Wednesday, August 10, 2011

French (Bread) Revolution

A couple years ago, I wrote about a drive-through boulangerie just outside Paris where you could buy fresh-baked bread from the comfort of your car. Last week, I shared the news that McDonald's in France had just begun offering baguettes. And now I have the pleasure of reporting (thanks to an article in the Guardian), that Paris has its first 24-hour baguette dispenser. The bread is partially baked before being put in the machine, then finished off when ordered and delivered crisp and hot – for €1. Local baker Jean-Louis Hecht cooked up the idea to take advantage of the August holiday period when many of France's 33,000 bakeries are closed. But Hecht admits he was also weary of customers knocking on his apartment door at all hours, looking for fresh bread when his boulangerie downstairs was closed. "This is the bakery of tomorrow," he proclaims. "It is answering a real need. People who work at night or early in the morning can get their fresh bread. To me it's a public utility." Read the full story here

Photo: French baker Jean-Louis Hecht at his baguette dispenser in Paris, by Michel Euler/AP, via


  1. Are we sure that an automatic baguette dispenser is good news? Sounds rather awful, really.

  2. I like anything new and creative, particularly if it solves a need. Of course nothing compares to hot, crusty baguettes, right out of the boulanger's oven! Plus, in the bakery you get the news, see your neighbors, support the community, etc. Meanwhile, it's interesting that the inventor of the machine, Jean-Louis Hecht, is a bread baker himself. I wonder what the other bread bakers in Paris have to say about this! I think he is very brave!

  3. GREAT! There were times (and suppose will be again in the future) when I needed bread earlier than the shops & boulangeries were open.

    Hoping these 24-hour baguette dispensers will be everywhere soon!

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  4. Sounds like the Automat is coming to France!

  5. Oh la la. An ATM for baguettes.
    Love it!

  6. I would feel strange getting my baguette from a machine. I prefer the old-fashioned way.

  7. What a fantastic idea! As Jean-Louis says - this could really benefit people who work very early mornings or late nights.

  8. These machines are not new: my local petrol station has a sort of primitive version which the staff feed from plastic bags every few hours or so. The problem is that the bread, although agreeably warm and crisp when it comes out of the machine, quickly becomes dry and chewy if not eaten at once.

  9. i hope that my comment doesn't come too late.
    i personally think that's very interesting and practical, but we must see now the bread's quality.
    i looked for Jean-Louis Hecht's baguette dispenser's address in Paris 19th and don't find it (either in the GUARDIAN's article or in the PAGES JAUNES).
    do you know, julie, his bakery's name?



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