How to Make San Francisco Sourdough Bread at Home: A Step-by-Step Recipe with History and Tips.

Introduction for San Francisco Sourdough Bread

San Francisco sourdough bread has a long and interesting history that dates back to the Gold Rush era of the mid-19th century. During this time, many people from around the world flocked to San Francisco in search of fortune and adventure. Along with them, they brought their unique cultures and culinary traditions, including their bread-making techniques.San Francisco Sourdough Bread

One of the most important ingredients in San Francisco sourdough bread is the sourdough starter, which is a mixture of flour and water that has been fermented with wild yeasts and bacteria. These microorganisms give the bread its distinctive tangy flavor and chewy texture. The San Francisco sourdough starter is said to be unique due to the local environment and microorganisms present in the region.

In the early days of San Francisco, there were many bakeries that specialized in sourdough bread. These bakeries were an important part of the community, as bread was a staple food for many people at the time. They would often trade sourdough starter with each other, and the starter would become a sort of family heirloom, passed down from generation to generation.

During the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and subsequent fires, many of the city’s buildings and businesses were destroyed, including the sourdough bakeries. However, some of the bakers were able to salvage their sourdough starters, which they kept alive by feeding them and keeping them warm. These starters were then used to rebuild the city’s sourdough bread industry.

Today, San Francisco sourdough bread is still a beloved staple of the city’s culinary scene. It is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, and can be found in many bakeries and restaurants throughout the city. The bread’s unique history and cultural significance make it an important part of San Francisco’s identity and heritage.

San Francisco sourdough bread is a tangy, chewy bread that is known for its distinctive flavor and texture. The recipe can be a bit involved, but the end result is definitely worth it.

Here is a recipe for San Francisco sourdough bread:


  • 1 cup sourdough starter (at room temperature)
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons salt


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sourdough starter, bread flour, and warm water. Mix until the dough comes together and is smooth.
  2. Add the salt to the dough and mix until it is well incorporated.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
  5. Punch down the dough and shape it into a round loaf. Place the loaf on a floured baking sheet or in a lightly oiled Dutch oven.
  6. Cover the loaf with a clean towel and let it rise for another 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
  7. Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C).
  8. Use a sharp knife or razor blade to score the top of the loaf with a cross or other pattern.
  9. Bake the loaf for 30-35 minutes, or until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  10. Allow the bread to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.


San Francisco sourdough bread is a delicious and iconic bread with a rich history that dates back to the Gold Rush era. Its tangy flavor and chewy texture are the result of a unique sourdough starter that has been passed down through generations of bakers in San Francisco. While the recipe can be a bit involved, the end result is definitely worth it. By following the steps outlined above, you can make your own San Francisco sourdough bread at home and enjoy a taste of this beloved culinary tradition.

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