National French Bread Day celebrates the lovely loaf that reigns among the most versatile in the universe of baked goods. The long, thin shape of the French baguette didn’t arrive accidently. Bakers typically prepare dough and let it rise two or three times before baking, producing a thick loaf sliced thin to surround sanwiches or enjoy toasted with jam. The baguette’s slender shape came about when French law collided with consumer preferences. French shoppers often visit their neighborhood bakery early in the morning, buying fresh baked goods for the day’s meals. In 1920, a new labor law prohibited bakers from starting their work day before 4:00am. This made it impossible to punch down typical balls of dough for a final rise and then baking them before shoppers arrived. The solution was to produce long, thin segments of dough that would rise and bake faster. The rest is history.

Celebrate National French Bread Day annually on March 21st.