what i’m reading: flour water salt yeast

Sourdough recipe1

Since moving to San Francisco, our sourdough spending has gotten out of control. How out of control? I’ll just say we probably spend as much on Sourdough as we do on lattes at Starbucks each week. It’s a good thing I haven’t yet figured out how to buy bread with my iPhone like I do my coffee otherwise it’d be more than that.

It’s been a month and the novelty of having fresh loaves on every corner hasn’t waned in the slightest -which is what prompted me to pick up this cookbook the other day. If things go well, this $20 book may save me a lot of dough in the future.

Before I go on -yes, I judge books by their covers and whatever that loaf is on the front, I want it.

Cover-judging aside, I remember hearing someone rave about this book a while back -not just for the photos either. It begins with The Principles of Artisan Bread (something I probably should have read long before now) and covers everything from the basic bread recipe and straight doughs to levain, pizza and focaccia doughs.

I know what you’re thinking -what about sourdough?

Lesson #1: sourdough begins as a levain -a starter (a.k.a. bread baby) that grows to develop the flavor of the bread. Speaking from experience, this is by far the most difficult part of the process and something I’ve failed at three times now. Three! I’m just saying, I better bake one heck of a sourdough this time around.

Lesson #2: According to the Equipment and Ingredients section, I need a dutch oven and food scale -which are going on my wedding registry like yesterday so I can get my sourdough bread baby going first thing after the wedding & honeymoon next month!

Bread-bakers -any tips for the novice?

Bread-buyers –got a favorite San Francisco Sourdough I need to try?

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  • bought that book for my boyfriend’s brother last Christmas and his family has been raving about the bread he has been making. I need to get a copy for myself I think. Enjoy your bread!

  • I love the smell of fresh baked bread. My dad made bread bi-weekly growing up. I don’t think I had store bought bread until I was a teen. The only tip that I have is that the measurements for bread must be exact, like with baking any other item. And it also takes a lot of time, to let the bread rise, ect ect, so when you are ready to bake, make sure you are not in a rush. Happy baking!

  • I just say this book on sale the other day and it definitely sparked my interest. I love freshly baked bread. There’s just nothing like it. I had no idea about the proper way to make sourdough. Good luck with your latest loaf!!

  • Twice a year we have Boudin ship us some of their finest when they get a sale going on. (It usually covers shipping) San Fran sourdough is by far the best sourdough ever. I’m so jealous!

    I’ll be watching this threat because the thought of making my own terrifies me but I’m hoping someone will have a super easy tip that will make it foolproof for all of us! :)

  • Paying for coffee with your phone? Genius! I love Starbucks for that. I always keep my card loaded so if I’m out and want one, then I don’t have to worry about “paying” for it, because I already did. ;)

    I want to learn to make bread, but first I need the right tools. A kitchen aid mixer would be nice but I have yet to convince my husband that it’s a need and not a want. LOL!

  • Buy coffee with your phone?! I have no idea how this is done!

    I tried making bread a few weeks ago and it was a complete fail. I’m pretty sure I messed up somewhere dealing with the yeast!