Classic San Francisco Sourdough Bread

Total Time
12hrs 30mins
Prep 12 hrs
Cook 30 mins

I have looked hi and low for a recipe like this. I am so happy to have found it. Perfect slathered in butter or as a sandwich (grilled is great)

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 6 -8 cups flour (this depends on altitude and how thick your sourdough starter is)
  • 1 cup sourdough starter (unproofed)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 12 cup water
  • 12 teaspoon cornstarch


  1. In a large bowl, combine the water, sourdough starter and 4 cups of flour.
  2. Mix well and cover with plastic wrap in a warm place 8-12 hours (I do it over night).
  3. The next day stir in the salt and sugar and add flour 1/2 to 1 cup at a time to make a very stiff dough .
  4. Knead till smooth.
  5. Cover and let rise 2 to 2-1/2 hours.
  6. Punch down and divide in half.
  7. Knead till smooth and form into rounds. Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover lightly and let rise till double and puffy (1 to 1-2 hrs).
  8. While this is rising mix the 1/2 cup water and 1/2 tsp cornstarch in a small bowl and microwave till boiling, remove from heat and let cool.
  9. Heat oven to 400°F.
  10. Carefully place a small pan of hot water on the bottom rack of the oven.
  11. Cut two slashes across each other on top of each loaf.
  12. Bake for 10 minutes.
  13. Pull out the rack and baste each loaf well with the cornstarch mixture.
  14. Close the oven and allow to bake another 20-25 minutes. Loaves should be a light golden color and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  15. You are suppose to allow this to cool for 2 hrs to develop the sourdough flavor fully -- we wait maybe 30-45 minutes!
Most Helpful

This was my first time making a loaf of bread with no assistance (I usually let the bread machine make the dough), but I was thrilled by the challenge! I have been growing a sourdough starter for almost two weeks and wanted to try it out and do it right. This recipe was terrific! I was worried my starter wasn't "sour" enough, and while it will surely get better with time, it was enough to make this bread taste like a real sourdough loaf! My arms are sore from kneading, but the bread came out like a dream! It's all we could do not to eat a whole loaf at once! Oh yeah, and it's true that the flavor became more pronounced after waiting. We ate it about 45 minutes out of the oven and it was good, but the next day it actually tasted distinctly like a sourdough loaf. Great recipe thanks!!

phanie42 January 24, 2011

Very very good. I did need to add a teaspoon of yeast as my starter lacked the livelyness it should have had. The end product was excellent!!! Looks great and tastes great. Worth the effort. Thanks for posting!

The Jelly Room November 14, 2010

This is a great recipe. I made 2 loaves & baked it in pans. I left one plain & made the other into a cinnamon swirl loaf. I did mix & knead my dough in my KA mixer & it worked fine. The bread has a lovely sourdough flavour. It came out with a nice crispy crust even though I did not put water in the oven while baking. I will make this recipe again. Thanks for posting it startnover.

Demelza March 15, 2011