This bread is definitely Southern, although more Southern France than Southern US. Strangely enough, it is only a couple of ingredients away from being identical to Creole French bread, which, as I have noted, is more Italian than French.
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 cup Flour
1 tablespoon non-fat dry Milk
3/4 cup warm Water
Mix these by hand or with a stand mixer. Also mix together in a measuring cup-
2 teaspoons dry Yeast
1 tablespoon warm Water
1 tablespoon Maple Syrup (this is a substitute for Malt Syrup)
Let the yeast mixture rise in a measuring cup, until it reaches a volume of about one cup , then mix thoroughly with the flour mixture. Knead by hand or with a stand mixer. When the dough stops sticking to your oiled fingers, transfer to a bowl to rise–a wooden dough bowl is traditional in the South. After an hour or more of rising, form the loaves into the shape of your choosing–I like baguettes. Lately I have been cooking mine at 450 degrees F.
The recipe comes from the The Breads af France by Bernard Clayton Jr, and it has replaced the Picayune Creole Cookbook on my kitchen cookbook stand. It’s that good. As Clayton notes, Monaco, all 400+ acres of it, is highly influenced by its proximity to Italy, and thus we have the addition of oil to the bread, which fortifies it. Take away that and the milk powder, and you have Creole bread. However, when it comes to this style of French/Italian/New Orleans bread, there is only one thing to say about it–it’s all good.