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Minneapolis - Truly sour dough

Hello! Just moved here from the Bay Area and I'm really missing my bakery ... anyone have any advice on where to get some crusty, truly sour, sourdough?

How about a fiselle?

I live near Minnehaha falls in Minneapolis, if that provides a guide, but I'm willing to drive!

Thank you!

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  1. try lucia's bakery - im not sure if they have sourdough but everything has always been amazing - especially their croissants - i now live in nyc but cant find a croissant to match hers

    1. Welcome to MN. I feel your pain. I'm not trying to be provincial, but you can only get San Francisco sourdough bread in San Francisco. Even if you were to bring your San Francisco sourdough starter to Minneapolis with you and try to reproduce SF-style sourdough bread here, the humidity, air temperature, elevation, etc. all affect the little yeasties and will change the character of the bread. The SF fog has a major impact on the sourdough bread (I wonder if Duluth sourdough break would be closer to SF's?) And, when the old yeast gets replaced by new yeast, it will be Minnesota yeast. So, the taste of the sourdough bread depends on where you are in the world.

      Having set your expectations appropriately, St. Agnes St. Paul Sourdough is actually very good--good crust, dense interior, nice tang. It's not the same as you're used to, but it's still very good and the closest I've find in the Twin Cities. It satisfies my craving for sourdough bread anyway. I buy mine at my local co-op, Mississippi Market, in St. Paul. You might check around to see if any of the Mpls co-ops carry St. Agnes sourdough--I'm sure at least some of them do. I'm sure if you called the St. Agnes folks, they would tell you who in your neighborhood carries it.


      P.S. If you ever find a true San Francisco style burrito in the Twin Cities, please let me know. While I've manage to find an acceptable substitute for satisfying my sourdough cravings, I still haven't been able to satisfy my burrito cravings, in spite of having visited a lot of taquerias in the Twin Cities. (And discovering good chow along the way, for sure, but no SF style burritos, alas.



      5 Replies
      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Here's a four-year-old article on Nasty Bread, the St. Agnes sourdough. Most of the info is still accurate. Nasty Bread is strong stuff - I don't like it, myself, but others do. I think it's available at most area co-ops - I think Seward or Lakewinds or the Wedge probably have it.



        1. re: AnneInMpls

          Thanks for that, Anne. Feb 2003 is before my time, so, I've never seen that article before! Funny!


        2. re: The Dairy Queen

          Hey! I spent a happy Saturday morning sampling breads at St. Agnes, which I have to agree are artisan, but still left me pining for sour sourdough with a fine crust. I like the breads at Rustica, The Baker's Wife, French Meadow and Turtlebread ... and whoever makes those lovely baguettes they sell at Coastal Seafood fish market on Minnehaha. Nothing is finer than baguette and sweet butter!

          1. re: Daphne

            Agreed, the crust on the St. Agnes bread leaves something to be desired. Since your post, I've been out trying to find mail-order sources of actual SF sourdough, but it seems only Boudin is set up to do that--if I recall, it's $15 for two loaves. Bah. If it were Acme, yes, but...

            We do have some great bread, in general, in the Twin Cities--I'm glad you've been out exploring!


            1. re: Daphne

              The baguettes at Coastal are from Rustica.

          2. Dunno about a sourdough that meets your expectations. You can get ficelles (mini-baguettes) at Turtle Bread, 48th & Chicago. Not too far from your home.

            1. several of the farmers markets have bakers that offer sourdough. some are better than others, but they're all worth a try.

              1. There's no-place here that has a really great sourdough like tartine in SF.
                The best bread bakeries here which both have sourdough are Rustica and Turtle. Both not too far from your neighborhood. I haven't tried nasty bread from St Agnes but looked at it in the store shelf pale, limp, and with vinegar listed as an ingredient. Couldn't understand why anyone would even buy it when there are quality bakeries with artisan bread in town.

                2 Replies
                1. re: stpaulbreadman

                  I beg to differ on the characterization of the St. Agnes bread as "limp" -it's quite dense, and the crust is nice and chewy as it should be: and I've actually purchased it and tried it for myself.

                  Proper sourdough bread is pale--with a sort of golden crust. I haven't had the sourdough bread at Rustica (I'm sure it's certainly worth a try, based on the quality of their other wonderful offerings, thanks for the tip), but the sourdough bread at Turtle doesn't come close to replicating, in my estimation, SF sourdough. I love lots of other things at Turtle, though, if you're looking for a good bakery in general: just not for the sourdough bread. I understand where you're coming from, although, the way you've answered the question "the best bakeries which both have sourdough" doesn't necessarily yield the same answers as simply "the best sourdough."

                  Is St. Agnes not an artisan? I'm not being smart, here, it's a genuine question. I'm not familiar with them, other than for the sourdough. They actually describe themselves as such (refer to link I provided above), and Dara did a piece on them. She tends to favor the artisans, in my experience.

