Bread, Wood Design & More

                             ...San Francisco Sourdough Bread Starter...Cooks' Tools for Making Homemade Bread
...and more...

 

What Breadmakers Say About My Starter

Linda,
Thank you so much for your very informative tips on sour dough starters. I am new to sourdough baking, but have baked my own bread for many years. Your site offered me invaluable information. My first loaf turned out like you wouldn't believe! Can't wait to try my hand at another one today!!
Sincerely,
Susan K

Dear Linda,
I received your starter 4 days ago. We made our first loaf of Sourdough Bread today and just had our first piece. It was WONDERFUL. Thank you for the great starter and for your very, very easy to follow directions. I could not have done it without you.

Sincerely,
Helene W

Somehow I hope to meet you face to face. In all my 20+ years with a PC, I've never dealt with anyone as efficient, reliable and most of all sweet as you are. I told my wife I've fallen in love on the internet.

You won't believe I just got an email from Boudini wanting me to order, NO Thanks I'll do it my Self....thanks to Linda, you just saved me $30 bucks....thanks


Subject: Happy-Ness

I used to live in the San Francisco Bay area for 20 years and am addicted to the bread. About once a year I would order from Boudin @ about $10 a loaf, but it was a treat and worth it. I got your starter abut 2 weeks ago and my third batch was just as good as my first, as good as Boudin's as a matter of fact. Thanks Mike from Indep, MO

Hi Linda,

Thank you for processing and shipping my father's order so quickly. He was very surprised to get it so fast.

Thank you!

Karyn


Linda,

Before I tell you about your product, I'd like to tell you something about myself. I'm an Executive Chef and Patissier with more than three-decades experience in Michelin-ranked venues ranging from Nassau and Miami to Manhattan and Moscow. Hence, I have more than my fair share of experience in running and managing the bakeries and pastry shops of many hotels, all of which maintained 55-gallon drums of sourdough starter (which I was necessarily obsessed with feeding each day).

Regarding your product, I say a hearty "Brava"! I have never seen as lively a culture as what you sent and let me assure your readers this is the real thing! In fact, my current restaurant is also a brewery and I took a sample of your starter to our brew master who promptly placed it under his microscope. Even he was impressed with the culture you supplied!

More than that, your companion recipe and technique booklet was excellent, especially for beginners. You did an artful job explaining each step in the process, thus saving your students from having to pore through volumes of expensive and often technical books on bread. My only caveat is that you might want to consider advising the use of Vital Wheat Gluten in the mixing of the dough as this does a remarkable job of strengthening the gluten structures of sour dough, thus providing increased rise while maintaining a free-form shape (and I do think Vitamin C is essential).

What an excellent product you have! Thank you!

Ron Hokanson
Utica, MI


Dear Linds:

E U R E K A!!! I just tasted my first slice of S.F.Sourdough bread made with your starter. It is "out of this world!" Thank you so much. It has just the right "boquet" of sourness and came out looking beautiful too. Thanks again and bye for now - I have to have another slice!!

Tom in Homestead, Florida


Linda,

I got on eBay to try and leave you feedback but I cannot seem to find where I can leave it… I think I bought the starter from you too long ago to leave feedback now, but I’ve activated it and made my first loaf. AMAZING BREAD!! Just like Boudin Bakery’s sourdough bread. Definite sour taste…. LOVE IT! My mom (who is EXTREMELY picky with sourdough as she is from San Francisco) absolutely loves it too! Thanks again for answering my questions so quickly and shipping my starter so fast… great experience!

Ciao~

Angelina


You sent me the starter in February, but I didn't have time to reactivate it until last week. True to your guarantee, it came alive with no problem at all. I will have to say that on the third morning of feeding, I couldn't resist making a loaf with the excess starter that I otherwise would have flushed down the drain. Excellent rise, even with just two days of enlivenment. The starter that was fed for three full days was even more active. Kudos on a good product.

As for putting your site in my favorites, of course I will, but I'll do you one better. You're on the homepage of my website right now (http://ginpetty.com) and in my journal entry for last week, too.

Thank you!

Gin
http://ginpetty.com


Hi Linda,

Today I made my first loaf of bread from your starter. We have around seven bakeries in Eugene and the loaf I baked today is better than any I have tried. Even better than those costing almost $4. It might even come close to what I’ve had in San Francisco.

People at one shop argued about whether I should put the dough directly on the baking stone, or put it on a baking sheet and onto the stone. I followed your directions and it is very good.

Thanks, Wayne


Hi Linda,
First I want to thank you for the speedy shipment of my order. I got it last Friday and enjoyed my new toys over the weekend. The French bread pan is wonderful! My daughter (16 years old) commented that the loaves looked “professional.” I also love the chopper/scraper/dough divider. My daughter is already asking if I can get one for her when she moves out (not for a few years yet, but she likes to think ahead). I found in addition to being great for dividing dough and scraping the counter, it is also marvelous for cutting bar cookies.
I tried your suggestion about putting the dough in the refrigerator. I took out and fed the starter in the morning, made the dough and shaped the loaves that evening and then put it in the fridge. My daughter took the loaves out when she got home from school the next day and I baked them after I got home from work. They were AWESOME! Nice tangy flavor, plus this allows me to make sourdough during the week instead of waiting until the weekend. I am thrilled with the results!! Thanks so much for your advice! Karen Harmon, Iowa


Dear Linda - I made two loaves at the weekend they were excellent! - Thanks for the yeast and all your help - Sally


Still having fun here! Here are two shapes I tried yesterday and today: It is just soooo yummy.

Hi Linda! First of all, I'd like to tell you that I have been using my starter now for 1 1/2 years. I LOVE IT! We use it all the time - for all of our bread, pancakes, waffles, pizza dough, and biscuits. It makes the best bread. I usually make 6 loaves at a time. I don't think my family would ever want to go back to "regular" store bought bread. Cara


Linda,

The bread is absolutely wonderful, will tell all my friends! thank you!
Lauren

I hope you open this. I am sooooo pleased. Here are my first babies. Thanks for the great starter.

