You may not be fortunate enough to live in a place that has a good French bakery. (Believe it or not, I have two, and a couple of independent bakers who make delicious breads… you all have to move to Richmond.) But that doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on decent baguettes and coffee for breakfast.
Here’s the secret to making grocery store-bought bread taste a little better: water. You have to, as a very good Basque friend of mine says, “give him a little bath.” Part of the process to making the classic baguette crusty is to mist the oven with water whilst they are baking. I wet my hands and rub the outside of the baguette, then bake it at 350°F for about 5 minutes. Voilà!
Next, coffee. I’ve written before about my quest for the perfect cup of coffee made at home, and I’m still looking. But, using a Bialetti Moka stove top espresso maker and Illy coffee comes very close. Just make sure that if you use milk, it is whole milk.