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New Orleans French Bread

This thin-crusted variety of French Bread— more commonly known as the Baguette, Po' Boy Loaf or Sunday Cap Bread—is fundamental to the New Orleans gastronomy. Each version of the French bread is slightly different. The baguette is the traditional 18-inch loaf that is served in many New Orleans restaurants. The Po' Boy, which is double the size of the baguette and is customarily stuffed with fried oysters, roast beef, or shrimp, was developed as a meal-in-a-sandwich for drivers during the New Orleans street car strike of 1927. The Sunday cap bread is traditionally served during Sunday dinners and is a 10-12 inch round loaf. All three styles of the fresh bread have soft, chewy and doughy centers encapsulates by a hard, crunchy crust. While the fresh bread is an ideal balance between its crusty and supple textures, within one day the bread becomes stale and unbreakable.

German and Italian immigrants originally created this vital part of New Orleans' cuisine and still own and operate bakeries that daily deliver bread to groceries, fine restaurants and neighborhood poor boy shops. Sadly, with the impact of Hurricane Katrina, many bakeries had to shut down their operations for an indeterminate amount of time, turning New Orleans French bread into a culinary rarity.

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