Last week a colleague asked me where he could find a delicious French baguette in downtown Dallas. I sat there for what felt like an hour with my mouth open while my eyes glazed over. I finally answered with a long “uhhhhhhh….” Truth is, I had no idea. Ridden with an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy, I hopped on Google and started searching. While I couldn’t find anything in the downtown area, I did come across plenty of information on the usual suspects: Empire Baking Company, eatZi’s, Whole Foods, Village Baking Co. and Central Market. It seems each bakery has its own version of the classic French loaf. But which one is the best? A handful of conscientious D Magazine staffers stuffed their faces with bread for this week’s blind taste test. It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it. Here’s what they thought.
E. Whole Foods
- This is bread that I would eat if it came in a free bread basket at an overpriced restaurant and I was hungry enough to basically gnaw off my own arm.
- A soft texture inside, nice sturdy crunch on the outside.
- Sour. Salty. Good flavor.
- Doughy. Kind of sour.
- I suggested white truffle butter, which may have stolen the show from the bread. I tried to put the same amount on every slice. The first piece of bread yields to the iconic fungus and its signature fragrance; it acts as a canvas more than anything. Its crust and middle are similar in toughness, which is unexpected but acceptable.
Village Baking Co.
- Darkest crust, tastes like it too, if that makes sense. Not bad, though.
- Nice size, the way a baguette should be. Good crunch. Perfect.
- Better [than A]. Crusty without being stale. A good baguette.
- Now this bread puts up more of a fight with the aforementioned butter. I’m not sure what the ingredient is but there’s something pushing back with its own savoriness. Maybe it’s just too salty.
- Nice burt crust. Nice crunch.
- Too doughy, soft, wimpy.
- Here we have our first misstep. This is an experience a bit too similar to tasting construction paper as a child.
- Weak-ass crust. I need my baguette to be tough.
- Flavorless. Too white, if that’s a thing.
Empire Baking Company
- This has that rough and powdery texture that one associates with ye ol’ loaves of medieval bread making. I would buy this.
- Way too big. Also, too doughy.
- Very rustic looking. OH MY GOD, the texture is PERFECTION. Great flavor, too. This is what a baguette is supposed to be like.
- Looks like a true baguette. Tasty, with good chew.
- Too much flour on the crust.
- This is too sweet, but not sweet enough. Come back with fig jam or pear honey next time, you lying sack of bread.
- Can tell it’s not going to be too dense. Yup, it’s just bread.
- Ugh, tastes like it was made with dirty water.
- Pulled apart very easily. FAIL. Definitely the least baguettey of the bunch in both flavor and texture.
Village Baking Co. 2
Central Market 0
Empire Baking Company 3
Whole Foods 0
The winner is:
Empire Baking Company’s baguette was the favorite, with Village Baking Co. coming in second. Nobody voted for eatZi’s, Central Market or Whole Foods. Sorry, guys. Are you surprised with the results? Did we skip your favorite baguette? Let us know in the comments below.