Thanks for your great directions. This was my first use of the stand mixer as well as my first sourdough bread-making adventure. As you can see, I doubled your recipe. I used just a "tad" of whole grain kamut flour in this bread, which gives it the color, I think. Those two scrapers were a lifesaver when I started removing the dough from the kitchenaide too. I would have been sticky up to my elbows without them. Thanks again.
Best wishes,

Betty


Hi Linda,
I just got through placing an order for some of your great baking
helpers. Before that I had been in your "Reviews" section reading all
the wonderful comments from your customers. That's when it occurred to me that I think I forgot to sign my previous message to you. I e-mailed
you a message the other day after perusing your website. I'm the one
who's sister, Mary, introduced me to you and, even though I have a
tendency to get easily discouraged and I face some interesting baking
challenges with a rural Colorado winter, I was thrilled to report
fantastic results with my first two loaves of SF sourdough bread (and I
attached a picture of the first one). I took out some starter this
morning in preparation for another happy day of baking tomorrow.

I had noticed in some of the messages to you that people were giving you
permission to post them on your website. So in case you wanted to
include my previous e-mail in your "Reviews" section, by all means,
YES! And now you can add my signature!

Thank-you again, Linda! I just wanted you to know that in reading all
those reviews, I noticed a "feeling" that came across cyberspace from
all the people who write to you...that feeling of being connected with a
good friend who's there to help you if you need it and rejoices with you
in your successes. Thanks for being that "friend" to so many people!

Warmest regards,
Tricia Kauffman
South Fork, CO

Hi Linda,

I have just spent the last hour navigating your website ~ what a wonderful way to spend my afternoon teatime break! I logged on to look for recipes but first found my way to FAQ's and really enjoyed reading the comments from you and others. I wanted to share with you my excitement about my newfound hobby/passion, thanks to you and my big sister, Mary, who found you first. Like Connie, I also used to grind my own wheat and bake my own bread, but that was years ago. Since moving from California to Colorado, I haven't had the motivation to face the challenges of bread baking here, which include an 8400' elevation, living off the grid on solar power, and heating with only a wood burning stove. Also, I have a tendency to get easily discouraged when I try something new and it fails. But my sister in Atlanta, Georgia encouraged me to try my hand at this. With winter temps in the sub-zero range, our house gets down to the 50's at night, so I was skeptical about trying this now. But I just couldn't wait, so I went for it! I just got up in the middle of the night to stoke the fire during the first 72 hours to keep that optimal temperature for my yeasty babies and followed your great directions. When it came time to bake my first bread, I had to give myself a mini counseling session which went something like, "It's OK if it doesn't turn out perfect...in fact, even if it's a disaster, don't get discouraged. Just try again. And even if you bomb on the first 10 tries, don't give up - you'll eventually be successful if you just KEEP TRYING!" So, bracing myself for failure, I proceeded with the step-by-step instructions. And guess what? My very first loaf, a free-form round, was so beautiful I had to take a picture of it! But my little nay-sayer voice was telling me that yeah, it may look pretty, but will it taste good? Well, Linda, it was not only good, it was absolutely delicious! My husband, son and I had warm slices with butter for an evening snack and then finished off the rest of the loaf grilling it on the stove for breakfast the next morning. I couldn't wait to make my next loaf, so I made another the next day. I didn't think it could turn out any better than the first one, but it did! I'm sure it was the vitamin C I added to the second one, which was listed as an optional ingredient in the instructions - it really did enhance the rise. Two successes in a row - I'm stoked!! Now I'm so excited about experimenting with new shapes and added ingredients. And my friends are all standing in line to get a loaf as a gift - and I'm thrilled to be able to give them something so wonderfully wholesome and delicious, that I made myself! Thank-you, Linda, for being there for my sister to discover you and in turn, for providing me with a great gift - a passion for San Franscisco Sourdough!

P.S. I've attached the picture I took of my very first loaf of SF Sourdough bread. I didn't think of it till after I had sliced some, but I just had to capture it for posterity!
Dear Linda,
I appreciate you, your website, your detailed instructions, conscientious customer service..and your unlimited tech support !!! I'll continue to be a faithful patron, and I'll spread the word about you to all willing to have a sourdough critter colony in order to enjoy the BEST bread !!!
Blessings,
Sandy Amoroso
Mechanicsburg, PA


Made my third batch, and this was by far my best loaves! Beautiful browned tops, wonderful sour dough with great irregular holes in it. I'm in heaven with my sourdough!


Hi, Linda!

I’ve been taking some terrible liberties with the starter, and the results get better and better. All recorded (almost) as it happens on the page you’ve looked at before.

Thanks so much for getting me ‘started’ on this. I’m having a lot of fun and the friends I give loaves to are very positive.

Regards – Paul

See Paul's Sourdough Adventure Journal at
http://www.paul-marsden.com/professionals/cms/sites/site197/page.php4?page=198


Linda,
This was my 3rd batch of sourdough. I used enough flour and starter to make a 2-lb. loaf, using 1/2 cup semolina, and 1 cup a/p, the rest bread flour, with fruit fresh. I proofed it in the fridge overnight, and baked this a.m. This is magnificent in flavor. The crust is chewy and crisp, and the interior is fluffy with large holes. I couldn't be more pleased. It's grand. Thanks for the help !
Sandy A

Again, thank-you so much, Linda, for all your help. I wish you could provide training seminars in top-notch customer service to all the other establishments we all have to deal with! You've been wonderful! I'm going to your website now to order my pans and I'll be sure to keep you posted on my sourdough adventures.

