I discovered authentic sourdough crusty bread in San Francisco years and years ago and I just loved the taste, texture and the toughness of those delicious loaves. Sourdough bread is exactly that, a bread made from a “starter” that is allowed to mature over time. And crusty bread is made by adding moisture such as a pan of hot water in the oven as the bread is cooking. We used both these methods with this authentic sourdough crusty bread recipe today.
In the Cowboy culture (campfire dutch oven cooking) every cook has his/her sourdough “starter” which is usually flour, water and “time” with “time” being the most important factor. They nurture it and feed it until it ripens to their satisfaction. The hubby has had a container of his awesome starter in the fridge as long as I can remember. I just love it when he brings out his “starter” and his cast iron dutch ovens for a delicious meal in the “old” manner of cowboy chuck wagon-style cooking. (Such as his Dutch Oven Texas Peach Cobbler) Over the years we have made sourdough french bread, sourdough biscuits, pancakes, sourdough rolls, and loaves in this manner.
How to make our San Francisco sourdough starter:
While this sourdough french bread is not exactly like the great San Francisco sourdough bread recipe we believe it’s as close of one can get outside of San Francisco. And it doesn’t taste exactly like the Cowboy Sourdough Bread of yesteryear. But it is now my absolute go-to bread to satisfy those cravings for a sourdough crusty bread. It doesn’t take as long as Cowboy starter but you will need to get this San Francisco sourdough starter going a couple of days before you wish to serve the bread.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon yeast
- 1 cup warm water
To make the San Francisco sourdough starter:
Mix flour, water, and yeast in a medium bowl until a dough forms.
On a lightly floured board or mat, knead the starter dough until smooth about 2-3 minutes.
Place in a lightly oiled bowl (olive oil) and turn to coat, cover with a clean cloth and allow rise for at least 3 hours (not over 5 hours)
Cover with a clear wrap and place in the fridge for at least 24 hours but this San Francisco sourdough starter is best before 48 hours.
San Francisco sourdough bread recipe:
Ingredients for the bread:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 1 Tablespoon yeast
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1-1/4 cups warm water
- 1 egg
I must confess it did take several rounds (failed attempts) to get this recipe to mine and the hubby’s satisfaction but we are happy with this result.
Scroll down for the complete recipe
This Homemade Sourdough bread is possible to come straight from your oven. It may take a couple of days to work up but it is so worth it.
If you enjoy this San Francisco sourdough bread recipe then see:
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Sourdough Crusty Bread
- Dough Board
For the Starter
- Mix flour, water, and yeast in a medium bowl until a dough forms.
- On a lightly floured board or mat, knead the dough until smooth about 2-3 minutes.
- Place in a lightly oiled bowl (olive oil) and turn to coat, cover with a clean cloth and allow rise for at least 3 hours (not over 5 hours)
- Cover with a clear wrap and place in the fridge for at least 24 hours but best for 48 hours.
For the Bread (start about 5 hours prior to serving)
- Remove the starter from the fridge and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour
- In a large mixing bowl add flour, salt, sugar, and yeast and mix to combine well.
- Tear up the starter in tablespoon-size pieces and add to the flour mixture one at a time
- Add water and 1 tablespoon olive oil and stir together until a dough forms
- On a floured board or mat, turn the dough out and knead for 4-6 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise until double. (for about 2-3 hours)
- Gently divide the dough into four equal parts and shape into long rounded loafs
- Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle with a little cornmeal. Place two loaves on each one making sure they are not touching, giving them room to rise
- Cover lightly (tent) with clear wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour
- Beat egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush loafs with egg wash
- Gently score the loaves with a very sharp knife diagonally at an angle two or three times
- Place a metal baking pan half full of hot water in the lower rack of the oven and heat oven to 450 degrees
- Bake loafs for 18-20 minutes until the loaves are golden brown.
- Place on wire racks to cool