The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

San Fransisco style bread machine flour?

tea berries's picture
tea berries

San Fransisco style bread machine flour?

Hi everyone, as some of you have read I'm a beginner and making my own starter at home. For pictures and info on that topic, here's the link: 

So today we went grocery shopping, and dropped by the nearest company that sells basically everything you could ever dream of for baking (especially sweets, cakes, etc. but also breads) by bulk. It's called "bulk barn". I went straight to the flour isle and saw two top contenders for purchase to either add to or begin a brand new starter. The first, and obvious choice was the dark rye flour. The second option, which I also picked up some of, was called "San Francisco style sourdough bread machine flour" (the San Francisco part was on the main container at the store). To help with all the potential questions that might be asked by the reader to really identify what this is, I took a picture that will help:

So I guess what I need to know is… what is this stuff? Seems like a pre-mixed bread flour that's supposed to taste like sourdough even though you just add water and instant yeast and bake. Can I make starter out of it? What ingredient makes it taste like sourdough? Is it high quality bread flour, or just a mix for people who want to cheat and make fake sourdough? I'd appreciate any advice you can give on the best use for it, considering I have no bread machine… I just figured maybe I can still work with it and since flour doesn't generally break the bank, it was worth having vs. not having considering I've been struggling with my starter. Thanks and God Bless!

isand66's picture

It is definitely a pre-mixed bread machine mix.  If you are trying to make your own wholesome bread, you don't need this and I would stay away from it.  You can't make real sourdough from a mix and as you can read there are plenty of additives that are completely unnecessary to make good bread.  If you are making your own starter, all you need is some flour, water, salt and your starter and you are good to go.

mini_maggie's picture

Cheater's fake sourdough mix would be a good description, lol.

No, you wouldn't want to use it in a starter.   It's a mix containing flour, not a flour per se.

If you've already bought it and don't have a bread machine, you can still make bread with it following the directions re: water and yeast amounts.  Just mix and knead by hand, give it two or three rises between punch downs and bake in the oven.

tea berries's picture
tea berries

I'm sure I'll just keep it around to use when we have guests over so I can produce some fast sourdough garlic bread or something. :) 

squarehead's picture

I would say do not use that pre-mix when building your starter's yeast colony and LAB levels.  There are a lot of chemicals in that pre-mix most likely designed to give an artificial "sour" and others that are likely binders and preservatives. All of these chemicals may have a detrimental effect on the health of your starter. I struggled with my starter for about 2 years trying different feeding schedules but what I have found that worked for me was to feed your mother twice a day and maintain a tiny mother to minimize your loss with each feeding. Hope this helps and good luck.