Tricia

Hi Linda,
First I want to thank you for the speedy shipment of my order. I got it last Friday and enjoyed my new toys over the weekend. The French bread pan is wonderful! My daughter (16 years old) commented that the loaves looked “professional.” I also love the chopper/scraper/dough divider. My daughter is already asking if I can get one for her when she moves out (not for a few years yet, but she likes to think ahead). I found in addition to being great for dividing dough and scraping the counter, it is also marvelous for cutting bar cookies.
I tried your suggestion about putting the dough in the refrigerator. I took out and fed the starter in the morning, made the dough and shaped the loaves that evening and then put it in the fridge. My daughter took the loaves out when she got home from school the next day and I baked them after I got home from work. They were AWESOME! Nice tangy flavor, plus this allows me to make sourdough during the week instead of waiting until the weekend. I am thrilled with the results!! Thanks so much for your advice! Karen H Iowa


Dear Linda - I made two loaves at the weekend they were excellent! - Thanks for the yeast and all your help - Sally


Still having fun here! Here are two shapes I tried yesterday and today:  It is just soooo yummy.


            

Hi Linda! First of all, I'd like to tell you that I have been using my starter now for 1 1/2 years. I LOVE IT! We use it all the time - for all of our bread, pancakes, waffles, pizza dough, and biscuits. It makes the best bread. I usually make 6 loaves at a time. I don't think my family would ever want to go back to "regular" store bought bread. Cara


Linda,

The bread is absolutely wonderful,, will tell all my friends! thank you!
Lauren

I hope you open this. I am sooooo pleased. Here are my first babies. Thanks for the great starter.

Thanks for your great directions. This was my first use of the stand mixer as well as my first sourdough bread-making adventure. As you can see, I doubled your recipe. I used just a "tad" of whole grain kamut flour in this bread, which gives it the color, I think. Those two scrapers were a lifesaver when I started removing the dough from the kitchenaide too. I would have been sticky up to my elbows without them. Thanks again.
Best wishes,

Betty


Hi Linda,
I just got through placing an order for some of your great baking helpers. Before that I had been in your "Reviews" section reading all the wonderful comments from your customers. That's when it occurred to me that I think I forgot to sign my previous message to you. I e-mailed you a message the other day after perusing your website. I'm the one
whose sister, Mary, introduced me to you and, even though I have a tendency to get easily discouraged and I face some interesting baking challenges with a rural Colorado winter, I was thrilled to report fantastic results with my first two loaves of SF sourdough bread (and I
attached a picture of the first one). I took out some starter this morning in preparation for another happy day of baking tomorrow.

I had noticed in some of the messages to you that people were giving you permission to post them on your website. So in case you wanted to include my previous e-mail in your "Reviews" section, by all means, YES! And now you can add my signature!

Thank-you again, Linda! I just wanted you to know that in reading all those reviews, I noticed a "feeling" that came across cyberspace from all the people who write to you...that feeling of being connected with a good friend who's there to help you if you need it and rejoices with you in your successes. Thanks for being that "friend" to so many people!

Warmest regards,
Tricia Kauffman
South Fork, CO

Hi Linda,

I have just spent the last hour navigating your website ~ what a wonderful way to spend my afternoon teatime break! I logged on to look for recipes but first found my way to FAQ's and really enjoyed reading the comments from you and others. I wanted to share with you my excitement about my newfound hobby/passion, thanks to you and my big sister, Mary, who found you first. Like Connie, I also used to grind my own wheat and bake my own bread, but that was years ago. Since moving from California to Colorado, I haven't had the motivation to face the challenges of bread baking here, which include an 8400' elevation, living off the grid on solar power, and heating with only a wood burning stove. Also, I have a tendency to get easily discouraged when I try something new and it fails. But my sister in Atlanta, Georgia encouraged me to try my hand at this. With winter temps in the sub-zero range, our house gets down to the 50's at night, so I was skeptical about trying this now. But I just couldn't wait, so I went for it! I just got up in the middle of the night to stoke the fire during the first 72 hours to keep that optimal temperature for my yeasty babies and followed your great directions. When it came time to bake my first bread, I had to give myself a mini counseling session which went something like, "It's OK if it doesn't turn out perfect...in fact, even if it's a disaster, don't get discouraged. Just try again. And even if you bomb on the first 10 tries, don't give up - you'll eventually be successful if you just KEEP TRYING!" So, bracing myself for failure, I proceeded with the step-by-step instructions. And guess what? My very first loaf, a free-form round, was so beautiful I had to take a picture of it! But my little nay-sayer voice was telling me that yeah, it may look pretty, but will it taste good? Well, Linda, it was not only good, it was absolutely delicious! My husband, son and I had warm slices with butter for an evening snack and then finished off the rest of the loaf grilling it on the stove for breakfast the next morning. I couldn't wait to make my next loaf, so I made another the next day. I didn't think it could turn out any better than the first one, but it did! I'm sure it was the vitamin C I added to the second one, which was listed as an optional ingredient in the instructions - it really did enhance the rise. Two successes in a row - I'm stoked!! Now I'm so excited about experimenting with new shapes and added ingredients. And my friends are all standing in line to get a loaf as a gift - and I'm thrilled to be able to give them something so wonderfully wholesome and delicious, that I made myself! Thank-you, Linda, for being there for my sister to discover you and in turn, for providing me with a great gift - a passion for San Franscisco Sourdough!

P.S. I've attached the picture I took of my very first loaf of SF Sourdough bread. I didn't think of it till after I had sliced some, but I just had to capture it for posterity!


Dear Linda,
I appreciate you, your website, your detailed instructions, conscientious customer service..and your unlimited tech support !!! I'll continue to be a faithful patron, and I'll spread the word about you to all willing to have a sourdough critter colony in order to enjoy the BEST bread !!!
Blessings,
Sandy Amoroso
Mechanicsburg, PA


Made my third batch, and this was by far my best loaves! Beautiful browned tops, wonderful sour dough with great irregular holes in it. I'm in heaven with my sourdough!


