A crunchy baguette is always going to trump a piece of limp sliced white. First of all, there's the joy of ripping the end off and eating it on the way home from the shops. While lumps of marge stick to claggy Hovis, French bread is the perfect vehicle for treating butter like cheese. Plus, you're always going to look classy with a baguette sticking out of your bag, rather than a reduced Best of Both loaf.
Scientists now claim to have figured out exactly what gives the French stick its je ne sais quoi over normal bread. And it's all in the crust.
According to a new American Chemical Society study published earlier this week in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, chewing bread with a crunchy crust releases a larger amount of aroma molecules than bread with a less brittle crust. The more aroma molecules released, the more interaction with taste receptors on the tongue, and the better the taste.
Participants in the study took one for the team and ate their way through nine types of baguette with different crumb and crust densities. The researchers then measured and analysed the molecules released while chewing with a mass spectrometer (a machine that monitors compounds present in ambient air), as well as noting the participants' perception of aroma.
The study's authors found that crusty bread requiring more chewing released the most aroma molecules, and was awarded a better aroma rating from participants. They wrote: "The findings could help food scientists create new bread types better tailored to meet consumers' expectations."
Eating your crusts might not make your hair go curly, but it seems it could make your bread taste better.