I finally got a reasonably good New Orleans French bread for Po boys. Thanks to wmessin for the link. Also, thanks to ehanner for the beef recipe. I have had the real thing vacationing in Louisiana several times, and I really have a hard time making a similar bread. Excuse the pics...I am not a photographer.
The basic recipe came from http://mariana-aga.livejournal.com/24667.html
But I did change it a little...it was vague in places. I think the orginal recipe is from Lee Bailey's New Orleans Good Food and Glorious Houses, but I haven't checked the book out.
New Orleans' French Bread
(makes 4 loaves)
6 1/2 cups bread flour (I substituted 1 cup ww without any problems)
4 tsp instant yeast
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
2 cups water
2 Tbsp butter flavored crisco
I made a sponge with 4 cups bread flour, 2 cups water, 1 tsp yeast. Let rise for two hours, nice and puffy (this is where you get your flavor). Add all other ingredients and adjust the water (I had to add a little over 1/3 cup of water, because it was way too dry). Knead in the mixer for 10 min until smooth and elastic (It cleared the bowl). Let rise in bowl until doubled. This won't take long, because there is a lot of yeast, but I didn't want to reduce it too much, because I think you want it a little over proofed to get the light crust and crumb. I let it go an hour. Shape four equal balls, and let rest 15 min. Shape four loaves and let them rise under a wet towel for less than an hour, until about doubled (I used a half sheet pan with semolina flour on it). Bake for 30-35 min at 375, with steam for the first 15-20 min. Bake until taps on the bottom sound hollow.
Very good! Soft moist crumb like I remember from Louisiana. Most of the breads I have tried have been too dry. Thin crispy crust, and very flavorful.
Here's a pic of the package of bread we had last year in Louisiana: