foods and cuisines

San Francisco sourdough bread | The bread that’s so iconic, it’s synonymous with San Francisco

San Francisco sourdough bread

Sourdough is as old as the pyramids and not coincidentally was eaten in ancient Egypt. But the hands-down American favorite, and the sourest variety, comes from San Francisco.

As much a part of NoCal culinary culture as Napa Valley wine, sourdough bread has been a staple since Gold Rush days. Once upon a frontier time, miners (called “sourdoughs” for surviving on the stuff) and settlers carried sourdough starter (more reliable than other leavening) in pouches around their necks or on their belts.

Why do we call sourdough bread San Francisco sourdough?

Their tangy, funky bread became so closely associated with frontier life that veteran miners were called “sourdoughs.” And supposedly, when the 49ers shared their culinary creation with newly-emigrated European bakers in the city, the famous San Francisco sourdough loaf was born.

Is sourdough bread healthier than most bread?

Scientists, nutritionists, and health experts all agree that naturally-fermented sourdough bread is healthier than ‘regular’ white or whole wheat bread – for a multitude of reasons! Sourdough is more nutritious, easier to digest, and has a lower glycemic index. Sourdough also contains less gluten than other bread.

Does sourdough have sugar?

Sourdough bread doesn’t contain sugar, while ordinary sandwich bread often does. Otherwise, the macronutrients depend on the kind of flour used. Whole wheat flour will generally contain more fiber than white flour. Enriched flour will also have vitamins and minerals to offer.

How long does sourdough bread last?

Around 3 to 5 days
Wondering how long does sourdough bread last? Sourdough bread will last for around 3 to 5 days if wrapped and stored correctly. But to enjoy sourdough at its best, it’s recommended to consume it within 24 hours. This way you can enjoy that crispy crust and soft, airy interior at its best.

What are the benefits of eating sourdough bread?

Sourdough has made a comeback—and for good reason. It’s packed with nutrients, healthy carbs, protein, fiber, iron and vitamins like folate. It can improve digestion, lower chronic disease risk and even promote healthy aging.

Does sourdough raise blood sugar?

Lower glycemic index: Sourdough bread has a lower glycemic index (54) than commercial bread (71). That means sourdough bread does not raise blood sugar levels as rapidly as refined white bread.

How much sourdough bread should you eat a day?

How much sourdough bread is a healthy amount to consume in a day? It is currently recommended to consume 6 servings of grains per day. One sourdough slice of bread is equal to one serving.

Why is sourdough bread not fattening?

Sourdough bread contains less calories and carbohydrates than other breads like for like, because some of the starches and sugars are consumed during the fermentation period.

Does sourdough put on weight?

Beneficial bacteria and low phytates make sourdough bread easy to digest, and they may also help with weight loss.

Does sourdough bread have gluten?

Sourdough is not gluten free, but we know that many people with IBS, gluten intolerance, or gluten sensitivity can tolerate sourdough bread. This is because the methods used to make sourdough break down some of the gluten in the flour so it is easier to digest. Think of sourdough as low-gluten rather than gluten-free

Sourdough Bread Recipe

Step 1 – Sourdough starter

For this recipe, you’ll need a sourdough starter, which is a small amount of fermented dough made with natural bacteria and yeast. If you can’t get one from your local bakery or a friend, you can make one by combining 35g flour and 60g water together and letting the mixture sit out on the counter (covered) for at least a day.

To begin your sourdough bread dough, you need to first feed and activate your starter:

  • If at room temperature, mix 10g starter, 100g lukewarm water (about 29°C) and 100g rye flour in a small container, and repeat every day until ready to use (for at least two weeks if making your own starter from scratch).
  • If in the fridge, mix 10g starter, 90g lukewarm water (about 29°C) and 100g rye flour, and feed once every week; then two to three days before making your preferment (see next step), take out of the fridge and keep at room temperature, feeding daily until ready to use.

The starter is ready to use around 12-24 hours after the last feeding. When your starter is ready, it should smell yogurty and pleasantly sour, have a good amount of bubbles, and pass “the float test” by dropping a tablespoon of starter in water: if it floats, it’s ready.

Step 2 – Preferment

Mix together 20g active starter, 90g whole wheat flour and 90g lukewarm water. Be sure to do this 12-24 hours before you plan to mix your dough (see next step). By that time, it should be nice and bubbly and look like thick pancake batter. And again, use the float test to make sure it’s ready.

You can control your preferment’s pace by controlling the temperature of the water and where you place the mixture in your home; try to keep the mixture between 24-29°C.

Step 3 – Mixing the dough

200g active starter
500g wholegrain wheat flour
500g bread flour
800g warm water (29°C)
20g sea salt

Mix together everything except the salt and about 100g of the water until no dry spots remain. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes. Control the fermentation speed by again controlling the temperatures of the water and dough; keep dough ideally around 26-28°C.

Add the remaining water and salt, and mix. Let dough rest for another 30 minutes.

Keeping dough in the bowl, stretch and fold it upwards while rotating the bowl to give it strength and redistribute the yeast and warmth. When it starts to tear, it’s ready to rest. Repeat two more times at 30- to 45-minute intervals. Let it rest for another 20 minutes before s

Step 4 – Shaping the loaves

When your dough is nice and billowy (about 1.5x the volume), it’s ready for shaping.

Lightly flour your surface and gently drop out your dough. Divide in half (to make two loaves).

Fold up the bottom of each piece of dough 2/3rds the way, and then stretch the top and fold down 2/3rds, like a three-fold letter going into an envelope.

Rotate the one of the pieces of dough 90° so the seam is vertical; if the seam is too far to one side, just shimmy it back towards the middle. Roll the dough from the top towards you and end when the seam faces you, then seal it on all sides by using the palm of your hand to press together the seam. Repeat with other piece of dough.

Dust dough lightly with flour, then use a bench scraper to pick up one piece of dough (keeping all the tension in the dough), and place it seam-side up inside a lightly floured basket or bowl to rest. Repeat with other piece of dough.

Leave the loaves out on the counter at room temperature (uncovered) for 2-3 hours, or in the fridge for 10-20 hours, until the they have risen by about 1.5x.

Step 5 – Baking

Heat oven to 245°C; also preheat your cast iron Dutch oven or baking stone.

Gently drop your dough out of its basket onto parchment paper or a cutting board. Carefully score the top of the dough with a lame (or sharp knife or scissors) and place it into your Dutch oven or onto your baking stone with the seam facing down. Cover immediately to keep steam in (if using a baking stone, you can cover with a metal bowl). Repeat with second loaf.

Note: If you don’t have a Dutch oven or baking stone, you can bake your bread in an oiled loaf pan; just be sure to cover it with foil, leaving a tented space for the dough to rise while baking.

Bake loaves for 20 minutes and then uncover (carefully as the steam will be hot!). Bake for another 30-40 minutes or until bread registers 88-96°C.

Let bread rest for at least 30 minutes to finish baking internally and cool down. Then have a feast and share the bread with someone you love.

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