The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

SF sourdough

hungryscholar's picture

Having grown up in San Jose, CA, SF sourdough is what I think of when I think sourdough and thanks to many posts on this site, especially the ones concerning Larraburu, such as this one: have given me a lot of inspiration and I feel like I'm getting closer to being able to get the sour I want without having it taste like whole wheat or rye. I've been keeping the mother starter at room temp and feeding it 1 part starter : 1 part water : 1 part AP : 1 part WW. I still don't have any clear flour, which seems to be what's providing the necessary ash content in the Larraburu formula, so I've been adding a portion of WW as a placeholder of sorts.

SFish Sourdough

50g stiff levain (refrigerated after refreshing the mother starter)

25 g whole wheat

275g KA all purpose

180g warm water (170g + 10g after 5-10 min. autolyze)

6g salt

I mixed everything but the salt and 10g of water and let it rest for 5-10 min. and then added the remaining ingredients and hand kneaded ( 5 minutes?) to combine. I let it rise in ther oven, aiming to keep temp around 86 F by alternating oven light on/off. After about 5 hours I did a few S&Fs, preshaped and rested for 5 minutes, and then shaped as a boule and proofed in a towel lined bowl back in the oven at the same temp for an additional 4.5 hours. Then I preheated oven and ceramic baking dish to 500 F. When I added the dough I dropped the oven to 425 F. Steamed for 20 minutes lid on and an additional 15-20 min. with the lid off.

The flavor was more or less spot on with what I was looking for, definitely sour without being too sour, and it still had good shape. I didn't use steam during proofing and the outside of the loaf got dry so that may have helped it keep the shape during the long proof.

Since there doesn't appear to be a poke test equivelant for pH or TTA, I'll confess I tried a tiny bit of the dough a few times as it was proofing. And I also tried out the method of putting a small piece of dough in water to see when it would be light enough to float. I also added some corn oil to try and gauge further change over a longer proofing time. For a while I thought it wouldn't work, but sure enough, soon after I had shaped the loaf the dough ball started to float. Strange dough blob in action photos below:


5 Hours:

6 Hours:

7 Hours:

8 Hours:

Still looking for a handheld TTA meter though...

linder's picture

Today, I made another run at David Snyder's San Francisco Sourdough.  Gosh, I love that bread  and it just gets tastier the longer it sits (although it doesn't sit too long).  I made two loaves today in order to bring one to share with my quilt group.  The ladies have commented on the bread I've been having with my lunch, so I thought that might be a broad hint to share a loaf or two.  We'll see how it goes over - if they enjoy it as much as we do at home there won't be much left.  Two large boules -

linder's picture

In keeping with my practice and hopeful improvement, I baked some more of David Snyder's SF Sourdough(using the 4th iteration of the formula).  Today, I got some great oven spring on the batard even with my awful scoring -

Here's the bread after its bake with steam in the oven -

linder's picture

San Francisco Sourdough Again

January 13, 2013 - 8:05am -- linder

I have been working on perfecting my technique in recreating David Snyder's formula for SF Sourdough he has posted on this site.  I love the taste of San Francisco sourdough bread and this formula is very much like the bread I know and love. 

Problems I've had in the past included not tightly shaping the dough, loaf not browning due to overproofing (my starter must be super active or something). 

ph_kosel's picture

I made a loaf of SF Sourdough for an Easter brunch, following Peter Reinhart's recipe in his book Artisan Bread Every Day.  In the past I've had extremely good luck with Reinhart's SF  Sourdough recipe in his other book Crust and Crumb but my supply of "mother starter" was a bit low and the recipe in Artisan Bread Every Day only calls for two ounces while the one in Crust and Crumb asks for .  Besides, I've been wanting to try the recipe in Artisan Bread Every Day anyway.

