The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

No New Orleans French Bread 4 U !!!!!!

Nailed's picture

No New Orleans French Bread 4 U !!!!!!

I just want to say thanks for all the efforts to clone a New Orleans Style French Bread,thos has been one of the hardest things that we had to get use-to after becoming a Katrina Transplant. No more of the "Very best Po-Boy Bread" on earth,where we come from Mamma used French Bread Soliders( U have 2 be a Local 2 know what FB Soldiers are) to wean us from de bottle.We have tried it all,N.O.water,rice flour,commercial flours,different blends of flours,different ovens,on & on& on...& it's still different!-Never like The Real Thing,Some real good bread but not The Great Po-Boy Bread of Home.We had gotten to the point and admitted that we would just have to settle for.....something else,this was fine,UNTIL we decided to open a New Orleans Style Po-Boy Shop & Catering Service out hear in Utah. I hate to just say "they will never know the difference" But I will! We to have the Muffalatta Bread down prefection...Po-Boys no-where even close. I think our next move will be to see if we can have un-baked bread shipped and see if that will help out.If anyone ever gets this right, I'll send you my 1st born,matter of fact I'll send All of Then 1st,2nd & 3rd, OK then just send me yours! Thanks Folks don't give-up it could just Save Someone Biz,or waistline.From the Land-of-PoBoy Detox,Big Blessings 2 U & Yours, Nailed(Robert)

ehanner's picture

Hello Robert,

If you could provide some details on the bread as you know it and some photos of the real deal and your best effort, perhaps we can advance the effort. There have been several attempts by other members in the past to recreate this wonderful soft bread with a crust that shatters. There is a lot of talent here. Sometimes it's just a matter of  defining the goal well.

Good luck with your new venture and life away from the Big Easy.


CelesteU's picture

Just so's ya know, the best bread here in SE LA is emerging from the Vietnamese bakeries, baked in 6" loaves for bahn mi (aka vietnamese poboys).  It's more like the old Angelo Gendusa's bread, or the Binder's bread, than the Leidenheimer's loaves, but it's excellent stuff.  I've tried to replicate it at home, and I think the key is dough conditioners.  Yes, additives are the secret to this very very light interior, thin shattering crust exterior, and stales-in-an-instant texture.

Various threads on the internet (this forum and others) recount bakers' struggles to turn out a good bahn mi baguette, which to me is nearly identical to old-school poboy bread.  The ingredients labels of Leidenheimers and various bahn mi all show the inclusion of some dough conditioners.

CelesteU's picture

Maybe a detailed list of ingredients will help you toward your ideal loaf.

I have a long loaf of Leidenheimer's ZIP on my desk right now.  Ingredients label reads:

"Enriched wheat flour, water, contains less than 2% of the following:  yeast, sugar, salt, soybean oil, wheat gluten, yeast nutrients (calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate), starch, dough conditioners (potasium bromate, azodicarbonamide, ascorbic acid), sesame seeds if apparent."  140 calories per 56 g.

I also have a loaf of Binder's bread.  Binder's ingredients panel reads:

"Enriched flour, water, yeast, dairy whey, sugar, shortening (soybean and cottonseed oil), salt, malt, yeast foods, enriched with thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and iron."  180 calories per 57 grams.

PastryPaul's picture

In the interests of full disclosure.... I hate conditioners and additives, so if you think this post may be biased, you're probably right.

Potasium bromate is a 2b carcinogen (possibly harmful to humans) and has been banned in Canada, the EU, China, and many other areas. Japan has requested a voluntary ban which is largely repected. The FDA approved its use prior to 1958, otherwise I'm pretty sure it would be banned in the US as well. It is still used in the US to help strengthen and raise dough, but California law requires warning labels on products it is used in. The FDA has urged American bakers to voluntarily stop using it. It is an extremely powerful oxidizing agent.

Azodicarbonamide has been banned in Australia and the EU. It too is an oxidizing agent and is permissable for use in North American food but at a maximum of 45 parts per million (that's about 1 gram in 22.23 kilograms). It is more often used in the foamed plastics industry like in gaskets and shoe soles.

Ascorbic acid is vitamin C. It is an antioxidant while the previous two are oxidizing agents. I use it to stop bananas and avocados from browning.

Personally, I would not eat anything that contained the first two. I doubt that they would be needed to replicate the bread you desire.

Re: yeast nutrients: (as if the flour wasn't enough)

You may know calcium sulfate by it's more common names, Gypsum (yup, the stuff in your sheet walls) or its semi-hydrated form, Plaster of Paris.

Ammonium sulfate is most commonly used as a fertilizer. It raises the acidity of alkaline soil. It is approved for use in food.

If there is a mystery to this bread, it is not this "stuff" (please note that I refrained from using a slightly shorter word which also starts with an "s")


gary.turner's picture

Stop playing pitty-patty and say what you mean. :D



PastryPaul's picture


CelesteU's picture

I'm not a fan of dough conditioners, either.  But the OP is trying to replicate a certain bakery's bread, with a very particular texture, crust, and crumb.  So I thought he & others might be helped by having the precise ingredients of said bread.  NOLA style poboy bread is judged as awful by most "real" bakers....but it's a particular thing, designed to enfold a slew of fried shrimp, or a pile of juicy, gravy-laden well-done roast beef.  More of a "filling-delivery-system" rather than a bread that stands alone.

PastryPaul's picture

I did not mean to offend or attack your post, CelesteU. If it was percieved as such, please accept my apologies.

I must say, I love the term "filling delivery system" and intend to adopt it. ;-)

We make a kaiser-shaped crusty roll for a restaurant client that is used with very liquid fillings like pulled pork drowning in BBQ sauce, and various other things that resemble stews more than sandwich fillings. It has a thin, crakery crust, and a crumb that features a huge hole in the middle. (looks sort of like a pita before it cools crossed with a sesame kaiser). It will be henceforth known as our FDS !!


Emelye's picture

I'm intrigued by the addition of dairy whey in the Binder's bread.  As a byproduct of cheese making, whey should have a unique mix of proteins, fats and acids, etc, in it.  This bears some experimentation.  I might try it next time I make some fresh neufchatel.  I'll save the whey and see what it does to the bread.