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San Francisco Sourdough Bread

San Francisco Sourdough Bread
With a crisp crust, a light crumb, and a tangy taste, this sourdough bread is an excellent version of the world-famous bread from the City by the Bay.
Yield 1 loaf



  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 (0.25oz) package (7g) or 2 1/4 teaspoons Red Star Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 cup Sourdough Starter
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water (115-120℉)


  • Add 1 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt to stand mixer bowl; whisk to combine. Add sourdough starter and water; mix with paddle attachment for 4 minutes on medium speed.
  • Switch to dough hook attachment. Gradually add remaining flour and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 to 7 minutes.
    (NOTE: For hand mixing: following above steps, mix ingredients in large mixing bowl using a wooden spoon or dough whisk. Knead on floured surface until smooth and elastic.)
  • Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and turnto grease top. Cover; let rise until indentation remains after poking doughwith finger down to second knuckle, about an hour.
  • Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; punch down to remove air bubbles. Roll or pat into a 12×5-inch rectangle. Starting with shorter side, roll up tightly, pressing dough into roll. Pinch edges and taper ends to seal. Place on baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper or silicone mat; sprinkle top of loaf with cornmeal. Cover; let rise until indentation remains after touching.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • With very sharp knife or bread lame, make 2 or 3 diagonal slashes across top of loaf. Spray or brush loaf with cold water. (For a crisper crust, spray or brush loaf with cold water several times during the first 12 minutes of baking.)
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet; cool on wire rack.


Get Bread Machine Method here.
Photo by Jen Schall.

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Review & Comments

Lynda | Reply

5 stars
Turned out amazing! I’m new to the sourdough world and my starter is only 3 weeks old. Didn’t want to gamble with a recipe using just a starter. Directions were easy to follow and I appreciate that. Simply delicious and easy.

Jean MacAskill | Reply

1 star
The recipe does not give a temperature for the water and all of your other recipes do. Because this was the first time I had tried sourdough, I thought maybe the starter made a difference and I didn’t need to heat the water so I used room temperature. It did rise but was a sticky mess which I simply threw away. I did use my own sourdough starter also. Does this recipe require your sourdough starter only? I have tried your platinum sourdough yeast and that bread turned out perfect. I am new to bread baking and enjoy trying out different ways to make bread. This was my first total failure. All of your other recipes I have tried have had rave reviews.

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Jean – I’m glad you have been enjoying our recipes! For this recipe, the room temperature water should work; the rise will be a bit slower than if you used warmer water. As with any recipe, add in additional flour as needed based on how the dough feels – just be careful not to add too much flour which could result in a dense loaf. This recipe does not require our starter recipe. We’d be happy to help you troubleshoot!

Jan Velayas | Reply

I have used the Sour Dough Starter three times and I’m not getting the results I would get with normal Red Star Yeast. I’ve baked Sour Dough Bread for years and I’ve followed the recipes to a t but I just don’t get a large porous dough that I normally get. Anything you can recommend?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Jan – the large holes (open crumb) is achieve with higher hydration doughs. We’d be happy to troubleshoot your recipe with you. Email us or call our toll-free number:
Kind regards,

Esther | Reply

What ingredients do you add to make a sourdough bread with the instant sourdough yeast + sourdough culture packet that says make real sourdough without a starter? also can I have the steps? This is my first time, my five-year-old daughter wants to help me make it. Thank you!

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Esther – Here’s a link to all the recipes we have that use the Platinum Instant Sourdough You can also substitute 1 full packet of the Platinum Instant Sourdough for 1 packet (0.25oz, or 7g) dry yeast. It is not meant to be substituted for a sourdough starter because that also has water/liquids and flour. More information on this product can be found here:
I hope you will find this information helpful. Happy baking!

100+ Sourdough Recipes ~ Bread, Biscuits, Cakes, Cookies & More! | Reply

[…] San Francisco Sourdough Bread ~ Red Star Yeast […]

Rebecca Gipson | Reply

In the recipe for sour dough bread, I am trying the platinum instant sourdough and the directions say to use the contents in the package as substitute for the yeast but it talks about a sour dough starter, do I use the starter and the sour dough packet that I have? How do I change the recipe to replace the starter?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Rebecca,
The Platinum Instant Sourdough (PIS) is meant to be used in a recipe that calls for 1 packet or 2 1/4 teaspoons of dry yeast. Simply substitute in one full packet of the PIS for dry yeast in your favorite recipes to give it a sourdough flavor.

The PIS is not meant to replace a sourdough starter in a traditional sourdough recipe, such as this one. A sourdough starter has flour and water, the PIS is instant yeast plus a dried sourdough starter.

I hope you will find this information helpful.
Happy baking!

Karen Seibert | Reply

How do I adjust the recipe using the new Platinum Sourdough yeast?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Karen,
Each packet of Platinum Instant Sourdough contains yeast for leavening plus sourdough culture for flavor. It is not intended for use in a recipe that calls for a sourdough starter. Rather, Platinum Instant Sourdough makes it easy to add real sourdough flavor to any yeast bread recipe. Simply substitute one packet of Platinum Instant Sourdough for one ¼ oz packet of yeast in any recipe.
Happy baking!

Bryan | Reply

How would you adjust this recipe for high altitude? I live at about 6000 feet, and in wyoming where it us a lot cooler. Also would i need to adjust anything in my starter for the altitude?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Bryan,
Here’s information on baking in high altitude climates (taken from our FAQs):
The low atmospheric pressure at high altitudes allows yeasted doughs to rise faster causing the dough to over proof. Recipes need to be adapted for lower quantities of yeast as altitude increases. This will slow down the rising time so that the dough has time to develop a good flavor and texture.

When baking at higher altitudes, use regular active dry yeast and use 1/2 teaspoon for each cup of flour, though this will vary from one location to the next. You will have to experiment with what works best for your area.

In dry climates, flour is drier, causing dough to require slightly more liquid. In addition, liquids evaporate faster at higher altitudes. When using a bread machine, it is extremely important that the dough be checked about 5 minutes into the kneading cycle. Without stopping the machine, raise the lid and touch the dough ball. Look for a soft, slightly tacky dough. Correct a dry, stiff dough by adding more liquid, a teaspoon at a time.

The addition of gluten to bread recipes at high altitude will protect cell structure of the dough from stretching too much and giving a coarse texture to the finished bread product. Use 1 teaspoon of gluten for each cup of flour in the recipe.

Colorado State University has recently revised Making Yeast Breads at High Altitudes, to include bread machine and knead-your-own bread recipes and trouble shooting tips. Visit for call 877.692.9358 for more information.

You do not need to make any adjustments to your starter.

I hope you will find this information helpful.

Bryan | Reply

Your stand mixer recipe says to follow the medium loaf recipe, can you use the large loaf recipe instead, or even double the medium loaf recipe if the mixer is large enough?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Bryan,
Yes, if your mixer can handle it – go for it! 🙂

Happy baking!

The Bread Maker | Reply

A great recipe and very tasty. I am a new baker trying to learn all I can. I am reading everything on baking, types of bread,about flours many other things. I am going to get bread maker for my birthday. I am going to be a great baker. Awesome recipe!!!!

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