Hi, Linda!

I’ve been taking some terrible liberties with the starter, and the results get better and better. All recorded (almost) as it happens on the page you’ve looked at before.

Thanks so much for getting me ‘started’ on this. I’m having a lot of fun and the friends I give loaves to are very positive.

Regards – Paul

See Paul's Sourdough Adventure Journal at
http://www.paul-marsden.com/professionals/cms/sites/site197/page.php4?page=198


Linda,
This was my 3rd batch of sourdough. I used enough flour and starter to make a 2-lb. loaf, using 1/2 cup semolina, and 1 cup a/p, the rest bread flour, with fruit fresh. I proofed it in the fridge overnight, and baked this a.m. This is magnificent in flavor. The crust is chewy and crisp, and the interior is fluffy with large holes. I couldn't be more pleased. It's grand. Thanks for the help !
Sandy Amoroso

 

Hi again, Linda!

I’ve made two batches of bread, yesterday and today, from the same sponge. I’m thrilled with the results, and have written it all up with pictures on my website.  Tried to leave a second feedback item for you on Ebay, but it wouldn’t let me. Sorry!

Thanks for everything - Paul

Hi Linda,

It is pretty darned refreshing to do business with an internet vendor who takes the time to keep their customers informed. I also realize that those Google links cost money so I'll refrain from using them in the future.

I pretty much read everything on your website last night but I'm sure I'll be back when I actually get started on this project. I do thank you for putting your directions online so that I now know what I'm getting into.

It may or may not interest you to know that my long-sleeping love of sour dough was rekindled while I was reading One Man's Wilderness - An Alaskan Odyssey. This guy (Richard Proenneke) spent many years living in the Alaskan wilderness and sour dough seems to be one of his principle food stuffs.

At any rate, I'm looking forward to baking some bread and I thank you once again for care that you take with your internet business.

Best regards,

Frank

Just wanted to say I love your clay baking pans. They have really improved the baking process for me. (This message arrived with an order for two more Rada Stoneware Loaf Pans!)

Thanks Rich.


Hi Linda:

My husband bought me your sourdough starter kit for Christmas, and I love it--the starter is much better and sourer and easier to deal with than the one I bought at our local fancypants kitchen shop. So far, the bread we've made has been delicious--and the sourdough pancakes made with the leftover stuff too--and I'm really enjoying this.

Linda,
I'm a terrible baker. Could just not get it down. Your starter and your instructions have me making edible things! I also found that the sourdough makes an excellent pizza crust! I've found that regular dough is very tough to spread and retain a thin, flat shape. The sourdough not only makes a good thin, crisp crust, it tastes better! Thanks for putting out a great product!


Linda,
Thanks for the speedy delivery... this stuff is fantastic! If I take it out of the fridge to make a sponge, it's going in just a few hours!  Rrises great and tastes even better!
Thanks,
Mark R.

Linda,
I am amazed beyond words at how beautifully my first loaves turned out. Very chewy and crusty, and downright delicious !!!  Thank-you so much for the mentoring.
Blessings, Sandy

Linda,

You were right, the knife is great and the stirrer works perfectly.


HI Linda, I was cleaning up my inbox and came across this. Just wanted to thank you again for the wonderful directions and other information. I have loaves in the oven at the moment. I've been baking about twice a week. My husband's favorite is when I make sourdough fruit bread using orange juice for the last addition of liquid and some malt syrup as sweetener. Then I add about one and a half cups of dried fruit cut into small dice. It is heavenly.

I've been adding about one or two cups of "white whole wheat flour" and a table spoon of rye flour to my regular sourdough. What a wonderful loaf!
Thank you so much. Mary

Hello,

Back in August I purchased a starter from you and I have been enjoying it since then. Truly great bread. Richard.

Hi Linda.
I've been successfully making sourdough for a few weeks now--your starter and instructions worked great, and we're all very happy. I've been hunting-down other ingredients to make some of my favorite foods from back home in the Bay Area - Mortadella and Dry Salami on a sourdough roll is a favorite - can't find the soft Monterey Jack cheese, though, to finish it

Hi,

I just wanted to pass along a little note letting you know your starter that I ordered a few weeks ago is absolutely awesome! I followed your activation instructions to the letter and this past weekend created some of the best sourdough bread ever! I enjoyed the entire process, from watching the little critters grow in the starter to removing the two beautiful loaves from the oven. Although the best part I must say was the first taste!!!!

Thanks again for your excellent product and service! Happy Holidays to you all

John

Hello Linda,

Well, that was great fun. My kitchen is one of the most entertaining places in my world.
I tried sourdough bread making several years ago and was disappointed in the yeast. It took 3 days for it to come to life, then was sort of feeble. The strain I got from you was very lively right away, exuberant even. I followed your instruction to the letter and the result is two beautiful rounds of sourdough bread. They rose very high and are so reminiscent of the bread from the City, it's making me homesick.

I'd say that my experience was a howling success and I thank you for your detailed assisstance. I never knew about collecting steam in the oven to obtain that crust.
Thanks again,
Carol


Linda,

It was PERFECT! Well, not quite- I didn't use quite enough flour, it rose out, not up (but, hey, perfect for paninis, right?).

The starter worked perfectly, the taste was good and sour.

Thanks again so much for your help.

Working on a recipe for sourdough pretzels, wille let you know when I am satisfied.

Kevin


Linda, I bought one of these bread knives for myself and love it and decided two of my kids would like this for Christmas presents So now they will have them. Thank You for having such good bread knives. Marie Griswold, Gainesville,Tx.
Linda,
First of all, I'd like to thank you for getting my order to me so quickly. I got my starter going the day after I received my order and it is VERY vigorous and growing like crazy. I'm looking forward to making my first loaf this weekend. My husband and I both LOVE sourdough.
Thanks, Michele

Linda,
I wanted to let you know that we made our first batch of bread on Saturday (it took all day!), and it turned out wonderfully! We made 4 small loaves and they were delicious!

