The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

PoBoy Bread

skyclad's picture

PoBoy Bread


I am new to this forum so please excuse if I have posted this in the wrong place..

My question is simple..  Why is it so hard to find "real" New Orleans style PoBoy bread?  I purchased a French Baguette the other day from our wonderful local bread store.  The girl I spoke with assured me that this would be perfect for the Roast Beef PoBoy I was going to prepare.  What happened was a nightmare, and something I was afraid was going to happen..  With regard to the type of bread I was looking for, it has a crispy exterior and is a bit flaky, with a soft interior.  If the outside isn't crispy, you end up biting into it and it squeezes the contents all over the place.  This is exactly what happened, and I was so pissed off about it..  I can't be mad at the place I bought it however, because this seems to be the norm.  How do you make the type of bread I'm talking about and why is it so rare?

Thanks in advance for all responses back....

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Baguette isn't.

I don't have a recipe for it, but it's basically an enriched French Bread (that doesn't use a preferment like poolish or pate fermentée) and is enriched with (brace yourself!) Crisco (or other brand) of unflavoured shortening (and sometimes milk and/or egg).

Po-boy bread is indeed "po" (in ingredients and flavour). It's one of those breads that goes from mixing to oven in 2 hours.


pmccool's picture

Po-boys and their buns have been discussed several times and some recipes have been provided.  You may find something that you like.


jcking's picture

Otherwise use the French Baguette you purchased ~ yet give it, prior to slicing, a good toasting to get a nice crispy crust. Hope you have a toaster oven.


cranbo's picture

Check Txfarmer's thread about Po-Boy bread...

I've had best success with the formula & technique in that thread. 

Why is it difficult? Frankly I think it has as much to do with professional baking technology as it has to do with the recipes themselves. I personally believe the trick is both appropriate proofing time, humidity and temp, and steam while baking. Flour type is important too. The problem is that it's tough to replicate the results of those technologies in a home baking environment to get a very specific product. 

In short, you can get pretty close, but you won't get there without some investment. Companies like Leidenheimer (the standard for poboy bread in NOLA) have significant investments in equipment, technology and years of research & tweaking to produce a consistent product with specific results.  

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified) my reply above.

I don't know why they steam as they do, but the process is a quick, 10-second steam (full steam), then venting, then another 10-second steam, and another venting. I think they repeat this three (or four) times, but they avoid extended steaming.

I'll fire off an email to a friend who makes/made them and see if he knows the reason. Seems like it wouldn't do much at all, but maybe the brief steaming is key to the crackly, but not-too-thick-or-chewy crust.

The crust that's most similar to Po-boy (and might be familiar to others here) is not too far from BBA's Pane Siciliano (which would be just about right if it was slightly softer). The thickness of that crust is spot on (i.e. not thick at all). The crumb of Pane Siciliano, however, is nothing like Po-boy, which is fluffy-light, almost cake-flour light.