back, in 2019, I was writing up my trilogy on pizza, and the October 9th
edition, of the San Juan Record, concerned, not just Sicilian, but French bread
style. Even then, the bread labeled, in the local markets, as French bread,
was, in fact, just plain, soft, wide loaves of white bread.But hey, you have to work with what you have,
or make it yourself, right?
make a true French bread pizza, you have to use a baguette which translates to
“wand” or “baton”.Now according to
culinary sites, there are four origins to this bread.#1 – in the 19th century, it was brought
to Paris by an Austrian officer, turned baker, August Zang.He also created pain viennois (a sweet bread
filled with cheese, jam or chocolate) and the croissant.#2 - 1920 French law prohibited bakers from
working between 10pm to 4am (strange I know, but it’s the French, so…), so
baguettes could be prepared and baked within 3 hours, and during working
hours.#3 - Napoleon Bonaparte ordered
local bakers to create this bread for his soldiers, as it was easier to carry
in their packs than large round loaves. #4 – management of the Parisian metro
asked local bakers to make a bread that was easy to tear with the hands.Why?Workers, using the metro, would bring knives, to cut apart hard loaves
of bread to eat, on the way to work.With everyone carrying a knife, well, violence would break out on nearly
a daily basis.Easier bread to tear with
hands, meant knives could be banned on the metro, since they were no longer
necessary for eating the bread.
culinary historians lean towards origins #1 and #2, since French law also
dictates that baguettes must be made with only flour, salt, water, and yeast;
and must be between 2-3 feet long, and 2 inches wide.Which now makes me wonder, “Did the creators
of Star Wars see two people dueling with baguettes, and light sabers were
to Panera aka St. Louis Bread Company, founded in 1987, Kirkwood, Missouri, and
their newest edition to the menu, Toasted Baguette Sandwiches.The first commercial I saw was of a pepperoni
pizza style, extremely similar to French bread pizza, likeStouffer's, but both sides of
the bread placed together.However, the
“baguettes” they use are only one foot in length, yet still 2 inches wide; so,
a baby baguette that still needs to reach its maturity?The point is though, that Panera was making a
copycat version of a Stouffer’s frozen item.
there I was, at Blue Mountain Foods, and what did I find in the artisan bread
display?Full Circle Market brand, take
and bake, twin set of baguettes, and this is a very tasty product indeed.At 400F, for 10-15 minutes, the outer crust
becomes crisperty-crunchity; smear butter on the hot and soft inside, and it is
quite easy to eat a complete loaf for a meal.Ahem, yes, I am speaking from experience, and not ashamed of it.
here was the question, could I create a copycat version of Panera’s Pepperoni
Mozzarella Melt?Heh, most of you know
that the answer is definitely, “Of course I can!”
the oven to preheat at 400F, I split a baguette, lengthwise, down the
middle.First a good coating of homemade
pizza sauce, getting as close to the edges as possible.Second, a generous helping of shredded
mozzarella cheese.Third, sliced
pepperoni from end to end, but only on one side of the split loaf.Now while a plain loaf would take 10-15
minutes to bake, with the toppings, it took almost 20 minutes for the cheese to
fully melt, and the pepperoni to develop a crispiness around the edges (how we
cheese only side placed on the pepperoni layered side, and there it was, the
pepperoni mozzarella melt, without having to go to Panera to purchase it (and a
lot cheaper to make too).
taste was fantastic, especially being homemade with love and passion; alright,
and wanting to quiet a rumbling stomach.
to this entire story?If you want
something badly enough, but cannot purchase it outright, then make a copycat
version…period!This is also a great way
for families to get together, and have fun learning to make favorite restaurant
foods.Not only is cooking or baking
learned, but accounting measures such as cost and budgeting.Education via eating, who knew!