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.
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 2 (1/4-oz.) packages active dry yeast
- 2 tbsp. vegetable shortening
- 6 cups bread flour
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.