The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Attempt to replicate Larraburu Bros. San Francisco Sourdough

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Attempt to replicate Larraburu Bros. San Francisco Sourdough

San Francisco Sourdough from Larraburu Brothers

as described in

https://www.aaccnet.org/publications/cc/backissues/1978/Documents/chem55_461.pdf

as interpreted by

David Snyder

February, 2019

Over many years, there has been much interest in reproducing the San Francisco Sourdough bread baked by Larraburu Brothers' bakery that closed in the early 1970's. The article referenced above seems the most likely accurate report available of Larraburu Brother's method. The following formula and methods have been extracted from that article, with a very few modifications as noted.

Total Dough

 

 

Ingredient

Wt (g)

Bakers' %

Bread flour (12% protein)

924

90

High gluten flour (14% protein)

100

10

Water

612

60

Salt

20

2

Total

1656

162

Note: I used King Arthur Flour AP flour (11.7% protein) and Breadtopia's "High Gluten Bread flour (14% protein).

 

Sponge

 

 

Ingredient

Wt (g)

Bakers' %

High gluten flour

100

100

Water

50

50

Active starter

50

50

Total

200

200

One day before baking the bread (e.g., before going to bed the night before you want to bake)

  1. Dissolve the starter in the water.

  2. Add the flour and mix thoroughly. Knead until all the flour is moistened.

  3. Place in a dry bowl and cover.

  4. Ferment at 80ºF for 9-10 hours

  5. Remove 50g of the fermented sponge and refrigerate for future use.

 

Final Dough

 

Ingredient

Wt (g)

Bread flour

924

Water

562

Salt

20

Sponge

150

Total

1656

Procedure

  1. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the water and sponge cut in pieces to soften the sponge.

  2. Mix the salt into the flour and add it to the mixing bowl.

  3. Mix the dough at slow speed to thoroughly mix the ingredients, then at medium speed to obtain medium gluten development. (A medium window pane.)

  4. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour. (Note: The article does not specify the temperature for this step. I think room temperature is most likely.)

  5. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Pre-shape as balls. Cover with a cloth and let rest for 10-30 minutes to relax the gluten. (Note: The 10-30 minute rest after pre-shaping is my addition, but it is “standard operating procedures” in most artisan bakeries.)

  6. Shape the pieces as boules or bâtards and place, seam-side up, in floured baskets or on a linen or parchment couche.

  7. Proof for 3-4 hours at 105ºF in a humid environment. (Note: I placed the formed loaves in bannetons and place the bannetons in food safe plastic bags and clip them shut. Then, I proofed the loaves in a Brød & Taylor proofing box.)

  8. One hour before baking, preheat the oven with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  9. Transfer the loaves to a peel and score as desired.

  10. Bake at 460ºF for 15 minutes with steam, then at 450ºF Convection bake for another 25 minutes in a dry oven. The loaves are done when thumping the bottom gives a “hollow sound,” the crust is nicely browned and the internal temperature of the loaves is 205ºF.

  11. Cool thoroughly before slicing.

Notes for future bake: Relatively dull crust suggests either over-proofing, insufficient steam or both.

The crumb was well-aerated, demonstrating adequate fermentation, but quite dense. It was essentially identical to other loaves I have baked with 50-60% hydration doughs. There is no danger of your jam falling through big holes onto your lap with this bread! The flavor was that of a French pain au levain - sweet and wheaty with only the subtlest lactic acid overtone. There was essentially no acetic acid tanginess. It's good white bread but not anything I would identify as "San Francisco Sourdough."

I could fiddle with the hydration and flour mix, I suppose, but I am not optimistic about the basic method ever hitting the target.

David

Comments

mikedilger's picture
mikedilger

Thanks for sharing another data point.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Looking forward to the crumb shot. Your diamond score makes for a beautiful loaf!

I updated my blog a day after cutting the loaf. I’m sad to say that the bread staled in one day. The flavor and texture changed for the worse over night. Do you think the relatively short fermentations produced the staling affect?

I agree with you. The bread I baked had no sharp, vinegary, acetic flavor what so ever. For me, that is a good thing.

Danny

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I think the premature staling is due to the low hydration.

I had some of my loaf for breakfast, toasted. It was fine, if rather boring. I suspect I will use the remaining bread for garlic bread, croutons and bread crumbs.

David

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

I was born in 1967, so Larraburu Bros. was probably gone before I ever knew it existed, but I'll wait patiently while you attempt to make the staple of my SD upbringing, Parisian extra sour (double extra?).  I wonder if I'd still like it as much as I did then.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Parisian was what I grew up with too. What good bread! The only similar bread I am aware of is what Boudin bakes for Tadich Grill. 

