Striking a Sour Note

I have realized that I have not kept my readers in the loop of recent changes and developments in my life.  I quit my job at Costa Rica Beer Factory and not a minute too soon.  I traveled to San Francisco, California and I am currently in Honolulu, Hawaii again trying to work here and there.  All these changes are part of a bigger scheme, something we will discuss much later.

San Francisco was a new experience for me.  I was there for a total of 5 days and had some great encounters.  San Francisco is known world-wide for its sourdough bread, so naturally I looked into taking a class on the subject.  I booked a workshop with Sour Flour, a neat customer owned bakery founded on 1000 free loaves of bread.

The teacher, Cat Shimizu walked us through the plan for the day, made sure everyone was aproned up and put us to work.  I learned how to make a starter and how to feed it.  Bread as most things in baking is a science, all the measurements have to be on point.  The class covered hydration percentiles, temperature thresholds, time management and other important factors.  Cat was great at putting all the details in layman’s terms, no one was left with any questions.

My favorite part by far was the no-kneading method that Cat taught in the kitchen, she calls it the “stretch and fold”, which I found amusing seeing as the initials of that were the same as the initials of the city we were in.  Yes, I am easily amused.  I put together a video of some of the highlights of the class, the stretch and fold technique is somewhat illustrated in there. For strategic purposes we made sourdough flatbread instead of a loaf.  Each student made their own and seasoned it to their liking.

The great thing about Cat and Sour Flour and the bread education they provide, is the communal experience they bring to the table.  If you need the kind of flours they use, you can order straight from them at about $1 a pound.  If you have a starter that you have questions about, they have a starter check-up service (like taking a child to the doctor).  If, worst case scenario, you lose your starter or don’t have one, they will replace it or provide you with one no questions asked.

At the end of the class, everyone went home with their own starter.  Mine found a home with a foodie friend who broke bread with me later that evening.  More stories about Fog City are in the works… I left my starter in San Francisco and one day I will return.

Stay tuned…


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