The baguettes in France are light, airy and have a thin crust. I could eat a whole baguette easily. The baguettes in the US are terrible by comparison. Some are just white bread shaped into a tube. All are extremely dense and heavy and chewy. Most have a thick crust that cuts into the roof of my mouth. I have tried nearly every bakery in NYC often recommended as having acceptable baguettes. None come close, IMO.
Are there any bakers on this board that can explain why American bakers can't make a decent baguette? From my limited knowledge, the biggest difference appears to be that the flour used in France is not available in the US. I didn't think this mattered until I made a brioche with French flour. The result was magnificent. But surely there's some way to import it? King Arthur claims to make a comparable flour for baking breads. What else explains this bad bread?