Foodies, Despair!

So the French have gone and ruined the baguette:

Renowned for its distinctive shape and crusty exterior, the baguette risks becoming known for something else, too: being undercooked and doughy.

Rémi Héluin, the founder of Painrisien, a blog about Parisian bakeries, estimates that 80% of the 230 shops he has reviewed underbake most of their baguettes. “They’ve got to keep the customer satisfied,” he says.

Steven Kaplan, a Cornell University professor of history and author of several books on French bread, says the baguette’s distinctive texture and flavor come from a chemical reaction—called the Maillard effect—that occurs toward the end of the baking process. Without it, a baguette is no more than a tasteless mush, which sometimes—counterintuitively—can be harder to chew.

“The baguette is gradually morphing into something else,” says Mr. Kaplan. “I’m seeing in front of my eyes, the eclipse of one of the great objects of French national heritage.”

Now they’re officially useless.