I'd appreciate your help in tracking down old-fashioned NYC Italian bread.
I'm about to make a New Orleans bread pudding, which calls for traditional New Orleans French bread. NOLA French bread is thin-crusted, and has a light, airy crumb.
When I moved to NYC in 1970, I used to make this recipe with NYC Italian loaves. While not as light as New Orleans French, Italian bread was a credible stand-in. Most importantly, the crust (sometimes sprinkled with sesame seeds) was neither thick nor chewy. Thick, chewy crusts or a chewy crumb make for a dense, heavy pudding.
Do any Manhattan bakeries still sell old-fashioned Italian bread? It used to be everywhere, but I haven't seen it in ages. Crusty "artisan" breads are easy to find, but I'm searching for a lighter, humbler loaf.
Thanks for the help!