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A sourdough starter to share?...

I live in SF and am relatively new to baking. After a failed attempt at a sourdough starter, I found this forum. There was a thread saying that starters could be bought in SF down by Pier 39/ Fisherman's Wharf. I spent over an hour down there today (starting at Boudin's and going to all of the tourist shops) and they said they don't sell them anymore.

Is anyone will to provide me with a bit of starter? Or advice on how to get a fresh one commercially?


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  1. I have seen other people take empty containers into Acme Bread in Berkeley on San Pablo and get starter. I know nothing else about it.

    1. http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/rec...

      this link will get you Sunset Magazine's recipe. I have used it since it originally appeared in the 1970s. Temperature is important both for mixing and resting the starter before it is ripe.

      Good luck. I am going to mix some tomorrow. Thanks for prompting this memory.

      1. You can purchase starter at Boulette's Larder at the Ferry Building.
        (mild, with only a little tang)

        1. I asked at the cheeseboard and they gave me a small amount. I grew it to a larger amount and it works really well.

          1. If you didn't find any, Ranch Market Too in Yountville sells it and they have an on-line store

            It is the Goldrush brand. Don't know if it is any good or not.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rworange

              I recently saw a short video on line about making a starter by some famous bread person (can you tell I have memory issues?) - anyway it was basically smashing a pound of grapes, flour, water, time. Might have been a downloaded (free) podcast or a link on ch -looked really easy and if you have a week to get it started much easier (and cheaper) than running around with a young one ;)

              Think I found a link http://www.pbs.org/juliachild/meet/si... - click on sourdough starter. This isn't where I saw it originally - but quite useful and fun to watch. Let us know what happens. This is soooo SF hope it doesn't get moved.

            2. Maybe phone the gift shop at Winchester house in San Jose. I was able to get Mister Baker's sourdough starter there which I found better than Goldrush.

              1. I bet the kind folks at the San Francisco Baking Institute (http://www.sfbi.com) will give you some starter. They are located in South San Francisco.

                1. For those of you who have a little time, send $1 in an envelope to Carl's Friends to get some dried starter that you can bring to life with water and flour of your own. http://carlsfriends.net/source.html

                  I did buy the starter at Whole Foods and Lyndardi's (Goldrush) and found it to take a few weeks to get up to adequate fermentation. At one point I had to add 1 T of vinegar to the starter and that woke it up and started me on my present road. It's still going strong and creates a fabulous levain, which I use to make sourdough. MMMMMmmmmm.

                  Draeger's in Blackhawk also sells Goldrush.

                  Also, make your starter very dry if you want to ignore it awhile.

                  1. I got into the sourdough kick several years ago. We had a grape arbor in the yard, so I caught wild yeast cells...just OK. I tried the powder for sourdough...just OK. Then I just put a bit of dry yeast with flour and milk, and left a week...pretty good. I think it is the aging and rejuvenation that is important, not the powder.

                    1. I delivered my sourdough starter to OP's door way back in January 2009 and never heard a word thereafter. My starter has since departed from this realm, due to neglect. I certainly hope he fared better than I.

                      1. Not to shill here, but the folks at sourdo.com sell inexpensive yet interesting worldwide sourdough (wild yeasts coexisting with lactobacillus) that I have had good results with. Ed Wood's book, available on the site or in libraries, discusses the care and feeding of sourdough cultures.
                        As a physician once said, "yeast happens." I captured one here in Santa Monica, Ca. that likes colder climes and has an interesting flavor. The procedures from Mr. Wood's book has allowed me to keep it happy for 10 years with minimal, but occasional attention.
                        Play with food, eat, enjoy!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Phood

                          thanks for the info, I think I'm ready to try again. My jar of starter was from Jedediah Smith's Original House of Sourdough in Jackson, WY where we stopped for a breakfast of sourjacks on our 2008 road trip from San Francisco to Washington D.C.