New Orleans French Bread
Known for its irresistibly crunchy crust and sparse crumb, this bread is the ideal po'boy canvas, or cut it into quarters and serve with crab maison.
Enlarge Image Credit: Anna Stockwell2 tbsp. sugar
2 1/4-oz. packages active dry yeast
2 tbsp. vegetable shortening
6 cups bread flour
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1. Place 1 tbsp. sugar, yeast, and 2 cups water heated to 115° in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add remaining sugar and shortening, and then add flour and salt. Mix on low speed until dough forms; increase speed to medium-high and knead dough until smooth, 8–10 minutes. Remove bowl from mixer and cover with plastic wrap; let sit until doubled in size, 1 1/2–2 hours.
2. Uncover dough and transfer to a floured work surface; knead briefly to form a ball. Divide dough into quarters and shape each quarter into a 16"-long thick rope. Place two ropes each on a parchment paper-lined baking sheets, and cover with plastic wrap; let sit until doubled in size, 1–1 1/2 hours.
3. Heat oven to 375°. Using a sharp knife or cutting blade, slash a long line down the middle of each loaf. Bake loaves until light brown and an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of each loaf reads between 208°–212°, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
MAKES 4 LOAVES