Bread with Backbone

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poboy_bread.jpg

Once, the president of the wonderful local Leidemheimer Baking Co., producers of my favorite New Orleans-style po-boy loaves, told me he had trouble selling his bread in north Louisiana because would-be customers thought it was stale.

It wasn't stale, of course, but just as New Orleans po-boy bread is supposed to be – crisp-crusted and airy. That's not the case in a lot of other Louisiana communities, where restaurants commonly make "po-boys" on very ordinary rolls, something closer to sandwich bread or hot dog buns than our French bread.

I found a package of the stuff at a Breaux Bridge grocery store labeled "po-boy bread," right there in big blue letters, but a test squeeze found it just as squishy as a roll of Charmin.

Real New Orleans-style po-boy loaves, by comparison, can stand up to some of the most soggy fillings known to sandwich makers and still maintain a crackle through the crust all the way through the meal. Exhibit A (pictured above): when you can fill a loaf with French fries, gravy, tomatoes and mayo and the bread steps up to the task, you know you're in New Orleans.

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