Thanks so much!
Christine


Thanks for your help! My bread turned out wonderful on the second attempt (Thanks to your advice.). Art

Hi Linda, thanks for the speedy service!
Feedback has been left.
We have 24 hours more to go for the starters 72 hour activation period. I couldn't bring myself to discard some of the starter so used the excess for pancakes this morning using one of your recipes on your site.
My wife and I think the pancakes reminds us of a crepe in texture and with the same after taste. Not as filling as a regular pancake!
They were great!
Can't wait for 24 more hours to go by.
We have 8" of new snow on the ground and a well stocked pantry so its sure time for some bread making.
Thank you. Dave


Linda,

Thanks for the quick reply. Your promise of service was the deciding factor in my buying the starter from you. You certainly came through. I was very relieved to know the starter was fully activated.

I gave the starter one last feeding at three hours and will put it into the frig for the three day ripening period. I've been searching the web for recipes and I can't wait to have sourdough pancakes and biscuits this weekend. And then there's that first loaf of bread.

I noticed on your FAQ that the starter will get more sour as it "matures." Assuming I'm using the starter a couple of times a week, do you know about how long it will take to mature?

Margaret


Linda,

You're a Peach.......nice doing business with you.

Doug


Linda,

Thanks for the info. More importantly, thank you very much for making it right. It is always a pleasure to do business with trully honest, honorable people.

And yes, I have your website bookmarked as a "favorite." I don't google you.

Thanks again.

Kevin

Dear Linda,

Well, your website promised that you'd refund extra freight if I ordered a combination of items instead of one of the kits. But truthfully, I have to say that I was amazed when I got the email saying you had actually refunded my credit card for $6. Amazing!! Thank you for your honesty and your willingness to charge only what it costs for shipping, instead of trying to make a profit on the shipping. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You can be sure that I'll be back again with an order for some other things I want.

Dear Bob,

You Rock!! Obviously I had not seen that article and I was enthralled! The whole process makes good, logical sense and I cannot wait to try it. Thank you so much for taking the time to send me the link.

Please let me know how your breadmaking goes...especially with Lahey's method. It is wonderful how much I learn from the people who buy my starter--I love it!

Again, thanks! And I really do appreciate your bookmarking the site too.
Big help!

Cheers!

Linda
www.SourdoughBreads.com

Dear Linda,

Thanks for your message. I've bookmarked your site. It's been a while since I've done any bread baking. My interest was piqued again by a recent article in the NYTimes, which you may have seen. If not, and you are interested, here is the link -


http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/08mini.html?ref=dining


There was already a comment posted by someone who had tried it with good results using a sourdough starter.

Bob
How refreshing, a web site that actually reads, AND responds to e- mail - I will be spending more time in the kitchen, due , in part, because of my retirement - (6 years ago) but mostly becase of my love of cooking - I WILL be spending more time (and money) at your web
site. :-)

Again, Thanks
Don


Hi Linda,
I wanted to write and let you know how my sourdough is going. I have since baked bread many times with fabulous and professional results! I even impressed myself! :) Each time, I have continued to take out 1 cup of starter and baked big batches. I have been giving so much of it away that I've been baking bread almost every weekend. I also tried using it as my pizza crust last weekend and it turned out great!!! I just wanted to say thank you again for your help. You've turned me into a sourdough baker!!

Thanks again,
Kelly


Attention Potential Sour Dough People of the Universe

Once in a great while you run across a firm that makes you feel as if you
were doing business with a close personal friend; I am extremely please to
let you know that Linda Worburton’s operation at
http://www.sourdoughbreads.com/ is just such a company.

Not only does Linda provide a wonderful product, she quickly ships it with
easy to follow instructions, provides free recipes, and even offers superior
technical advise on how to keep the starter alive and healthy. If her
advise and your efforts are not sufficient to keep the starter active, she
will even send a fresh starter kit, FREE OF CHARGE.

Recently, through a misfortunate accident, or possibly through my own sheer
stupidity, I managed to kill my beloved ten-year-old starter, Sally. Sally
Starter had become a deeply loved member of our family, and she is greatly
missed. Upon learning of Sally’s death Linda offered her deepest
condolences, recommended a quick burial, and offered to send a fresh starter
kit off in the mail. Linda made this offer even though Sally had suffered
an untimely death through my own negligence.

I grew up in a sourdough-loving family - my mother’s starter was claimed to
have a traceable history of almost 100 years. That starter of my youth was
an original Idaho Territory starter, passed down through several generations
of pioneer people. Thirty-five years later I can still smell the early
morning aroma, and almost taster the robust flavor of the pancakes made with
that aged starter.

Today, the starter kit provided by the Sour Dough Breads people has just
such a grand flavor. If you have not had the opportunity to enjoy homemade
sourdough products, this is as good a starter as you will likely ever run
across. I highly recommend you spend the few bucks this kit costs, as that
small investment will bring you many years of great sour dough delights.
Hopefully your starter will become a significant member of your household,
just as it is in mine.


Best of luck, and if you develop a new terrific recipe, please send it along
to Linda’s web site.

Sincerely

Joe Thon

Connecticut


Hi Linda,

Your sourdough starter is “THE BEST”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love the taste from my home bread with your starter!

Thank you,
Christina

Hi Linda,

I received your two shipments some time ago, made up a batch exactly according to your instructions, made myself waffles a couple of times, but the big test would be our annual gathering in Yosemite. We have been there with the same group in late October for the past 10-15 years and on the included Saturday my wife and I make them a sourdough pancake breakfast This time it was to be with the new starter. Everyone agreed they were everybit as good as those done with my prior starter.

Thank you so much for your help.

Did you get the package I sent you with my recipes, etc?

Fairwinds, Neal Walker

Dear Linda,

I received the bowl scrapers today and am very pleased with them. They are very like something I used in Belgium called a corne. Thanks for the bags also and I am glad I found you on the web.

