The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

san francisco dourdough bread

dmsnyder's picture

We are visiting our son in Las Vegas for Thanksgiving, and I'm introducing him to sourdough baking. This has entailed three challenges. The first is the demands of baking with a houseful of family. This is wonderful, but the scheduling complexity is greater by several orders of magnitude. The second is that Joel does not have a mixer. This is a very minor issue, but it does require adapting some recipes I am accustomed to making with machine mixing. The third challenge is baking in a gas oven. This is a new experience for me and, from my reading of TFL topics over the years, a challenge to many.

Yesterday, Joel and I made a large loaf of my San Francisco-style Sourdough. I followed my usual formula (see My San Francisco Sourdough Quest, Take 4) with the following changes:

1. Mix the flours and water in a bowl with a spatula and autolyse for 30 minutes.

2. Add the salt and levain and mix well using stretch and fold in the bowl.

3. Stretch and fold in the bowl x 2 at 30 minute intervals.

4. Stretch and fold on the bench x 2 at 30 minute intervals.

5. Ferment without molestation for another hour.

6. Pre-shape and shape one 1 kg batard. 

7. Proof for 2 hours en couche.

8. Bake at 450 dF for 35 minutes steaming for the first 15 minutes using Sylvia's method (towels in loaf pans, saturated with boiling water.)

Here are some results (I couldn't get a photo before Joel had cut the loaf after cooling.):

Even using two towels in loaf pans, the crust was rather dull, suggesting sub-optimal oven steaming. However, oven spring was satisfactory. The crumb structure was more open than usual and a bit less chewy. I judge it better than acceptable. Note that I did not retard the loaves, so the flavor was minimally sour but very nice - more like a good French pain au levain than a San Francisco Sourdough.

The results were good enough to warrent baking more hand-mixed SFSD's after I get home to my own oven.

I hope everyone had as nice a Thanksgiving as I did.


dmsnyder's picture

I'm fighting a nasty cold. I don't have the snowstorm excuse to stay shut in and bake bread, so ... whatever. 

I baked the San Francisco Sourdough from Michel Suas' "Advanced Bread & Pastry" again. Delicious, and not at all aggressively sour.


I also made Italian Bread with biga naturale - my sourdough version of Peter Reinhart's "Italian Bread" in BBA, which uses a yeasted biga.

I like this bread a lot (my version, not PR's). The formula has been posted in a previous blog entry, Sourdough Italian Bread and Sandwich Rolls. I'd been meaning to make it with some Durum flour after my last bake, and I finally got around to it. I substituted  25% of the total "Bread Flour" with Durum flour. Good choice.

This bread is similar to Maggie Glazer's Sourdough Challah in that it combines a slightly sweet dough with a mild sourdough tang. I definitely like this combination of flavors.

I mixed the biga last night and let it ferment over-night. I mixed the dough this morning after I got "activated' ... 10:30 am? It was baked, cooled and ready for dinner at 7:30 pm.

My formula for Sunday-morning-with-a-cold activation:

It took two this morning.


Submitted to YeastSpotting

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