DISHES
by Paul Hollywood

Serve these mini-baguettes with really ripe brie, camembert or vacherin cheese for a simple yet decadent lunch.

Cakes and baking

Buyer's guide

If the bread has been baked traditionally on the stone floor of the oven, the ends should have lifted, creating a slight upwards curve. Look for the cuts, or 'tears' as they're called, to have opened giving a torn appearance to the interior. There should be an uneven texture to the crumb, as this is a sign that the dough was given a long initial rise before shaping.

Blisters on the surface of the crust are good too, and show the dough has been given a long cool second rise to increase the flavour. The crust of baguettes made with flour milled in a French style and with grain relatively low in protein should tear easily and not show any toughness. The inner crumb should be a pale cream colour, not a brilliant white, though this might not affect the flavour or the texture.

Other considerations

Traditionally baguettes have seven diagonal cuts across the top. Typical ingredients include wheat flour, water, yeast, salt and ascorbic acid. In France the ingredients used in baguettes are controlled by government legislation.