                  I adore Tartine, but I'm not sure I'd say their sourdough is in the classic San Francisco sourdough style. Tartine is a top notch bakery for sure and would be the star of its own "I'm homesick for..." thread, but personally, I don't think it's the best sourdough bread in SF right now (it's best at many other things, though). That honor probably goes to Acme. But that's a debate for a different board.

                  "Couldn't understand why anyone would even buy it"--well, if it's what you crave and it's the closest approximation of what is home for you, and you're going solely on the basis of deliciousness and how it compares to the classic, then you'd buy it.

                  As far as the vinegar--aside from the natural regional variation you'd expect in sourdough bread, I agree that the St. Agnes bread is, still, not the same. I've never been able to exactly pinpoint the source of the difference though, so, perhaps it's the vinegar. Although, I'll confess that I haven't personally noticed vinegar among the ingredients, but I don't remember looking either. Will have to check next time. I wouldn't describe the taste of the bread as vinegar-y, though, as I said before, I think it's tangy.

                  Now, if they could just carve it out and fill it with clam chowder, I'd be set. (Teasing.)


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    I would have to agree with you on Acme being the best. Although, I love the little butter and meat sandwiches Tartine makes. Nothing better. It looks like I'll also have to check out Rustica...

                2. The Baker's Wife is just down the street from you (on 42nd St and 28th Ave S). I really like their sourdough loaf. It's crusty, sour and chewy! The prices are reasonable (about $2.50/loaf) and they're really friendly. Their sour cherry/cream cheese danish are also pretty amazing

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: spunky_monkey

                    The Baker's Wife -baker Gary- makes a very sour bread but he does it without the cheats of acetic acid, etc. i.e. it's real bread. If you are looking for real sour this may be a great suggestion for you. It's also a classic neighborhood bakery.

                  2. By the way, I noticed we've all been focused on the sourdough part of Daphne's post and not the fiselle... Now I'm curious about that!


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      Jordan suggested Turtle Bread and judging by this picture http://www.turtlebread.com/images/bre... (and having consumed a few with some nice, runny cheese) it was a good suggestion.

                    2. Try BC2 (Bread, Cake, Coffee), a fairly new bakery just across the river from downtown St. Paul. The owner, Robert, uses his own several years-old starter; no yeast or vinegar. I think his loaves are excellent. I ate almost an entire whole wheat sourdough baguette all on my own this morning. Besides the usual boules and baguettes, he makes an excellent rye and several speciality loaves (apple-chipotle, three cheese & chorizo, etc.) You can find him at the Mill City Market on Saturday mornings, although I know he's been selling out early every week, or at his bakery on Wabasha. If you're coming from downtown St. Paul, cross the Wabasha Bridge and just past the bluff, where the road curves to the right, look for the yellow awnings on your right. Also recommended: his big, chewy cookies, fresh-made sandwiches, cakes (including an excellent tres leches) and cold brewed coffee with cream.

                      1. If you want a good, European style bakery you absolutely MUST go to Rustica on 46th/Aldrich. It's only a hop, skip and jump from the Falls and it's worth a little bit of a drive...you'll be sold! Their bread menu does change, though, so check it out online at www.rusticabakery.com

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Jonesie

                          I've never seen sourdough there before, which is what the OP seeks. Have they offered it?

                          1. re: KTFoley

                            their rustic loaf is a french-style, from house starter, sourdough-- but it is not a sf style, puckery sourdough, so probably won't be what the op is looking for. it's a very satisfying, well-crafted fresh loaf though.

                            i've tried a few of bc2's breads, mentioned by clepro above, and found them excellent as well. i liked the sourdough i tried very much. i'd be interested to hear how it measures up with msp sourdough fans!

                            1. re: soupkitten

                              I'll be totally upfront about being a total neophyte about sourdough bread, but something tells me that the Real Bread booth at the Midtown Farmers Market might be worth checking out. I just bought a Pain de Campagne from Brett and Mary, which is part sourdough, and part other things - it was explained what all went into it, and I already forgot. I don't know how it becomes a sourdough, actually, so it may or may not be what you want. But they certainly have "a" sourdough on their list. You might want to pre-order, because they sell out of a lot of items on Saturday morning.

                              But they make real, artisan breads themselves. They also send out a newsletter, take special orders, and are great about answering email inquiries. I ordered some short cakes from them back during strawberry season.


                              Rick Nelson tipped me off to them in his podcast. I can't stress enough how worthwhile it is to tune in to that podcast.

                            2. re: KTFoley

                              Their levain and miche are both sourdough. They also use a natural starter in several of their other breads.

                          2. Hey! Thank you for all the wonderful posts! I have been busy doing my newby Minnesota stuff and completely forgot to check on the bread! I have had the sourdough at Baker's Wife and Turtle Bread and while both are delicious, neither are quite right.
                            So, I'm on my way to Saint Agnes this weekend.

