Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jan 19, 2008 01:34 PM

Where can I buy SF Sourdough starter ?

We have relatives in town from Virginia who are looking to take some starter home,
but all I've found are online sources. Do you know of any stores that sell such a thing?
They're leaving tomorrow so any help you could spare would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. This sentence from one of the online starter pages is worrisome. "When you feed it, it quickly becomes your own, adapting itself to your own region and climate." Once Sf starter leaves the area does it become, in this case, Virgina sourdough starter and lose the character of it's home mother?

    5 Replies
    1. re: wolfe

      This is true, wolfe, that the starter will quickly lose it's "San Francisco-ness" as the starter takes on a local character. You get about 1 loaf of bread that tastes awesome. After that, it declines quickly ( you can still make sourdough from it, it will just not taste like San Francisco sourdough) . After several loaves the tang is pretty much gone. So, you could send them home with starter, or just with a loaf of bread--either way, it's about the same, except the starter they can break out anytime and the bread they'll need to eat right away.

      I always used to buy my starter at the gift shop at Cliff House (I used to alternate sending starter or packets of CA poppy seeds as gifts to out of town relatives--you can just address and stamp the starter "envelope"), but last time I was there, they didn't have it. I suppose you could call to see if they have it now. They sell it at all of those tourist-focused shops, likely on Fisherman's Wharf/Pier 39 or maybe even at one of the zillions of Walgreens on Market Street downtown. You can probably buy it at one of the shops at the airport, too, but that doesn't help the OP.


      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Wharf might have it, but I've never seen it at any of the other suggested places. I seem to recall the starters were Parisian or Boudin, and my guess is more towards the later.

          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            and Boudin's is rabid about not sharing their starter. Ever.

            1. re: sarafinadh

              They used to sell a starter dough kit at some of the Wharf's tourist shops.

    2. After about 3 weeks, the starter will change to incorporate the wild yeasts that are in the Virginia air. Boudin's has to send a new batch of starter to their Illinois branch about every two weeks in order to maintain the integrity of their San Francisco sour.

      1. Here's a good thread about real SF sourdough taken to a different environment:

        1. Acme in Berkeley will give you some of theirs if you bring your own container.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Scrapironchef

            That is really great info! Thanks so much!!

          2. I'd say you could find what you're looking for at boudin?

            1 Reply
            1. re: azfantastic

              Not according to the earlier discussion in this topic.