I fed my sourdough starter last week (over six months along now and still alive and well!) and made a couple boules of San Francisco-style sourdough bread. I wasn’t sure what being a “San Francisco-style sourdough” meant exactly, so I did a little research.
According to Peter Reinhart’s Crust and Crumb: Master Formulas For Serious Bread Bakers:
What makes this a San Francisco-style bread is a sour rather than mild starter, a wet rather than firm mother sponge (as in pain au levain), and an intermediate “build.” Using both wet and firm starters develops a more rounded flavor. You could make a dough directly from the barm sponge but it will be slacker and spread out rather than up. It also won’t have as much complexity of flavor. The firm starter makes a big difference; it allows you to step beyond good bread to incredible bread.
And incredible bread it is. In the past 3 days, we’ve had it just about every way you can imagine, including countless grilled cheeses (made with jalapeño jack cheese — so good). In fact, as I type, another batch is proofing… 🙂