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Monday, June 3, 2013

Morning Wake Up Call - San Francisco Sourdough

Good Monday Morning! What croissants are to Paris, Sourdough bread is to San Francisco. Not just any sourdough though.  Since 1849 bread makers have been using the same sourdough culture, which they call a "Mother dough" and the same recipe, flour, water, a pinch of salt and some of the this "Mother Dough".  During the gold rush days in California, some of the Boudin family who were well known master Bakers from France came to the San Francisco area. They found out that the sourdough culture there was very unique and they became very famous for their bread with this special flavor. The miners flocked to this bakery every morning for this special tasting bread. So important is their "Mother Dough" it was heroically saved by Louise Boudin during the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.   Now it's true that bakers around the world can get San Francisco sourdough starter - but don't be fooled - it won't taste the same! Sourdough breads are made with naturally fermented starters. One interesting thing about such breads is that the starter is unique to the area it is cultivated in, since it consists of local yeasts and bacteria. As a result, sourdough breads from around the world taste radically different, depending on the origin of the starter, even when they are prepared in the same way...Legend has it the reason it won't taste the same anywhere else in the world - or our country for that reason?...it's when the local starters are exposed to the fog. That's where the magic happens!
Growing up I was fortunate to live blocks away from a sourdough bread - outlet - bakery.

As I recall, it wasn't this pretty...But in this case function outweighed form. I took swimming lessons on Saturday mornings at one point. And I distinctly remember going out of my way through the thick fog, with wet hair, just to make a stop at the bakery. Stepping inside the doors was like heaven. A warm, humid, fragrant yeasty fresh baked bread kind of heaven. I would buy a freshly baked roll, and the fresh baked, soft, warm goodness would sustain me the rest of the foggy, cold walk home.

These days you can get sourdough in all shapes and sizes, and in all manner of recipes from French toast to croutons. In my opinion, nothing beats a fresh baked chunk of soft sourdough on an early foggy morning right from the source.


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