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Friday, January 6, 2012

Baguette Magic bakes French bread on James Island

Proof This

Posted by Stephanie Barna on Fri, Jan 6, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Mathieu Richard, a Frenchman with an authentic French accent, has been looking for a good baguette in Charleston for a long time.

“I’ve lived here ten years, and I couldn’t find any good bread, so I taught myself.”

Last year, Richard and his wife started selling his baguettes and croissants in the Charleston Farmers Market and found an eager customer base. “We needed to bake more, so we had to find a location,” says Richard.

Baguette Magic opened about three weeks ago at 792 Folly Road, formerly the space of Jam’s Buffalo Café.

“We have breakfast and lunch, and coffee and sweet and savory croissants,” he says. The quiche croissants have some alluring combinations. There’s an egg, ham, and cheddar and also an egg, smoked salmon, and parmesan. The menu has cheese tartines and baguette sandwiches.

The secret to a good baguette is pretty simple, according to Richard.

“You’ve really got to want to make a good baguette to make a good baguette.”

Simply put, you have to take the time to make a bread that’s crusty and flavorful. If the dough is proofed multiple times, allowed to leaven naturally, and cooked on a hot stone in the oven, you’re going to end up with a good baguette. Richard also prefers old-fashioned manual labor. Other baguettes around here are baked via a mechanized process in convection ovens after being proofed only once. The result? A decent baguette, but not a magical baguette.

Richard has a variety of breads on hand at his bakery and café, including whole wheat, whole grain, sourdough, dark rye, spelt, and brioche.

Baguette Magic is open Tues.-Fri. from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sat. from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. for brunch.

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