RICHMOND, Va. — Speaking from his home kitchen via Zoom, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney stressed the need for patience in the coming days and weeks regarding the quarantine reopening process, claiming that he has yet to achieve two key metrics of baking the perfect baguette.
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“When deciding whether or not to ease the quarantine restrictions, it really comes down to two main factors: a crisp sturdy crust and a flavorful, airy crumb,” the flour-dusted mayor said. “As of now, those standards have not yet been met, so I have to implore Governor Northam to exercise restraint at this time vis-à-vis reopening the commonwealth. I’m not comfortable with breaking quarantine until I can get the yeast level right.”
Experts largely agree that, for a traditional baguette to be deemed acceptable, it must have a crust firm enough to maintain the loaf’s shape and form when held, but yielding enough to give way to a soft, light center. Mayor Stoney—who, by his own account, has made more than 150 attempts with varying levels of success—believes we are still several weeks out from achieving these benchmarks.
“This is an exceedingly delicate undertaking,” Stoney continued. “And while we’ve made considerable progress over the past two months, we’re just not there yet. After consulting with local business leaders, including bakers and confectioners, it’s clear we are facing a critical inflection point: either allow adequate time to produce delicious, classic French baguettes in the comfort of my own kitchen, or be left with a dense, doughy mess.”
“Also, I’m not about to let Herring and his blueberry banana bread that he posted on Instagram last week take all of the glory,” Stoney added. “The choice is yours, Governor.”