HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >

Where can I buy SF Sourdough starter ?

BigWoodenSpoon Jan 19, 2008 01:34 PM

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. wolfe RE: BigWoodenSpoon Jan 19, 2008 01:56 PM

    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
      The Dairy Queen RE: wolfe Jan 19, 2008 02:10 PM

      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. http://www.cliffhouse.com/giftshop/Gi... 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
        sugartoof RE: The Dairy Queen Jan 19, 2008 02:25 PM

        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: sugartoof
          The Dairy Queen RE: sugartoof Jan 19, 2008 02:27 PM

          I've never seen it at any of the Boudins. http://www.boudinbakery.com/ShopByPrice


          1. re: The Dairy Queen
            sarafinadh RE: The Dairy Queen Oct 10, 2011 04:02 PM

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

            1. re: sarafinadh
              sugartoof RE: sarafinadh Oct 10, 2011 06:36 PM

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

    2. n
      Nancy Berry RE: BigWoodenSpoon Jan 19, 2008 05:07 PM

      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. maria lorraine RE: BigWoodenSpoon Jan 20, 2008 06:42 PM

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

        1. Scrapironchef RE: BigWoodenSpoon Oct 11, 2011 12:15 PM

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

          1 Reply
          1. re: Scrapironchef
            sarafinadh RE: Scrapironchef Oct 11, 2011 12:32 PM

            That is really great info! Thanks so much!!

          2. a
            azfantastic RE: BigWoodenSpoon Oct 24, 2011 12:40 PM

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

            1 Reply
            1. re: azfantastic
              Robert Lauriston RE: azfantastic Oct 24, 2011 06:15 PM

              Not according to the earlier discussion in this topic.

            2. a
              alfairfax RE: BigWoodenSpoon Oct 24, 2011 06:50 PM

              According to some bread makers,( including--I think--Chad Robertson's Tartine Bread cookbook) the yeasts from the air are only a small part of the mix of microbes that are the life of a sourdough starter. Yeasts from the hands of the kneader are also part of the blend. Most of the yeasts, however, are thought to be on the wheat and so present in the flour itself when milled. I am not a micro-botanist and could be wrong. I live in Marin and bake a lot of sourdough, so maybe unintensionally I have a "San Francisco" starter. I enjoy my own bread whatever the origin of the yeasts.

              Show Hidden Posts