San Francisco Sourdough Recipe – Amazing SF Bread Style HERE

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If you’re an avid sourdough baker, then chances are you’ve heard of the brilliant San Francisco sourdough bread. Many of us have desperately attempted to recreate the soft, tangy sourdough loaf to the best of our ability, and if you have been struggling to achieve the right outcome, then I’m here to help! My San Francisco-style sourdough bread recipe will surely have you achieving perfectly baked loaves, with the perfect SF tang!

San francisco sourdough recipe

Table of Contents

What is San Francisco Style Sourdough Bread?

A classic San Francisco-style sourdough loaf is much tangier compared to regular sourdough bread. Generally, to achieve a true San Francisco-style sourdough bread you’ll need a special starter from San Francisco!

What Makes San Francisco Sourdough Bread Different?

A regular loaf of sourdough bread gets its deep tangy flavor from the lactic acid and acetic acid produced in sourdough starters, which are extracted from the environment they sit in. Sourdough manages to pluck flavors from its own environment, contributing to varying levels of tanginess in the loaf. Similarly, San Francisco has its own unique taste thanks to the tasty bacteria.

San francisco sourdough recipe

San Francisco Sourdough Recipe

This incredible San Francisco Sourdough bread recipe is brimming with unique sourdough flavor, thanks to the fed sourdough starter.

It has a thick and chewy texture, perfect for making crispy grilled cheese sandwiches for breakfast!

  • Type: Bread
  • Cuisine: American
  • Recipe yield: 1 loaf, 12 servings
  • Calories: 188kcal
  • Preparation time: 6 hours
  • Cooking time: 45 minutes
  • Additional time: 1 day
  • Total time: 1 day, 6 hours, 45 minutes

The Starter

  • 4 oz. sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 4 oz. of bread flour
  • 4 oz. water

San Francisco Sourdough Ingredients

  • 8 oz. water
  • 12 oz. pre-fermented starter
  • 16 oz. bread flour or wheat flour (you can also use grain flour, whole grain flour, or rye flour if you wish, depending on what was used in the starter)
  • ½ tbsp. salt

San Francisco Sourdough Bread Method

Combine all the ingredients for the pre-fermented starter in a medium bowl, and leave it to rest overnight, covered, at room temperature (80F).

  1. The next day, pour room-temperature water into the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the San Francisco starter and gently break it up with a wooden spoon, stirring until dissolved.
  2. Add 1 cup of bread flour and salt, mixing until everything is well combined.
  3. Place the dough hook attachment on the mixer and gradually add the remaining flour into the mixer bowl, until the dough starts to separate from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Knead the dough for 12 minutes on medium speed, then transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough using your hands. You don’t have to knead so much during this step, as you are only attempting to gather the dough for the next step.
  5. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.
  6. Remove the plastic cover and stretch the dough out, then fold it over itself. Grab the section of dough that is furthest away from you, stretch it up and out, then fold it back into the center of the dough.
  7. Rotate the bowl 90 degrees to the right, then grab the next portion of dough that is furthest away from you and repeat the stretch and fold exercise.
  8. Repeat this twice more, rotating the bowl each time, until you have stretched and folded every part of the dough.
  9. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for another 45 minutes.
  10. Repeat the stretch and fold process, then cover and rise for 60 minutes.
  11. Place the expanded dough over a lightly floured portion of parchment paper, and carefully form the dough into a ball.
  12. Let the dough ball rise for 45 minutes.
  13. Shape the dough into a long loaf. Stretch the dough into a curved square shape. Lift the top two corners of the dough and fold them into the center of the dough. Lift the bottom corners of the dough and fold them up into the center, overlapping the previous edge.
  14. Bring the edges into the center, then turn the dough and carefully roll the dough into a log. Tuck the ends of the log underneath the dough so they’re out of sight. Ensure that the seam side is down.
  15. Let the dough proof for 1 hour, on parchment paper, at room temperature. The dough won’t double in size, instead, it will become puffier.
  16. Cover the dough with a dish towel and place the dough in the fridge overnight.
  17. Place a small metal baking tray on the bottom rack of the oven (this will help generate steam while you bake, and produce a loaf with a great chewy texture). Place a baking stone or pizza stone on the rack above it. You can skip this step and use a Dutch oven instead, depending on how you shaped your loaves.
  18. Remove the shaped loaf from the refrigerator, and preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  19. Meanwhile, score your bread with a sharp knife or blade. Carefully transfer the dough with the parchment paper onto the baking stone. Toss a few ice cubes into the baking tray below, to create some steam. Bake the san Francisco sourdough bread for 10 minutes.
  20. Then reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 35 minutes.
  21. Transfer the baked loaf onto a wire rack to cool completely for several hours before slicing.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 188kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 38g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Fat: 0g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g