Sandra


Hi, Linda

Sure -- use my recommendation on your reviews page if you like!

My usual recipe now includes about one half cup of rye flour in a 1 lb. loaf. I think it enhances the texture. Sometimes I also add a third cup of grated parmesan, depending. I mix the rye and parmesan, along with the salt, in the second addition of flour, as you recommend.

Recently, I have begun using my convection oven for baking smaller 1 lb loaves. I have a Sharp micro/convection, which is OK for smaller loaves up to about 1 lb. To begin, I preheat the Sharp to 325 degrees, then I add two cups of boiling water to the round drip tray at the bottom. Then I raise the Sharp's temp to 375. Only then, when it's up to 375 heat, do I insert my 1 lb. loaf (more or less), and there's still enough hot water left to moisten the oven for a few minutes. Sounds involved, but in practise I've found it simpler than a spray bottle, opening and closing, etc. With this Sharp method I use an aluminum pizza pan with a zillion small holes in it and 40 - 45 minutes baking. For the larger loaves I still use my regular oven and spray bottle, more toward your method -- there I have found useful a Cuisinart "Everyday" stainless/copper laminate griddle -- it's great. I use this method for larger loaves 2 lbs or more.

Cheers!

Tom


I just wanted to send a note of thanks for your services. I have made 5 batches of bread and am thouroughly pleased with it. I could not have done it without your very detailed instructions.

Thank you.

I am attaching pictures just because I am so happy with how it turns out!

Thanks again,

brenda


Linda!
I've had your sourdough starter since Jan '06. It's still growing here in Massachusetts. It's excellent, and more forgiving than others I've tried.
My prior experiments were merely two conventional foil packet yeasts, fast and regular. They soured but needed too much feeding, too often. Forget a feeding, and they died. Also some were invaded by resident airborne yeasts, and lost the desired sourness. Sometimes they croaked and got moldy for no apparent reason.
With yours, as you recommend, it is important to keep a stash as backup in the refrigerator. I renew my stash every ten days or so, perhaps more often than necessary.
Your yeast rises more slowly than the conventional types, as you say. But slowness is a benefit in a a starter, I think. To compensate, my bread making begins in the morning. I kick up the starter the night prior. I haven't lost a batch yet, thanks to you!
Regards,
Tom Andrews
Duxbury, MA


Hey Linda - package received today and the culture is active as of 10 minutes ago. Thank you for excellent genuine service, exactly as advertised! I'll let you know when I'm chewing sourdough this weekend! :*)

Best regards,

Andy

PS. Any email I send you can be shared on your website - full permission.


Hi Linda,

I've had so much fun with my SF sourdough starter. I have kept sourdough starter for years and have baked lots of bread, but it just never was really "San Franciscoey" enough. I had tried adding a little vinegar to make the bread more sour, but still wasn't happy. I actually used my old starter with your directions because I couldn't wait three days to try it, and the bread seemed more authentic than it had been before. Yesterday I used YOUR starter and made the loaves in glass loaf pans and they were great! My husband and sons all agreed that it tasted like the "real stuff". :-) Sheryl

I got the knife and it works wonderfully. Thanks for your great bread knife and the sourdough recipes I am enjoying both very much. Thomas

Linda, I just took these two beautiful loaves of bread out the oven. My son was here and took one home with him. He also took some starter to try his hand at it. This was the first time I baked my own sourdough bread. I can't thank you enough for your help. I took the rest of the sponge this afternoon and made two french loaves which are now in the oven. I am sending you pictures of these two first loaves I baked. I want to mention also the texture was perfect as was the taste.The loaves are disappearing as I write to you and everyone is anxiously waiting for the french bread to come out of the oven. thanks again Carolyn

--Oh, yes, I forgot to tell you -- I have used the bread bags several times. The large one is excellent for bagging yeast rolls. The smaller ones are great for sourdough or basic bread baked in a bread pan. Lamar

Wow, I love the stirrer. It really did make a difference!


Well, Linda, I've successfully created two loaves from my first batch! The texture inside and out was very good. I need to learn to "round" better as I got some splits on the bottom of the loafs.

I've got my stash safely in the refrigerator, which I will seal up tomorrow and I've got another sponge going which I will use to make a big loaf tomorrow.

I used the parchment paper, which worked very well. I put the corn starch under the loaf on the paper and got good coverage on the bottom of the loaves.

I'm eager to try a refrigerator rise as you suggested. That should allow me to make bread midweek. I've made yeast rolls that way, so I'll use that to judge the time for rise.

Thanks for everything. I'm having a great time this weekend.
Hope you are too!
Laura
My first batch made and it is absolutely delicious! Made one very large peasant type loaf which is the best of the lot -- also made small dinner rolls, and four burger buns, and 4 small thin Italian loafs. You've added a great treat to our meals.

Sincerely, Betty Teeter


OK, Linda- I ordered your SF starter, then a couple of weeks lated I ordered your knife. Your service is fantastic, my brother in Austin and aunt in Green Valley Az. have both ordered starter from you because I bragged so much!

--Oh, yes, I forgot to tell you -- I have used the bread bags several times. The large one is excellent for bagging yeast rolls. The smaller ones are great for sourdough or basic bread baked in a bread pan. Lamar

Wow, I love the stirrer. It really does make a difference!


Well, Linda, I've successfully created two loaves from my first batch! The texture inside and out was very good. I need to learn to "round" better as I got some splits on the bottom of the loafs.

I've got my stash safely in the refrigerator, which I will seal up tomorrow and I've got another sponge going which I will use to make a big loaf tomorrow.

I used the parchment paper, which worked very well. I put the corn meal under the loaf on the paper and got good coverage on the bottom of the loaves.

I'm eager to try a refrigerator rise as you suggested. That should allow me to make bread midweek. I've made yeast rolls that way, so I'll use that to judge the time for rise.

