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San Francisco-Style Sourdough Bread

Yield: 2 loaves

After years of experimentation, I developed this method for reproducing San Francisco-style sourdough even at my home on the East Coast.


  • 6 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 2 cups San Francisco starter (see how-to article)
  • 1 cup potato starter (see how-to article)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. nonfat dry milk
  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • cornmeal, for the peel


  • In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine all ingredients and knead the dough until it’s satiny and smooth, about 15 minutes.
  • Cover the dough and set it in a warm spot. Let it rise until about double its original size. (Depending on the ambient temperature and how active the starters are, this can take 8 to 12 hours.)
  • Punch down the dough to release trapped air, divide it in half, and shape each half into a round loaf. Put the loaves on a peel that’s well-covered with cornmeal, cover them with a moist towel, and let them rise 4 to 6 hours, until the loaves have doubled in size.
  • Put a clay pizza stone on the floor of the oven and heat to  500°F for at least 45 minutes. Five minutes prior to baking, take the stone off the floor, put it on the bottom rack of the oven, and put a rimmed baking sheet on the oven floor. Lower the heat to 425° F.
  • Slash the top of each loaf with a razor blade, lame, or very sharp knife. Slide the loaves off the peel and onto the baking stone. As soon as the loaves are on the stone, pour 1 cup of water into the baking sheet and quickly shut the door so the steam doesn’t escape. Bake the loaves until the crust is very dark, about 50 minutes to 1 hour.


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Reviews (1 review)

  • swanman | 06/06/2021

    Truly a pathetic recipe. First no weight measurements, no real sourdough has oil or milk. The photos show no oven spring, pale bland crust and wonder bread like crumb.
    Should be taken down.

    This guy never would have made it as a baker. Those who can’t do, teach.

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