Twenty two years ago, today, France introduced a “decret pain” or “bread decree” to officially recognize and define the traditional French baguette.
To honor this special anniversary for France, Google has dedicated their Google Doodle to the occasion. Google Doodle is a special graphic addition or alteration temporarily made to the Google logo on their home page. Today’s is a cartoon which shows a professional chef in his white jacket and hat. He’s got his red French scarf on and is sniffing a delicious baguette as it comes out of a coal-fired oven. It was created by artist Matt Cruickshank.
The charming illustration reminds us what the decret pain meant to France. It was introduced in 1993 and aimed to ensure the baguette maintained its integrity and history. The law outlined exactly what conditions the bread needed to meet in order to carry the title “baguette”. The important characteristics of the bread are:
- Where it is sold
- It’s four ingredients (wheat flour, salt, yeast, water)
- Its treatment after baking (it cannot be frozen at any time)
The Google Doodle team took the task of honouring the anniversary very seriously. Jonathan Shneirer is a Google Doodle engineer. He said:
“There’s nothing quite like freshly baked bread. Its magic transcends the sum of its parts: the crunch of the crust, the spring of the crumb; the way its scent suffuses the air with warmth.”
Just for the occasion, the team tried their very best to bake an authentic French baguette. Shneirer states:
“I went to work, researching recipes and techniques, poring over pictures, visiting local bakeries, and trying my hand every weekend. I baked baguettes until I had no room left to store them.”
Shneirer posted the hilarious journey, accompanied by photos, for the world to see. He describes his creations as “enthusiastic, sometimes moderately successful, often mutated attempts at proper French bread.”
After the many attempts, Shneirer concluded:
“The perfect baguette — if it exists — is elusive, and the French bakers capable of producing anything close are true artisans.”
So Happy Anniversary to the true and bona fide French baguette!
May your integrity hold strong for another 22 years and beyond!