Thanks for everything. I'm having a great time this weekend. Hope you are too!
Laura


My first batch made and it is absolutely delicious! Made one very large peasant type loaf which is the best of the lot -- also made small dinner rolls, and four burger buns, and 4 small thin Italian loafs. You've added a great treat to our meals. Sincerely, Betty Teeter


OK, Linda- I ordered your SF starter, then a couple of weeks lated I ordered your knife. Your service is fantastic, my brother in Austin and aunt in Green Valley Az. have both ordered starter from you becasue I bragged so much!

Success!

Linda, I made five loaves over the week end and they all turned out wonderfully.

Thanks for your starter and the instructions!

Mark


Hi Linda,

I wanted to let you know that the starter is alive and growing. :) Everything worked out fine. I have left you positive feedback and I thank you for a great product and excellent service. I wish more ebay sellers cared the way you do.

The first loaf turned out perfect and I expect more great loaves in the future.

Richard


Hey Linda!
Again, thank your husband for the great spoon with the holes in it. It is perfect for stirring the starter and scraping the bowl at the same time. Today, I used the "rising bowl" you sent to me to make another batch of rolls, and it works great. Later, Lamar


Hi Linda:

It is so great to be able to ask you questions and know that you will actually respond.  That is a wonderful service to your clients. Thank you very much.


Linda:

Success on my first try!!! I was nervous throughout the process of creating the starter because I was never sure if things looked right. But I followed your instructions to the letter, and the bread turned out beautifully. My husband even got caught up in the whole thing and helped me--he never goes in the kitchen so this was surprising. We opted to make 4 small oblong loaves. They browned perfectly and rose perfectly. I couldn't be more pleased. We just had our first piece and it was delicious. Thank you for a wonderful product.

One question. How do I keep a loaf fresh that has been partially eaten? I put a piece of plastic wrap just over the cut edge and then put it in a brown paper sack. Is that the way to do it?

Thanks Again,

Janette


Hi Linda,

I looked at the first bread knife you sent me and wondered why it is so much better then any other bread knife I ever bought. Most bread knives have teeth straight down. Yours has a slight forward sweep, which makes it easy to cut through a good crust. I've baked at least 20 loaves since I got your starter and all were perfect. I share my loaves with others. I follow your instruction as much as possible but have to change the amount of flour depending on the flour or humidity in the air. In other words I do what the dough tells me to do by the way it feels. I bake four full free style loaves at a time by changing the amount of flour I add to my sponge. I've tried caraway seed, rosemary and other herbs ( being careful not to overpower the sourdough taste ) with great results. I looked at your website and there are some folks who are having a hard time baking your bread. I feel for them. If you want to give them my e-address, I'll try to help them. Thank You, Steve

Thank you for such a wonderful and informative website! I have been making bread for several years and always had trouble with sourdough. I always left the stuff on the counter and inevitably had to throw it away. i put the stuff in the refrigerator and its still good! i wasn't sure so i was given your address and followed the instructions. i did not know what that liquid on top was until now. I poured it off and let the starter come to room temperature after i fed it. The starter is doing very well and i am going to make some cinnamon rolls. Just out of curiousity, how did the old timers keep this stuff fresh? They did not have refrigeration like we have today. I know from experience after some time out on the counter the starter isn't any good. We live in Texas and it gets HOT here. Thank you again. Teresa


Linda,

Absolutely! I too spent quite a bit of time on your site before purchasing your starter and found the site very helpful. I have always enjoyed cooking but have never done any baking so this is all pretty new to me. My wife and I have always enjoyed sourdough bread, the more sour and chewy the better, and this is quite exciting. We will continue to monitor your website for tips to increase the sour taste.

Have a great day, and again, thanks,
Doug

Hi Linda;
Just to tell you that I made the first loaves of bread today. The flavor is TERRIFIC. I can hardly stop eating it. I want to, once again, compliment you on your very good product and wonderful directions.
One thing, Linda. Being old and wearing full dentures, I would prefer to not have the crust as "chewy". I think I know how to make it different, but would you have any suggestions along this line????

You know...so much of what we hear in advertising in every media...is blatantly false. I want to tell you that your product is VERY good...and your caring and LOVING instructions are worth double what you charge.
I will try to not bother you and take up your valuable time unless I decide to buy more of whatever you have. God Bless you with every good grace.


Hi Linda,

We recently purchased your starter and now have several loaves of great bread under out belt (literally :-)) and wanted to thank you. The starter was easily reactivated per the instructions in your booklet, has been used twice and is happily hibernating on the top shelf of the refrigerator!

Thanks again,
Doug

Dear Linda,
5 Stars to you and your sourdough starter.
If you recall in a previous e-mail that I had lost my start after 18 years of the best pancakes anyone had ever had. And that I had tried many other starts with less than satisfactory results.
Well we just finished a very much missed sourdough breakfast using your start. Even invited some friends over as guinea pigs who have enjoyed breakfast here before and We have to say WOW, it was as good as we have ever had.  Thank You So Much for the efforts you put into the quality of your product. Without You, we may never have enjoyed a good sourdough breakfast again.  Here's to your continued success!!

Sincerely,
Doug


Received my order extraordinarily fast. I am so pleased with the quality of the products I ordered. Thanks.


Dear Linda,
I am so pleased! My first loaf was gone within an hour at work. Everyone said it was the best bread they have ever had. Your instructions were great, and I followed it just as you said. The flavor is just like authentic San Francisco sourdough. God bless you! Well, let me also tell you that I am a native of southern California, and always took for granted the wonderful flavor of San Francisco bread. I moved to memphis in 1998 and found a good bread here @ sessel grocery store. Well they went out of business a few years ago. Recently I did a google search (authentic san francisco sour dough starter) and I found you! Wow you have helped fullfill one of my dreams! Congradulations! God is going to bless you! Thanks, Jeannie from Memphis, Tn.


