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Aug 5, 2007 11:12 AM

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...