What to Serve With San Francisco Sourdough Bread

San Francisco’s sourdough bread can be eaten exactly the same as you would eat regular sourdough bread. And since this version of sourdough is even more tangier, you can pair this with the simplest of dinners for ultimate deliciousness. Some of my favorite San Fran sourdough accompaniments are outlined below:

  • Grilled cheese sandwich
  • Tomato basil soup
  • Lentil soup
  • French toast
  • Butter

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

A classic grilled cheese sandwich doesn’t get any better than this. If you love a sourdough grilled cheese sandwich, wait till you try this version! With an even tangier bread, paired with your choice of cheese, and green onions for extra flavor, makes the ultimate brunch or lunchtime treat.

Simply pluck 2 slices of sourdough bread, and butter both pieces on one side. Grab your favorite cheese, I prefer grated cheddar, and sprinkle a generous helping of cheese over one slice of sourdough bread. Roughly chop some green onions and dash them over the grated cheese.

Place the other slice of bread and place it butter side down, over the cheese bread. Coat the top side of the bread in mayonnaise, then flip and place on a cast iron skillet. Repeat with the other side, until you have a perfectly golden masterpiece.

Tomato Basil Soup

As the cold wraps us in its icy embrace, warm stews like this tomato and basil soup make the perfect evening treat. Simply combine juicy tomatoes with tinned tomatoes to make this hearty soup, that’ll have you warmed up in no time!

Serve this with buttered slices of San Fran sourdough bread for a perfectly crisp and tangy accompaniment.

Lentil Soup

One of my favorite soups to have during the cold season is a scrumptious and effortlessly flavorful lentil soup. The soft lentils complement any type of bread perfectly, but the crisper the better!

French Toast

If you’re like me and take breakfast time seriously, then you’ll love this San Fran style French toast. Don’t be afraid to work with the tangy flavors, because they pair so well with sweet and spicy flavors. I like to add a smidge of cinnamon powder for a sweet and spicy punch.

Top your delicious French toasts with a sweet glaze, and your choice of fruits for the ultimate breakfast time treat!

Butter

While butter may seem like the simplest option on the list, it might be the best one yet, especially if you’re looking to indulge in some of the natural sourdough flavors, without too much interruption!

Simply heat, spread and devour!

More Sourdough Recipes

Hungry for more bread baking goodies? Try some of these scrumptious sourdough treats for a truly satiating feast!

San Francisco Sourdough

This scrumptious San Francisco sourdough recipe makes the perfect weekend treat to have with any type of dish you fancy. So why not try it today!

San Francisco Sourdough Recipe – FAQs

What Makes San Francisco Sourdough Bread Different?

San Francisco’s foggy climate happens to be a perfect environment for wild yeast cells and naturally occurring bacteria, providing sourdough with a distinct sour flavor.

What is The Difference Between Sourdough and San Francisco Sourdough?

Sourdough is leavened by the wild yeasts and bacteria found in the sourdough starter. However, in San Francisco, the wild yeasts come from the air providing a more unique taste.

What is San Francisco Style Sourdough Bread?

San Francisco sourdough bread has a characteristically tangy flavor compared to regular sourdough bread.

Why is San Francisco Sourdough Bread so Distinct and Difficult to Match?

The reason why San Francisco sourdough bread is almost impossible to match is due to a specific strain of bacteria that exists only in San Fran’s climate.

San Francisco Sourdough Recipe - Amazing SF Bread Style HERE
San francisco sourdough recipe - amazing sf bread style here

This incredible San Francisco Sourdough bread recipe is brimming with unique sourdough flavor, thanks to the fed sourdough starter.

Type: bread

Cuisine: American

Recipe Yield: 1 loaf, 12 servings

Calories: 188kcal

Preparation Time: 6 hours

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 day, 6 hours, 45 minutes

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 4 oz. of bread flour
  • 4 oz. water
  • 8 oz. water
  • 12 oz. pre-fermented starter
  • 16 oz. bread flour or wheat flour (you can also use grain flour, whole grain flour, or rye flour if you wish, depending on what was used in the starter)
  • ½ tbsp. salt

Recipe Instructions:

Starter:

Combine all the ingredients for the pre-fermented starter in a medium bowl, and leave it to rest overnight, covered, at room temperature (80 degrees F).

