Reader Claire writes:
Hi Joe! I’ve always heard that baguettes were originally called “Vienna bread.” Does that make them part of the viennoiserie?
Nice question, Claire. It would make a certain amount of sense. After all baguettes are the definitive light and fluffy bread, and more than that they absolutely require a steam oven. However they are not technically part of the viennoiserie. It’s true that once upon a time most oblong, fluffy white loaves were known as “Vienna bread.” However in some places — like Denmark — “Vienna bread” refers to laminated dough. It just goes to show the amazing reach and influence of the Viennese baking tradition.
As for when exactly the baguette arrived in Paris (for indeed it’s a high-tech city bread, not a country bread) that’s something of a mystery.