See below for info copied info from the General Midwest Archives in response to a similar question.
I personally like the Rustica baguettes. However, a friend wants excellent French bread for her elderly mother, who LOVED the Trung Nam loaves with the "shattery" crusts and the softer interior, which are great for anyone elderly with dental issues. But I believe Trung Nam is now closed :0( (I will try to verify this next time I drive past it.)
So here's the question: Where can one find a loaf of French bread similar to that which Trung Nam made?
FROM THE ARCHIVES:
***You might enjoy Rustica's offerings. 46th and Bryant Ave (although they are moving later in the Fall).
*** If you're open to small loaves (and they may actually have long ones, but I'm not sure), you should try Trung Nam - they do it Vietnamese style (I think this may involve using a bit of rice flour) so they get an extra crisp exterior.
Do pick up a croissant while you're there, too. May I recommend coconut?
* Trung Nam French Bakery
739 University Ave W, St Paul, MN 55104
***It's an old standby, but I love the baguettes and ciabatta from New French Bakery. http://www.newfrenchbakery.com/
When I lived nearby, I bought the day old to make strata for breakfast. Many grocers now feature their take and bake breads. A baguette lasts about thirty seconds around my house with fresh tomatoes, olive oil and basil. Good stuff.
***IMHO, Rustica makes the best Baguette. I purchase from them either at Coastal Seafood (Mpls) or Seward Coop. Half the time I am biting the end off the baguette during the drive home.
It is probably difficult to reproduce this at home. I believe most bakers will use steam ovens for these types of breads.