The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baguette dispenser debuts in France

foodslut's picture
foodslut

Baguette dispenser debuts in France

Moderators - if this fits better elsewhere, please feel free to shift it.

One question I have:  how good can these baguettes be?

France is the home of the baguette, that savory, crisp staple of a fabled gastronomy. But just try getting a fresh one in the evening, or on a holiday, or even in August, when many of the country's 33,000 bakeries are closed.

Jean-Louis Hecht thinks he has the answer.

The baker from northeast France has rolled out a 24-hour automated baguette dispenser, promising warm bread for hungry night owls, shift workers or anyone else who didn't have time to pick one up during their bakery's opening hours.

"This is the bakery of tomorrow," proclaimed Hecht, who foresees expansion in Paris, around Europe and even the U.S. "If other bakers don't want to enter the niche, they're going to get decimated."

For now, though, that's a lot of talk.

He's only operating two machines— one in Paris, another in the town of Hombourg-Haut in northeastern France — each next to his own bake shops. The vending machines take partially precooked loaves, bake them up and deliver them steaming within seconds to customers, all for euro1 ($1.42) ....

More here.

copyu's picture
copyu

I think most French customers would say; "...a pre-baked baguette is better than NO baguette!" I'd be inclined to agree with them, even without a 'taste test'. I'd guess they wouldn't be really great at that price, but probably better than some of my 'one-day-too-late' home-baked, hoagy/mini-baguettes that I sometimes have to take to work for lunch. They can get very 'chewy' at times!

I'm going to look at some sourdough rye 'Broetchen' as a replacement for the white breads for my lunch...or I can just wait for this to catch on, here in 'the land of vending machines', Japan!

Thanks for posting the article,

copyu   

thomaschacon75's picture
thomaschacon75

Vive le France!

Alas, knowing the French, this won't fly.

I can hear it now, "Quel dommage!"

lumos's picture
lumos

Been to Paris a few times and other parts of France, but have encountered 'seriously good' baguettes only a handful of times. Most of other times, unless you go to reasonally good restaurants/bistro or hunt down good ones purposefully, they're nothing to write a home about.  Never horrible, like many of baguettes you get from supermarkets in this country (= ordinary bread shaped like a baguette, with soft and fluffy crumb with no holes to talk about, like ordinary bread), but still, disappointing.

A lot of supermarkets are popping up in many part of France lately, especially in big cities like Paris, and the local people are flocking in to buy their mediocre breads.  Because, mainly, it's convenient...and cheap.   I can see many Parisiens and Prisiennes, especially young generation, buying baguettes from those machines, because it's 'convenient'. 

Thanks for the interesting information. :)

lumos

copyu's picture
copyu

I have no doubt you are 'telling it like it is'...I have many French co-workers who rather enjoy living in Japan because the French baking techniques have been faithfully studied and preserved here (and, very occasionally, improved?) over what is "available everywhere" in France...that's just 'hearsay', of course...However...

Two decades ago I lived in South Australia and the variety of rye breads was amazing! EVERY supermarket had at least six varieties to choose from—whole/sliced/with-without caraway/boule or batard..nowadays it's K-Mart pan-baked 'hi-top' loaves containing some rye flour...Oy Veh! What a waste of money buying good Emmental cheese!

Adam

lumos's picture
lumos

Hi, Adam,

Yeah, I can only sympathise with your French friends. Things are much, much, MUCH better now on British food front last 10 yrs or so, but when I came here, it was quite ******* (censored). And the thing I missed most, more than anything,  in Japanese culinary life was the baguettes, of all things.  So whenever I go to France, I hope I'd get some good baguette fix, but most of the times I'm disappointed. Probably more disappointed because it IS France after all,  it shouldn't be like that.

Two decades ago in Australia was before their foodie boom took off, wasn't it?  I've heard quite a....er....interesting episode about their sense of flavour.  Coffee with a slice of orange floating on top? Ever encountered it? Apparently someone trying to be clever and invented a new version of tea with lemon slice.... :p  But the Aussie culinary life seems to be really exciting. :)

One thing Japan is still quite hopeless at is cheese.  They don't know what they're missing....and messing.  Do you miss your cheese? 

lumos

 

copyu's picture
copyu

yeah, I had hot coffee with lemon, once, in Adelaide. Apparently, it's not that unusual in eastern Europe...a lady friend from Bulgaria had suggested it. I also found some online photos from Russia of very strong, hot, black coffee served with lemon slices...and one online 'food pundit' who suggested orange slices were even nicer. Not to my taste, but to each his/her own!

Yes, the cheese situation in Japan is pretty grim...you can get German, French, Japanese and Scandinavian cheese anywhere—as long as it's Camembert! The Japanese are very 'thingy' about what's good and what's not: strawberries, melon, Camembert, RED cheddar, canned or fresh tuna, mayonnaise, demi-glace sauce, sweet corn and recently, blueberries, all get a double-thumbs-up from most (Tokyo) Japanese. They are really BIG on so-called "functional foods" here and need to be told by one of three rival weekend TV programs what's good for you and in what way. (I'm hoping they do a program on Pilsener beer or German sourdough rye bread soon!) A young lady whom I met a few years ago, worked for a Tokyo cheese import company. She told me that Japanese disliked the 'smell' of regular cheddar cheese...they'll eat red cheddar, though, because of the extra shot of beta-carotenes. Go figure! There are a few special cheese shops, here, but the average price for any import hovers between US$60-80 per kilo...a bit rich for my blood! Still, we have CostCo now, which is a bit of a life-saver...more like $9-15/kg. I can afford that!

Best wishes,

Adam       

lumos's picture
lumos

Yeah, their functional foods.... As you know Japanese's have been extremely health conscious, which rooted  in the post-war period when majority of Japanese, especially in large cities, were near starvasion with frail body, but in recent years it's really getting over the top. Sadly many of them aren't aware there huge marketing machines of manufacturers in various industries (food, medicine, etc. etc) behind all these 'movement' and who are cleverly pushing their 'new healthy things' to make more bucks.   Actually  I quite enjoy crushing those silly illusions the students of my cookery class (they're all wives of Japanese expats) one by one, explaining how irrelevant and untrue those 'wonderful effect' those food supposed to work wonders to your body, in the normal amount a normal human can eat. 

You should go to food floors in large department stores  or post supermarkets with lots of imported food in Tokyo to get decent cheeses. And do have lots of cheeses, quite often in a temperature and humidity controlled room, and they are not Camambert...as long as it's not Camambert.  Though you may have to get another mortgage because they're unbelievably expensive.

It shouldn't be too difficult to get good German breads in Japan, either sourdough based or yeasted ones. German style breads have always been quite popular, even before French ones. A lot of artisan bakers in Japan are trained in Germany, almost as many as the French trained ones. It's always been like that.  I first learned  the taste of German sourdough bread in Tokyo when I was a high-school student and that's like a million years ago.  Heard there's a big revival of German style bakeries in recent years, too. Google with 'baeckerei'  or 'ベッカライ' or  'ベカライ’ You should be able to find a few German style bakeries in any major big cities. 

Re; beer..... my hubby (English) and many of his friends who used to live in Japan seem to think Kirin and Asahi are the best larger around. :p  Or you really want to get proper European style beer, head for those department stores and posh supermarkets.....after you applied for a top-up in the mortgage.

lumos

 

ETA : I thought 'blueberries' were several years ago... or have they found another magic power?  :p

foodslut's picture
foodslut
jennyloh's picture
jennyloh

ever since I read this report from the local newspaper,  I've wondered what the taste is like?