I mixed up the intermediate"wild yeast starter" Friday, the dough Saturday, and baked the loaf Sunday morning (keeping the starter and dough each overnight in the fridge between times). When I mixed up the dough it seemed too wet (perhaps I messed up the weights, I was working under pressure); the recipe says adjust consistency as needed so I added more flour until it seemed about right.  I fridged the dough up in a stainless bowl with a tight plastic lid.  I was a bit worried it might rise too much and pop the lid off but fridge space was limited.  In the morning the lid was, indeed, bulging a bit but it hadn't popped off.

I chose to just use all the dough to make a single big "miche" loaf because I didn't want to risk degassing the dough too much by dividing it.  It was probably the biggest loaf I've ever baked.

Here are photos of the result:



The loaf looks pretty good, and my wife and our guests seemed to like it quite a bit, but I found the taste and texture less satisfactory, less "yummy", than loaves I baked back in January using the recipe from Reinhart's Crust and Crumb.


Here's a photo from back in January:

Loaves and crumb from January 2011^

The more varied and irregular holes in the crumb of the January loaves is fairly obvious.  Not visible is a difference in taste and mouth-feel.  The January loaves as I recall were a bit moister, more tender perhaps, and had better taste.

I'm a bit bemused by the difference and curious about the cause.  The recipes are very similar, and the "mother culture" is the same.  One thing different is that in January I used King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour while in the current loaf I used a less expensive generic unbleached bread flour I got at the local Food Maxx market - both have the same labeled protein content.  The loaves in January included a bit of brown sugar in the dough per the Crust and Crumb recipe while the current loaf did not.  The January loaves were made exactly by weight according to the recipe while the latest included additional flour which I "eyeballed".  I'm not sure but I think there was a tad more salt in the January loaves.  Finally, the January loaves were retarded overnight "uncontrained" under plastic wrap while the current dough was retarded in a bowl with a tight fitting lid which restrained it's expansion.

Anyway, the two sourdough bakes tasted quite different to me, although others say they found the current effort highly satisfactory.  Go figure!

ehanner's picture

Today I made a second batch of the Multi fold, no knead bread Shiao-Ping as been working on and posting. I decided to make a few changes in concept to suit my style.I started with her SFSD post HERE and except for the yeast and flours and baking temp, followed that method.

First, instead of using yeast to rise the dough and sourdough starter to flavor it, I used a scant 1/4 teaspoon of yeast and relied on my robust starter to provide leavening. So it was a true sourdough loaf. Next time I'll skip the yeast totally.

Second, I added 5% rye flour to the dough mix. In the past I have found that even a small amount of rye helps the depth of flavor greatly. In this case I added 25g of whole rye.

Third, I found I needed an extra 30 minutes ferment time for the dough to feel right, so call it 4.75 hours ferment time total at 73 degrees F. That was also the dough temperature.

Forth, I gave the proof time 40 minutes. I'm not certain that I didn't over do that by a few minutes. The crust expanded well but the cuts got all weird like a cat fight happened on top. As usual scoring is my Achilles heel and the first thing to go.

Lastly, I wasn't happy with the chewiness of the crust yesterday baking for an hour  at 350F. Today I used 450F for 10 minutes, steamed and lowered the temp to 430 for another 20 minutes. The crust would have been more crisp had I left it in the oven for 5-10 minutes to dry. I may get a tattoo reminding me to stay on checklist. I like the crust much better today.

Overall, the flavor of the sourdough is mild and the overall taste is great. It is remarkable how creamy yellow the crumb is and how well the dough feels using only a plastic scraper to fold a few times. I think it is a safe statement that our mixers are oxygenating the dough and do nothing for flavor. Simple hand mixing and gently folding will develop gluten and deliver to your hands a very luxurious and satiny dough. I didn't pull a window pane but I assure you that this dough is the essence of gluten development.

I like the schedule of this bread. I started it at 8 AM and I'm eating it at 4 PM. My other Sourdough breads I usually start in the evening after dinner and get them in the oven around 10 AM. -12 PM. That's OK but I like the one day aspect. When I have time, I know I can make a good loaf on the day I think of it.

That's it. One day SF SD. Not the best bread I've ever made but pretty darn good for a one day project. No Mixer needed!


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