The result of my current bake bears no resemblance, sadly.

David

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

The sourness and softness was incredible.  Dabrownman also loved this bread.  As a child I would take the inside and mush it into a tight, doughy square.  Kinda gross, really.  I couple slices with extra sharp cheddar was heaven.

Boudin is a real tourist trap, but they are nonetheless pretty impressive.  Their baguettes are wildly crunchy with a tender crumb.

David R's picture
David R

Any speculation on ways the information we now have might be faulty or incomplete?

Or... Do you think this is the real deal already, and the real deal from that era is out of fashion these days?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

David R, I am a self confessed SD Freak. I have attempted numerous versions of the Larraburu SD, but not near as many a David Snyder and Dabrownman. I really should adopt Dab’s opinion that “this will not work”. When will I learn? I hope I just have...

There are other ways to bake great sour flavored sourdough using other formulas and various processes. For me, the essence of great “sour” sourdough tastes takes place during all of the fermentation stages (BF & proof). The duration of fermentation, and of vital importance, the temperature is of major importance. 

I look forward to reading the opinions of others...

Danny

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I think we don't have correct information or complete information.

David

David R's picture
David R

From the cursory reading I did, it appears that the way the information was collected was not the way you would choose to do it if your goal was to duplicate the bread. Whether that was by accident or by someone's choice, I have no idea.

Some things are so obviously "just part of life" that no one thinks to record them, until they're suddenly not part of life anymore, and we suddenly miss having them.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

This can't be the recipe because it does not produce Larraburu bread or even any SFSD bread from Parisian or Columbo - the one I lived by and ate most often.  Your SFSD quest that ended up at version 4 is very close to what I remember and my Larraburu revisited was also close.  Bit dense but bit huge open but moderately open with irregular holes and sour, with a shiny small blistered nicely brown crust but not really dark or bold that we might bake to today. I think earlier versions were darker baked in the 50's a Chad Robertson reports.  My attempts at this recipe came out worse than yours or Dan's but that us why our versions are so much better because we remember and know what it was like 

I think the shine would be there on this bread if it had a 30 minute autolyse and went into the oven at 2.5 hours  or when it it had proofed no more than 95%.  The dense crumb I too think is a direct function of the low hydration.  Amazing how great the 123 recipe is as far as SFSD goes and how bad this one is:-)  But Lucy messes with the 123 to make it even better too!  A little bit of whole grains 15% or so, a bran retarded levain at 10% prefermented four and 100% hydration, 75% hydration, 30 minute autolyse and a bulk retard makes this recipe and the 123 both way better and  close to the SFSD we remember not as well as we wish.  It is the sour that is the hardest to get right - tang and sour both.  A spritz and DO doesn't hurt either for the outside:-)  The one thong that I found out that works is the 425 F baking temperature.  We have come a long way since 1970 and show the mileage to prove it - at least i do anyway:-)

Nice posts David and Dan

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hmmmmm ... Might oughta revisit those old SFSD trials. Gonna take a look and see how I would tweak. I should have learned something more since those days!

David

David R's picture
David R

I (no experience) didn't realize that there are knowledgeable taste testers who remember and who can say with authority "No, I ate it more than once, and that's not what it was like". That makes a big difference.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I didn't live in San Francisco until I was an adult, but we visited very often while I was growing up, and we always ate sourdough bread, usually Parisian. You could also get bread in this style elsewhere in California, notably at the (late, lamented) Mediterranean Market in Carmel. My Sophomore year in college, my parents, as a birthday present or something, arranged for the Mediterranean Market to ship me a large loaf of sourdough bread once a week for 6 months. I made each loaf last a week.

Yes. I ate it more than once.

David

BurntMyFingers's picture
BurntMyFingers

I used to drive past the Larraburu bakery as i would come into San Francisco on 101 and loved the tangy baking smell from the ovens. I would always buy Larraburu over Parisian because I loved the sourness. Big holes were not something we paid much attention to in those days.

I tried a version of this recipe under less controlled circumstances than yours (I proofed it in an Instant Pot) and also found the crumb dense and the taste not particularly sour. Not likely to keep making it again.

My experience is described here: https://burntmyfingers.com/2018/12/25/recipe-instant-pot-sourdough-bread/

Otis

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Thanks, Otis. It seems the formula and method described as Larraburu Sourdough (Galal article) produces very consistent loaves. The bread is reported anywhere from dense to not open crumb and the biggie, no real sour flavor.

I have chased this rabbit too many times...

Otis, since you are familiar with the taste of Larraburu, please do your best to describe the bread in detail.

Danny