San francisco sourdough recipe - amazing sf bread style here

Add Starter:

The next day, pour room-temperature water into the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the San Francisco starter and gently break it up with a wooden spoon, stirring until dissolved.

San francisco sourdough recipe - amazing sf bread style here

Add and Combine:

Add 1 cup of bread flour and salt, mixing until everything is well combined.

San francisco sourdough recipe - amazing sf bread style here

Mixer:

Place the dough hook attachment on the mixer and gradually add the remaining flour into the mixer bowl, until the dough starts to separate from the sides of the bowl.

San francisco sourdough recipe - amazing sf bread style here

Knead:

Knead the dough for 12 minutes on medium speed, then transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough using your hands. You don’t have to knead so much during this step, as you are only attempting to gather the dough for the next step.

San francisco sourdough recipe - amazing sf bread style here

Let Rise:

Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.

San francisco sourdough recipe - amazing sf bread style here

Stretch and Fold:

Remove the plastic cover and stretch the dough out, then fold it over itself. Grab the section of dough that is furthest away from you, stretch it up and out, then fold it back into the center of the dough.

San francisco sourdough recipe - amazing sf bread style here

Knead and Repeat:

Rotate the bowl 90 degrees to the right, then grab the next portion of dough that is furthest away from you and repeat the stretch and fold exercise. Repeat this twice more, rotating the bowl each time, until you have stretched and folded every part of the dough.

San francisco sourdough recipe - amazing sf bread style here

Rest and Repeat:

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for another 45 minutes. Repeat the stretch and fold process, then cover and rise for 60 minutes.

San francisco sourdough recipe - amazing sf bread style here

Let Rise:

Place the expanded dough over a lightly floured portion of parchment paper, and carefully form the dough into a ball. Let the dough ball rise for 45 minutes.

San francisco sourdough recipe - amazing sf bread style here

Shape:

Shape the dough into a long loaf. Stretch the dough into a curved square shape. Lift the top two corners of the dough and fold them into the center of the dough. Lift the bottom corners of the dough and fold them up into the center, overlapping the previous edge.

San francisco sourdough recipe - amazing sf bread style here

Knead:

Bring the edges into the center, then turn the dough and carefully roll the dough into a log. Tuck the ends of the log underneath the dough so they’re out of sight. Ensure that the seam side is down.

San francisco sourdough recipe - amazing sf bread style here

Proof:

Let the dough proof for 1 hour, on parchment paper, at room temperature. The dough won’t double in size, instead, it will become puffier. Cover the dough with a dish towel and place the dough in the fridge overnight.

San francisco sourdough recipe - amazing sf bread style here

Prepare Oven:

Place a small metal baking tray on the bottom rack of the oven (this will help generate steam while you bake, and produce a loaf with a great chewy texture). Place a baking stone or pizza stone on the rack above it. You can skip this step and use a Dutch oven instead, depending on how you shaped your loaves.

San francisco sourdough recipe - amazing sf bread style here

Preheat:

Remove the shaped loaf from the refrigerator, and preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

San francisco sourdough recipe - amazing sf bread style here

Score:

Meanwhile, score your bread with a sharp knife or blade. Carefully transfer the dough with the parchment paper onto the baking stone. Toss a few ice cubes into the baking tray below, to create some steam. Bake the san Francisco sourdough bread for 10 minutes.

San francisco sourdough recipe - amazing sf bread style here

Serve:

Then reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 35 minutes. Transfer the baked loaf onto a wire rack to cool completely for several hours before slicing.

San francisco sourdough recipe - amazing sf bread style here

By Natasha Krajnc

Hi! My name is Natasha and I'm specialized in home sourdough bread baking and currently based in Slovakia - a very small country in Central Europe. My bread baking story began in 2011 when I decided to give up commercial yeast. I felt tired all the time (especially after eating bread and other foods made with yeast), I wasn’t motivated to do anything, had trouble concentrating throughout the day, my abdomen was bloated and I was like a trumpet on steroids – basically, I was quite a wreck. I was a big bread lover (and still am) and having to stop eating bread was quite hard at that time but I felt I was on a right way to give my body a chance to heal itself.

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