine olive oil or a plateful of gravy might be best, this is one item for which the French phrase "a chacun son gout" makes sense.


I have spent the past 8 weeks playing with some doughs to make what I consider delightful baguetttes, ficelles, epis and couronnes. It has been fun and we've had the breads plain, with butter, with cheese, with jam, as the basis for wonderful charcuterie sandwiches, and even toasted the next day.


A good loaf of bread has many uses and is a pleasure alone or as an enhancement and supporter of other foods.


Boron

wally's picture
wally

I always like to begin a baguette unencumbered with any toppings - and I encourage my friends to do as well when I serve up a fresh baguette.  There is a lot of delicate flavor to be found that is easily overwhelmed by spreads and friends are amazed when they find that a naked piece of bread can be so good.


But after that first piece, I'm game for anything that's listed above (especially a good homemade tapenade!) and more.  One of my favorite parisian sandwiches was just baguette, a little butter, a slice of cheese and one of a good salami.  Ah heaven!


Larry


 

DonD's picture
DonD

The classic French anytime snack. A foot long section of crusty baguette split in half, lathered with fresh unsalted butter, a couple of slices of French boiled ham and garnished with crunchy cornichons. Simple but delicious!


Don

reyesron's picture
reyesron

thats like asking, "how do you kiss a beautiful woman?" (or a handsome man, depending on your preference...)in any case, I can hear the sound of collective salivation as everyone relives the last baguette they pulled apart. 

Mireille's picture
Mireille

Spread unsalter butter, a good jam and dip it into a cafe au lait!


Enjoy!


 

Urchina's picture
Urchina

Well, my all-time best baguette memories are of buying hot, fresh baguettes from the local bakery with my Dad, then ripping off chunks and eating them as we walked around downtown together. These are seeded baguettes, and they'll always feel like home and Dad to me. 


 


In college, my (Russian) uncle and aunt introduced me to a far more lively way to eat a baguette, which is to slice it into 1/2" thick slices, top with silky, meltingly rich lox, and then slam a shot of icy vodka and chase it with the baguette/salmon canape. Oh boy, can you say amazing? Repeat as necessary or until you can't get the bread to your mouth anymore. 

vincenttalleu's picture
vincenttalleu

Everyday breakfast of my childhood:


Take half a fresh baguette (delivered in the morning by the baker preferably ;), slice it in half, and butter each side. Make yourself a bowl of hot chocolate, then dip the tartine in the chocolate and eat!  It's my all time favorite, but the baguette needs to be the real deal with big holes.


I use to eat a full baguette for my breakfast


For the "gouter" it's a bar of chocolate inside the baguette (I use to remove the crumb with my fingers without slicing the baguette and stick the chocolate inside.


Or for the posh kids, Nutella!!! There again, if it's a good baguette you get loads of nutella filling the holes  mmmmm :p


 

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Hi there,


Gee I never thought I would see a thread on how we eat our bread. Very interesting though.


My wife and I when we have friends over  like to serve up a fresh sliced baguette with a platter of 3 or 4 quality cheeses. Mainly Camberet, brie, blue vein and our favourite being a 4 year old extra sharp mature cheddar. No butter needed.


We use to serve  cracker biscuits but once we tried our baguette with cheese there was no going back.


Did I mention:- served and shared with a Hunter Valley Red or White wine of choice


Hope you good people don't mind but  I am proud and fond of our area's wine products. Please I invite you to visit the following site. I do not have any connection with the wine industry other than I live 10 minutes away from it and love this part of my home region.


http://www.winecountry.com.au/Hunter%20Valley%20Wines


Cheers one and all...............Aussie Pete

Chausiubao's picture
Chausiubao

This is the best way: Cool the bread completely. Slice the baguette horizontally, and open up the bread as if you're making a sandwich. Break the crust so that you hear it crack, then put your nose in it and smell it. Then take a bite and try to taste everything.


Maybe thats a little pretentious, but thats how we taste our baguettes at the shop.


--Chausiubao

SusanWozniak's picture
SusanWozniak

Slice and dip in olive oil.