San Francisco Sourdough Bread

Prep Time
Cook Time
3d 15m
Ready In

"From Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day, one of the best bread baking books ever written. To make the "Mother Starter" see Mother Starter recipe #recipe 3306 it's bascially a method where the starter is converted to a stiffer dough. This method is very easy and takes some advance planning, but the end product is worth every minute! I was a sourdough purist until I tried this recipe, now I'm a convert! I've also included the instructions if you want to use only the wild yeast (sourdough starter). The prep time indicated includes the fermentation time. What I like about this recipe is you don't have to bake all at once; you can spread the baking out over three days. UPDATE: Just posted photos of the folding technique here"

Original recipe yields 2 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (892.5 g)
  • Calories 2133.1
  • Total Fat - 63.4 g
  • Saturated Fat - 13.4 g
  • Cholesterol - 51 mg
  • Sodium - 3794.2 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 344.9 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 48.7 g
  • Sugars - 32.6 g
  • Protein - 74.5 g
  • Calcium - 202.2 mg
  • Iron - 18.2 mg
  • Vitamin C - 0.1 mg
  • Thiamin - 6.8 mg


Step 1

Combine the proofed mother starter, flour and water in a mixing bowl and stir until well blended. The dough should feel dough like, tacky and slightly sticky. If necessary add additional flour or water as needed.

Step 2

Transfer mixture to lightly floured work surface and knead for 30 seconds. Place dough in clean, lightly oiled bowl; cover loosley and leave at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours The starter should be 1 1/2 times it's original size. Cover and place in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Step 3

Remove the Wild Yeast Ferment from the refrigerator and cut into 10 to 12 pieces and put them in a large mixing bowl.

Step 4

Pour in the water and mix with the paddle attachment (or large spoon)on the lowest speed for about 1 minute.

Step 5

Add the flour, salt and yeast (if using purist method, eliminate the yeast). Using the dough hook and mix on lowest speed for 2 minutes, to form a course ball of dough that's very tacky and slightly warm. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

Step 6

Mix on medium-low speed (or by hand) for 4 minutes, adding more flour or water as needed. You should have a soft supple, slightly sticky ball of dough.

Step 7

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for 1 minute. Form into a ball and allow to rest (uncovered) for 10 minutes.

Step 8

Stretch and Fold: Reach under the front of the dough stretching it out, then folding it back on top of the dough. Do the same from the back of the dough and then from each side. Turn the dough over and tuck into a ball. Cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Step 9

Do another stretch and fold and immediately form into a ball, place in a large clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover.

Step 10

If using the mixed method (with yeast), immediately refrigerate the dough. If using the purist method (wild yeast only) let the dough sit a room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours before refrigerating. The dough will be ready to use the next day, and for up to 3 days.

Step 11

BAKING DAY: Remove only the portion you plan to bake.

Step 12

If using purist method (no yeast) remove the dough from the refrigerator 4 hours before you plan to bake. Proof dough for 2 hours, then shape and let it rise for two hours.

Step 13

If using the mixed method (with yeast) remove the dough from the refrigerator 2 hours before you plan to bake. Immediately shape the dough and allow to rise for 2 hours. The dough should be 1 1/2 times it's original size and be springy yet hold an indentation when pressed with a finger.

Step 14

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F for 20 minutes. If using a baking stone preheat the oven and stone for 45 minutes. Place a broiler pan or cast iron skillet on the bottom shelf and preheat.

Step 15

While the oven is preheating score the top of the dough. Transfer the dough to the preheated oven, pour 1 1/2 cups of hot water in the steam pan; reduce temperature to 450 degrees and bake for 12 minutes.

Step 16

After 12 minutes check to see if the pan needs to be rotated. Bake another 15 to 35 minutes (depending on the size of the loaf). When fully baked, the crust should have a rich caramel color and it should sound hollow. Internal temperature should be about 200 degrees F.

Step 17

Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour before slicing.

Tips & Variations

No special items needed.



My first attempt at sourdough bread and it came out beautifully! I baked the dough in a cast iron Dutch oven. The crust is golden and crisp. The interior has a wonderful chewy texture. Don't let the length of this recipe intimidate you. The instructions are precise and if you follow them step by step your results should be excellent. Thanks, Galley for a great recipe.

review by:
(17 Dec 2011)