April 29 - Over 200 bakers use old-fashioned craftsmanship to win the title of Paris' best traditional baguette. Elly Park reports.
With official rules for its dough content and length, finding the best baguette is serious business in Paris. Now 42-year-old baker Ridha Khadher's golden loaf is officially the city's best baguette for 2013. Khader won the coveted title after competing against 202 other bakers who each had to enter two loafs that underwent critical inspection by a panel of judges for taste, quality of dough, smell and appearance. Paris-based American food blogger Meg Zimbeck is a judge. SOUNDBITE: Judge American Food Blogger Meg Zimbeck, saying (English) "I like to crack a baguette on the outside and hear a crunch and have the crust on the outside be very well developed, but when you open it up you want to have really well developed holes, which this (SHOWS SLICE OF BAGUETTE) does not have for example." In the end Khadher's loaf came out on top. In his bakery he shared the key to his success. SOUNDBITE: Best Paris Baguette Winner Ridha Khadher, saying (French) "We knead the dough the day before, 24 hours in advance. We moisten it to 70 percent, we make them by hand, we put less yeast in. It's a bread that's well rested and well crafted in the old-fashioned style." Besides bragging rights the title also comes with a cash prize of 4000 euros… and the responsibility of providing French President Francois Hollande with freshly-baked baguettes for a year.