As a former resident of the Gulf Coast (LA and MS) now stuck in the Central Valley of California I have embarked upon a mission (an obsession some might say) to find the secrets of making a good loaf of po'boy bread. I've yet to find a loaf of bread that will properly house my roast beef, barbecue shrimp or whatever other culinary wickedness I wish to eat as a po'boy. The crusts are too soft or too hard. The crumb is far too dense. The shape is not right. If you want something done right you gotta do it yourself. Hence, my quest (obsession).
For those of you not familiar with po'boy bread (poor, poor souls) I'll give you a quickthumbnail sketch. A French baguette with a very open crumb and a flaky crust that makes a pile of crumbs in your lap when you eat it.
I've just stumbled upon the concept of autolyse for the open crumb and have a loaf in the works as I type. Here's hoping I get closer to my prize with this new technique.
I'm also using steam for the crust and at least one baking stone in the oven.
Anyone who is of assistance to me gets a free po'boy when I open my restaurant here in Fresno. Honest.
(I also like baking all other kinds of bread, but my head is full of po'boy right now - we did just celebrate Mardi Gras, ya know. I'll move onto other loaves after this quest is completed.)
Your culinary Don Quixote,