                            I came back up because I'm looking for an apple cider donut, which everyone tells me is the bomb...yet no one makes it????

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: Daphne

                              Klecko at Saint Agnes is THE MAN. He is a terrific baker who has traveled the world to bake for kings and dignitaries, to help Russians learn baking for a community (more than once) and a super human being.

                              1. re: Abacus

                                IMHO, 'artisan' used for bread means there is not going to be a list of chemical
                                additives on the label. 'Sourdough' means a naturally fermented yeast culture is
                                used, rather than the factory-grown yeast that provides quicker rising and thus
                                convenience for bakers. I'm not an expert on the San Francisco sourdough bread
                                either. But I must say I've been disappointed to read the labels on St Agnes
                                breads at the Nicollet Mall Farmer's Market, coops, etc. In addition to vinegar,
                                it appears they are using other additives, thus not qualifying to be called artisan.
                                They quit calling it Nasty Bread a while back, but I believe it is still around with
                                a less dramatic name, like 'sourdough'.

                                1. re: faith

                                  Since StPaulBreadman posted, I did go look at the label on the Agnes bread and indeed --disappointingly of course--vinegar was on the label. (I actually photographed the label, but there was a glare--maybe I'll come back later today and post the photo.) Call it a cheat or whatever you want to call it, but in my opinion, it's still closest I've had in the Twin Cities to matching the taste of the SF sourdough, and I've had more than my share of SF sourdough. There might be better and more "artisinal" breads in the Twin Cities, but none really approximates the taste of SF sourdough better than St. Agnes, in spite of the "cheat". The amount of vinegar they use doesn't seem to be enough to make it the predominant flavor, just enough to amp up the tartness. Sadly, I guess the local yeasts are just that different.

                                  Much like all you Philly folks who complain you can't find a "real" cheesesteak sandwich here--and there have been a good half dozen queries for those in as many months-- I'd say it's as hard to find a "real" SF sourdough here. Plenty of other great breads to be had in the Twin Cities, though, so, I'm not complaining.

                                  But, think how you feel about cheesesteak sandwiches, then apply that thinking to a sourdough loaf that tastes "right", regardless of how "artisan" it is or not.


                                  1. re: stpaulbreadman

                                    So, what does stpaulbreadman think of French Meadow breads,
                                    supposedly made in the authentic manner?

                                    1. re: faith

                                      So, what does stpaulbreadman think of French Meadow breads,
                                      supposedly made in the authentic manner?

                                      Been many years since I had it (so it may be much better now than it was) but I think their marketing exceeds flavor. I prefer Rustica.

                                  2. re: faith

                                    faith, I don't know what St. Agnes bread labels you've been reading, but I just went to the market and wrote down the list of ingredients in St. Agnes sourdough bread, and, aside from the vinegar, which StPaulBreadman (and I agree) considers a cheat, there are no other "weird" additives that would disqualify it from being called "artisan". Here's the list: high-gluten wheat flour, water, white rye flour, potato flakes, apple cider vinegar, salt, yeast, corn meal.

                                    That's it--nothing chemically sounding or with an "x" in the name and no word on the ingredient list longer than 3 syllables.

                                    It's real bread. (Bad) photo of the label is attached.


                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      tdq- that is very curious that you found that relatively innocuous list of
                                      ingredients. I have been reading the labels on the Wedge's loaves of St
                                      Agnes bread, and it all seems to have some chemical stuff in it, either
                                      preservative or dough conditioner or raising agent or something. What
                                      market were you at?

                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          wow, that's interesting. I was thinking maybe they were using different
                                          labels at the Farmer's Market or something. But all the co-ops should be
                                          getting the same stuff. I think maybe we need to consult Rod Serling.

                              2. At Costco, they sell Boudin's Sourdough from SF.

                                1. Minneapolis/Saint Paul Mag just listed French Meadow Bakery as having the best Sourdough bread.


                                  1. I went to A Baker's Wife yesterday and was very diappointed. The sourdough was just a generic wheat bread - no sour to it. I was greatly disappointed.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: steve0315

                                      I bake sourdough bread here at home, and its dificult to find bakeries that are set up to do the sourdough. To really reap a tart loaf, you dont use any regular bread yeast, only starter, and it takes a long time for the loaf to establish the sourness...some of them use dough from a previous batch and wait up to three days for the sourdough yeast to establish themselves. I find that I can slightly modify the sourness of my bread by using a recipe that uses a lot of starter, and by monitoring how long I age the starter. To me, a few days makes a fairly assertively tangy loaf. I dont like it that sour, but a week old batch of starter would probably make a pretty dang sour bread. Its kind of fun, if you ever want to try baking your own, contact me and I will send you some starter.

                                    2. I went to Edelweiss Bakery in Prior Lake today. Their sourdough has just the right amount of "sour" and reminds me of Boudin in San Francisco. $4.80