Po Boy Bread
- 2 c water (100F-105F; not more than 110F)
- 2 T active dry yeast
- 2 T Sugar (Granulated)
- 6 c Flour (Strong Bread)
- 1 T Salt (Table)
- 2 T shortening (or tallow, lard, or bacon grease)
Mix water, yeast, and sugar; let stand for ten minutes. Combine rest of ingredients and mix until combined. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes (if you're not familiar with breadmaking, look for a good tutorial on the net to cover it). Let rise for 60 minutes.
Punch down, and divide into 4 balls. Roll each of these into loaves approximately 2" x 12" (give or take). Cover with damp rag; let rise for 90 minutes.
Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until done. Slice lengthwise at a beveled angle.
Notes from source: Halve the recipe if you want to get a more manageable 2 loaves. Each is still going to be big enough for a VERY big meal, so don't underestimate the yield.
Traditionally po' boy bread is almost impossible to get right; it's made with white flour, lots of yeast, and contains a good amount of tallow or shortening for texture. Heavy leavening produces a bread that is strong, almost beery in taste, light in texture, soft on the inside and flaky and crumbly on the outside.
If you're not lucky enough to live near a store that stocks Leidenheimer breadt, any decent baguette with similar properties will do. Panini is a bit different from the traditional loaf, but works very well in my experience. Or, you can avoid shopping around and try this recipe.
SJ Notes: I don't always make this bread for the po boys, but when I do it's worth it. Very tasty, and the texture is great. When I skip making the bread, panini is readily available here and works just fine.