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The Tunisian who bakes bread for France’s president

A French-Tunisian baker, who has won the right to supply the French presidential palace with baguettes for a year, says kneading is the secret behind his prize-winning loaves.

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A jury of around 15 people taste dozens of baguettes before choosing a winner. Photo: AFP


“A lot of people go too quickly with the kneading,” Mahmoud M’seddi told the BBC.

He is the latest winner of the annual best baguette in Paris competition.

Mr M’seddi makes his first visit to the Elysée Palace on Friday and will now start hand-delivering his baguettes.

He is the fourth North African in the last six years to win the award.

But Mr M’seddi said this was either coincidence, or maybe because a lot of the traditional bakeries in the Paris region are owned by North Africans.

He says he gets up early to ensure his loaves are properly fermented, which he believes is a vital part of the process of making baguettes. “A lot of people don’t leave the time for the dough to ferment,” he said.

“You have to give it the time, so the fermentation happens naturally. I either get up really early, or sometimes I leave it overnight.”

The 27-year-old will also receive a cash prize of nearly £5,000 from Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo during a bread festival in May.

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