The Fresh Loaf

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New Orleans French Bread - Poboy bread

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wmessin's picture
wmessin

New Orleans French Bread - Poboy bread

Some of this has been discussed in a thread over on the "intro's" forum (here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2086/hello-hello) but I thought I'd go ahead and get it started here as well.

We're trying to determine the best way to come close to duplicating the traditional New Orleans style of french bread used for poboy sandwiches, etc.  This differs from what you traditionally find around the US, in my opinion anyway.  Typically the crumb can be very dense in baguettes of french bread you find here.  In New Orleans, the loaf has an incredibly light, almost cotton candy-like crumb, with a brittle, flaky light crust that tends to cause a a good pile of bread crumbs when eating poboys.

The flavor tends to be pretty distinctive as well.  German bakers that had settled in New Orleans were the ones that came up with the process of making the unique french bread that basically has remained unchanged all these years.  It also becomes stale rather quickly.

I've tried all of the tricks of keeping the dough as moist as possible, using steam in the oven....varying temperatures, using different ingredients and amounts (I've read the ingredients they list on their product, and read all I could find on the net about their processes that they are willing to share), I've even used some New Orleans tap water to see if there would be a difference.

If anyone has any clue or thoughts about New Orleans french bread that they would be willing to share I'd greatly appreciate it.

here's a couple pictures:

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b7dd20b3127cce81b3df7e039800000016108AaOWrhw4cNU

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b7dd20b3127cce81b3df7f82a900000016108AaOWrhw4cNU

Wayne

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

Did you see this blog entry?

 

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2136/blasphemy

 

I haven't made it (yet) but it might be worth a shot!

wmessin's picture
wmessin

yeah, I tried that one as well, and many variations of it.  But I wasn't getting anywhere remotely close with that one.  The flavor of that one was really off for me. 

It's funny, because that's what the Whann family submitted as "their recipe" (Whann is a decendent of the original Leidenheimer that began poboy bread in NOLA).  Then in a personal email Sandy Whann told me that they do indeed have a sponge stage, which that recipe doesn't call for.  Go figure.

Wayne

tammy's picture
tammy

Hello I was wondering what part New Orleans are you from?

I was born in the City and grew up on the west bank and most of my summers as a kid was spent in Pierre Part, LA

And did you get any closer to making French bread? I don't live in LA anymore and I too MISS DEM Po'Boys I've tired a few recipes that don't even come close.

 

Thanks

Tammy

wmessin's picture
wmessin

Hi Tammy,

 sorry it's taken so long to respond.  I haven't been here lately.  I am originally from the Metairie area although most of my family lived in New Orleans (Lakeview).

to be honest, I haven't tried again in a few months.  there's a trick I want to try in adding some rice flour to the equation and see what happens (a la vietnamese bread). 

lately I've had numerous work-related visits to New Orleans and I've done a good job of stocking up on the real deal (it keeps very well in the freezer).

 Anyway, when I do attempt again I'll let you know how it goes.  Keep in touch!

Wayne

chazzmor's picture
chazzmor

Though I don't think Leidenheimer uses rice flour (but you never know) in their recipe, the Vietnamese french bread that is sold in Hawaii by the local "Ba Le" sandwich shop chain, is the closest I've found to New Orleans french bread, except the size of the loaf is like a pistolette. In an interview, I heard Sandy Whann from the Leidenheimer family, say that letting the dough age (after mixing) for a long time (he never said HOW long) adds to the particular flavor of the bread and crispyness of the crust.

http://neworleanspodcasting.com/podcasts/SandyWhann10_25_07.mp3
harrygermany's picture
harrygermany

Hi,

to get something similair to a French wheat bread one has to have a pre-fermented dough.
24 hours before baking make a dough with wheat flour (no wholemeal), water and just a tiny little bit of yeast (1/4 teaspoon or so).
Have the dough rather fluid (two weight parts cold water, one weight part flour).
Keep it in a cool place (e.g. fridge of ca 42°F).

Baking day mix with wheat flour and water, ad a little yeast (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon), and also some salt, knead well by machine for 7 minutes (control by watch!).
Again have the dough so wet that you just can knead it by hand. Not fluid, but not stiff at all. It will be a bit sticky. Let rest 15 minutes.

With a little wheat flour on the work table knead, stretch and fold the dough.
Stretch (pull) it a bit, fold it, turn it 90°, stretch it again, fold it, let it rest for 10 minutes covered and warm.
Then again stretch and fold. Let rest 10 minutes.
And a third time stretch and fold. Let rest 10 minutes.

Now form a loaf. If the dough doesn't like to be formed (like rubber), leave it for some more minutes.

Let the loaf prove until volume doubled.

Bake with 465°F for 40-60 minutes, depending on the size of your loaf.

Harry



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gary697's picture
gary697

Having tried nearly every poyboy bread for my own restaurant back in the early 1980's at a restaurant trade show in New Orleans we chose Gendusa for our poyboy bread.


Here is link to a decent article about Gendusa and the origin of poyboy bread:


http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/11/dining/11unit.html


New Orleans native transplanted to Lafayette where there is no poyboy bread.


 

longhorn's picture
longhorn

There is a good Banh Mi recipe on The Fresh Loaf site. I am making mine with half SOFT AP (like Pillsbury unbleached) and half pastry flour and I am getting pretty good results. 

Dhaus's picture
Dhaus

I as well have spent some time in the New Orleans area and love this bread.  There are a couple of places in my area that order this bread for their poboys to be authentic. I have tried some internet recipes and have never come quite close.  Has anybody found a formula for this particular french bread?  The crust is light, yet slightly chewy and the crumb is also very delicate.  A great bread for any hot sandwiches. 

Gumbo's picture
Gumbo

Brand new to bread making - I had been terrified of making bread for years. I just started Culinary school and learned how to make some basic breads and now I'm hooked. I come from Louisiana and did quite a bit of research into New Orleans po-boy bread years ago when I thought I could tackle making a bread - disaster and I gave up after 1 batch. What I remeber is that the bread is made from a sponge and the most important thing that contributes to the flavor is a slow double fermentation that allows acetic acid to form. It is the acetic acid that contributes the unique flavor. Once I learn a little more about bread making I'll try and tackle this.