This is my go-to po boy bread dough recipe from the bread machine. No way am I enough of a baker to make a dough from scratch without a bread machine. I could never make something as good as this dough. It makes for the perfect po boy. The bread gets a nice crunchy, but thin, exterior. The insides are light, soft and airy.
I’ve made this po boy bread from a bread machine at least 30 times and every time it has come out great. Well, or it did after I got the hang of rolling it into a nice loaf shape. I also learned that cutting the slits isn’t just for making it pretty, the bread seems to keep a better shape.
To get the slits just right you need to use a very, very sharp knife. You don’t want to manhandle the dough cutting it. You want the knife to go through it effortlessly.
Check out The Southern Po’ Boy Cookbook for ideas on how to use your po boy bread. I love making the ham and Swiss po boy from the cookbook, among others!
Po Boy Bread from the Bread Machine
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 1 loaf
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons melted unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 cups plus a little more, if needed bread flour
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
For the glaze
- 1 egg white
- 1 teaspoon water
Place ingredients into your bread machine in the order listed.
Process on the dough settings. After 5-10 minutes check the consistency of the dough. It should be sticky but not stick to the sides. If it is too dry add water, but in 1/2 teaspoon increments. If it is too wet add more flour 1 teaspoon at at time.
When the dough cycle is completed remove the dough to a lightly floured surface.
Roll the dough out into a rectangle that is approximately 16" wide and 12" deep.
Roll up the dough along the long edge.
Pinch the seam and ends closed and place onto a lightly greased baking sheet, seam-side down.
Cover with a cheesecloth and place into a warm place to rise until doubled, about an hour.
After about 30 minutes of rising preheat your oven to 425 F.
Uncover the bread and, using a very sharp knife, make a few 1/2" deep slits along the top of the dough, about 2" apart.
Whisk together the glaze ingredients and brush over the top of the dough.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Reduce the temperature to 350 F and bake another 5-10 minutes or until golden brown.
Let cool slightly before slicing.
Don’t let the fact that this French bread pizza rustica doesn’t have a sauce on it throw you off. Every bite is incredible. All of your favorite toppings, but with a little twist. Spinach. Yes, spinach. You can play around with the toppings, substituting whatever suits your fancy, but don’t leave out the spinach.
I’ve found variations on this French bread pizza rustica online, and some have you cook the vegetables a bit before putting them onto the bread. I opted to skip that step. We found the slightly crunchy (they do cook a bit in the oven) vegetables to be perfect. If you do want to cook the vegetables, just add to the skillet after you cook the Italian sausage and saute for about 5 minutes.
Also make my baked Italian sub pizza.
French Bread Pizza Rustica
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 -6 servings
- 1 large loaf French bread
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 small red bell pepper seeded, chopped
- 1/2 small green bell pepper seeded, chopped
- 1 small red onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 12 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, squeezed dry
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups Ricotta
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 stick pepperoni chopped
- 4 cups shredded Mozzarella and Provolone cheese mixture
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon or more dried red pepper flakes
Preheat your oven to 425 F.
Split the bread lengthwise. Optionally, hollow out the loaf by removing some of the bread. Love toppings? Hollow it out. Want less topping? Don't hollow it out. (You might have topping left over).
Crumble sausage into a large skillet with the oil and cook until done.
Remove and let cool. Optionally, transfer sausage to a food processor and pulse a few times to make the meat finer.
Transfer meat to a large bowl.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir.
Spread mixture out onto the bread halves.
Place bread on baking sheets and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the bread is crunchy and the cheese starts to melt. Place under the broiler to brown lightly if desired.
We’ve been enjoying a somewhat mild winter here so far. We did have a few nights where it got a little cold, which means time to make comfort food. This simple stuffed French bread really packs a lot of great flavor in every bite, and it is definitely what I’d call comfort food. The meat filling is really quite incredibly yummy. It sort of reminds me of the flavors of a beef stroganoff. The French bread holds up well to the mixture. A lesser bread just isn’t going to do here, unless you want to serve it open-faced (which is actually a pretty good idea now that I think about it).
I love the extra sharp cheddar melted on top of these stuffed French bread sandwiches, but you could certainly use any other good melting cheese. I think a nice smoky provolone would be perfect also, as would Swiss or mozzarella.
Also try my shrimp-stuffed bread.
Stuffed French Bread
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings
- 1 loaf French bread split horizontally, most of the center removed
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 tablespoons sweet onion. minced
- 1/2 cup celery chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 tablespoon parsley chopped
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Place bread halves on a baking sheet.
Brown the ground beef in a skillet.
Add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes.
Drain any excess fat.
Add celery and cook until it starts to soften.
Add the garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add the soup, milk and Worcestershire sauce.
Stir and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook until mixture is heated through.
Pour mixture into bottom bread half and spread out evenly.
Add cheese and add bread top.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden and crispy.
Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.