The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

San Francisco Sourdough

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Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

San Francisco Sourdough

I have been having problems with my San Francisco starter.  This is the only starter that I have used so far that is not home grown.  It is not as vigorous as what I am used to.  This is the third time I've used it to make sourdough but I'm still not getting the open crumb that I want.  I am documenting it because my husband claims that it is the best sourdough I've made so far.  He absolutely loved the flavor and could not stop raving about it.  He said "it's long in the palate, like wine."   


Our kids' God parents came tonight and I made roast pork leg for dinner.   There was only a little bit leftover and my husband said he couldn't wait to have roast pork sourdough sandwich with apple sauce tomorrow.   Another reason why he likes this sourdough is because the crust is not too crusty (thick crust hurts his gum?!).


Well, if it makes my family happy, I am happy.  So I am going to be "thick-skinned" and show this somewhat dense crumb here.  


 


         


          San Francisco Sourdough  


                         


                          The crumb  


 


For this sourdough, I tried to follow Leader's San Francisco Sourdough recipe (p. 212 - 215 of Bread Alone), but I had no patience.  A 29-hour procedure became 65 hours for me because I left it in the refrigerator for too long.   And maybe that is what contributed to the great flavor!  


 


Shiao-Ping

Comments

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Shiao-Ping,


I follow your blog entries almost daily, your off-the-beaten-path breads are delighful reads, and your photos are eye-candy. You color outside the lines, a behaviior I admire.


However, in this case I side with your husband. For me, flavor comes first and foremost, and, in most breads, I strive first, for a light, semi-dry chewy crumb, if it's closed like yours, that is perfectly acceptable to me, and those I share my bread with. I seldom eat bread alone. It is a platform, a handle, a perch for other delectables. I want the bread's flavor strong enough to play in the background, but I don't want its companions dropping in my lap through the too-many big holes. At the risk of offending, I think some bakers carry "open crumb" to the level of an affectation, demonstrating their dough manipulating skills, and fanning their egos. Give me flavor every time!


David G

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Hi David G


So, the word "color" is the verb in that sentence - I had to ask my husband to explain to me what it means (I had a rough idea what it might mean).   Thank YOU.  That is one of the highest praises I've ever got.  


It took me many years to work out, say, if I walk past a fashion boutique and the window display appeals to my tastes, chances are I would like that owner's choices season after season - there would be a high likelihood that there are clothes I would like in future too.  I am talking about minds that are of the same bent.


We are in a world that is more and more individualistic.  Cross-cultural fertilization sort of ideas attract me because they have not been explored in a big way.   The prospect is exciting to me.   If I have to cook three meals a day all the same every day, I would just quit.  


Thank you for your comment again.


Shiao-Ping


 


 

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Shiao-Ping,


I think food--three meals each day--is a natural place for cultures to meet, and mingle. We should feed each other more often, maybe we'd disagree less.


David G

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Shiao-Ping.


In my opinion, San Francisco sourdough is primarily about flavor, so, if the flavor is good, you are on-target.


As you surmised, the longer retardation will increase the acetic acid. If you want a thicker crust, you can get it. The crumb is actually pretty typical of SF sourdough.


Good job, I'd say.


David

Nomadcruiser53's picture
Nomadcruiser53

Hi Shiao-Ping. I also have to side with the flavor. Your crumb looks great to to me. I'm thinking that pork sandwich was worth waiting for. Dave

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

The flavor is what makes San Francisco sourdough what it is, and I vote for flavor also ! Your family loves it, you've got a winner! There is nothing wrong with the crumb either, very nice.


Betty

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

... I didn't know San Francisco Sourdough is primarily about flavor!  Thanks so much for all of your comments.  It's nice to know that I am not too far off the track.  I was going to chuck my SF starter!  Well, I will work on it for a few more times then.  Thanks.


Shiao-Ping

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Your bread does look like one type of the SFSD loaves available to us in the SF bay area so you should be pleased. The thin-crusted, closer crumb variety appears to be preferred by many out here, and, perhaps, as you say, because it is softer on the teeth and gums.


Nice loaf!


--Pamela

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Xaipete Pamela, Thank you for your feedback.  I shall have first hand experience sometime very soon.  Shiao-Ping

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

Hi Shiao-Ping,


That looks like a good open crumb to me!  Of course it depends on what you're shooting for. Did you want giant, ciabatta-like holes? Well, you can always make more than one kind!


Kent in Taiwan


 

Jean-Paul's picture
Jean-Paul

Did you see the movie "Joy Luck club"? At one point the mother-in-law comes out with her most prized dish and the family stops everything they're doing to rave about it as their way of acknowledging her love through cooking for them. She places it in front of the new son-in-law, who is not Chinese, and after he too tells her how delicious it looks, she says "Oh, it needs more salt". Not because it does, but because she should not seem to be too proud of a dish of food, even if this is her best one. So he grabs the soysauce and to the horror of the family and the new mother-in-law, begins to pour the salty soysauce over the mother's dish. So I'm reading your message and looking at the beautiful loaf you have, and am drooling as I think of how it's going to be (almost a week) before my starter and dough will be ready to cook up, and I see that your husband raving about it and you say the crumb isn't open enough ( i.e. "Oh, it needs more salt"). I'll just stop there and let Dr. Rorschach finish up here.

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Hi Jean-Paul


I couldn't stop laughing reading your comment.  When my husband and I got married some 20 odd years ago, sometimes I'd cook something and my husband would say, "that's delicious!" and I'd be saying, "Na-li, Na-li" which means literally "where, where" in English.   My husband doesn't understand Mandarin, so that's sort of a joke.  In Chinese etiquette, if someone praises you, you say, "where, where?"  It took me many, many years to simply accept compliments by saying "thank you."  For a Chinese, it is very hard. 


But, yeah, "Joy Luck Club," there is a lot of history in there - the by-gone days.  There is an area in Taipei (or Taibei, as Kent puts it) near National Taiwan University and National Normal University where there are small alley-ways lined with beautiful townhouses, full of history and culture, like the famous hoo-tungs in Beijing.  I don't know if you've ever seen a Taiwanese film directed by Ang Lee, "Eat Drink Man Woman" which was the first Taiwanese film to be chosen as the opening film at the Cannes Film Festival in 1994.  The father (in the film) is a retired Chinese master chef at the Grand Hotel once owned by Lady Chiang Kai-Shek.  The film features numerous scenes displaying the technique of gourmet Chinese cooking. Since the family members have difficulty expressing their love for one another, the intricate preparation of banquet quality dishes for their usual Sunday dinners serves as an unspoken expression of their love.  Another classic film.


Dr. rorscharch would say you interpret the scene pretty well - with one caveat, that this cook genuinely has an interest in knowing how things are supposed to be done (and look).


Thanks so much for your comment.


Shiao-Ping

davidg618's picture
davidg618

That movie has been on my top ten favorite movies list for years. Others have been bumped off, as newer movies have joined, but it remains.


David G

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Oh my Gosh, I wonder how poeple ever got to see films that are so non-main stream! 


Hi David G, that movie was filmed at one of those small alleyways townhouses that I mentioned in my previous comment to Jean-Paul.  During my last trip back in Taipei six months ago, I went strolling in that area and found many quaint little shops, one of which (not exactly quaint) is a great Boulangerie (all of their chefs are Japan trained) - a bit of old and new together!


 


Shiao-Ping