Hello, I started the starter Thursday and it started to bubble within an hour and was very active by the first hour. I kept it fed and ended up with a very sourdough smelling active starter. I made two free form loaves and a round. I have been making sour dough starters for years and keep killing them off because they do not produce the flavor I was looking for. Having the urge to make bread and on a whim I thought "I wonder what eBay would have for starters", and I found you. San Francisco Sourdough starter from Texas? I thought, with the lack of success I had been having with my starters what could it hurt. I am glad I did, perfect flavor just what I was looking for. Thank You for putting it out there and thanks again for the customer support. Albert


Good morning, Linda. I received my starter in the mail from you Friday afternoon. I had everything ready to start the activation process. Followed your directions to the Tee and it didn't look so active after about 12 hours but I fed the starter and then within the next 4 hours things took off like a rocket. These little babies are hungry and you talk about a growing, active, healthy looking starter.
This is what I remember my starter looked like when I got into sourdough baking down in Kansas City many moons ago. I am completing my 72 hours of feeding this afternoon and will feed and put the starter in the frig and start baking this weekend. Thanks so very much for getting this starter to me so quickly and for your information on your website. My Family is waiting patiently for the first loaf of sourdough but it will go on for waffles, biscuits, pancakes, etc. You have created a Monster here in Minneapolis. I will drop you a line next week to let you know how that first load it turns out. I know it will take some time to get everything right as far as the baking goes but with an active starter like I have, you can't lose and it will be fun. Thanks again, David.


Hi Linda,

Hopefully you like this sort of fan mail!

I made my first loaf last night and it was great. Apparently the water in the oven (both pan and spray) really worked because it has a great crust.

This was the first loaf of bread that I made outside of a breadmaker. I was worried about every step, but in the end it didn't seem to matter that I wasn't sure if it had doubled in size before I put it in the loaf pan, or that I cut the surface a little too deep, or that I didn't cut it right before I put it in the oven, etc. And even though I used a loaf pan, the crust was great and it rose above the top of the pan. (I had sprayed canola oil in the pan, which may have helped the crust.)

All in all it was a great experience.

FYI, I let the starter/sponge sit almost 36 hours before making the dough instead of 24 and I used 2 tablespoons of rye and a couple of teaspoons of sourdough enhancer (since I didn't find any ascorbic acid at my markets.)

Now I have lots of sponge in my refrigerator as well as my starter stash.
Anyone for pancakes?

Best regards,

russell


O.K. Linda

Wow… such great info. I love it!!

It makes sense about using bread flour as opposed to all purpose etc. The main reason I asked is because my starter took on a whole new personality when I switched from all purpose to bread flour…. It became A LOT thicker and more glutenous (is that even a real word?). But of course it makes sense as the bread flour has a higher protein content. Anyway, long story short… my starter is very happy with the bread flour and also my loaves are coming out better for sure!! I just got done snacking on the “end” of a newly hatched loaf (bread machine). It just doesn’t get any better than an “end” covered with real butter while still warm. And the genuine San Francisco sourdough taste… Linda there is no way to explain eating genuine SF sourdough in my Kentucky kitchen… that I made myself!!

I like the tea towel idea also. Plastic wrap just doesn’t look right anyway. Also, I appreciate the tip about a little extra flour for the free form loaves. Can you knead this dough too much?? I get a little concerned about overworking the dough but like everything else… practice makes perfect huh??

And yes… please feel free to use any and/or all of my e-mails on your website. What better way to learn than by the experiences of others huh?? Actually, I can attribute some (most) of my success with the bread machine to Joe Wagner’s e-mails.

Anyway, I believe it’s time to go get another slice of that fresh loaf so I’ll close for now.

Thanks again Linda

Randy


Hi Randy,

Thank you so much for your great feedback. I just love people who are as nuts about sourdough as I am…and it definitely sounds like you’re thoroughly hooked.

May I have your permission to post some or all of your text on the FAQ and Reviews pages of my web site? So much of what you say is not only informative but also encouraging to newbies.

Now for your questions. After you have baked enough with sourdough starter to understand what you’re doing and how it behaves, you can keep your starter at any consistency that you want—from about like pancake batter to very thick, but not quite dough, and it won’t matter to your yeast and lactobacillus babies. The only difference will be that you will adjust your amounts of ingredients as you make your sponge and then your dough.

As for flours, that’s a different story. You will get distinctly different results with dough made from all different types of flours, but all will be acceptable in my opinion. I buy bread flour by the 50 lb. ($9!!!) bag at Costco or Sam’s, so I tend to use it for just about all steps. For free form loaves, bread flour, which is higher in protein, will give you a better, more predictable shape than the all-purpose, which has a lower protein content and doesn’t form gluten that is as strong as that formed by the use of bread flour. That said, use what you like!

I too use a large glass bowl for my feedings and I used to use plastic wrap to cover it. I have now gone back to my grandma’s practice, before plastic wrap existed, and I use a cotton tea towel to keep out bugs and dirt. That’s why I started selling the tea towels on my web site. The cotton towel is sooo much easier to handle than that *#$@$!! plastic wrap and it looks much better too. When my sponge is in my mixer bowl, the towel is large enough to cover the top of the KA mixer and the bowl too! Plus, it’s reusable! With all that, the answer is, leave it loose so it can breathe! ?

Two more comments—one you asked for and one you didn’t. You’re absolutely right about the clean-up of sourdough stuff—I always let everything soak in cold water and then it comes off easily. But it is sticky stuff—much more so than ‘normal’ flour and water. You’re also right that I should warn people about it!

When you make your ‘free form’ loaves, be sure to add a little extra flour for a slightly dryer dough—not sticky—and knead very well. If you don’t, your free-form loaves are likely to ‘rise sideways’—in other words, flatten out, instead of rising up and making a nicely rounded loaf.

Let me hear! And thanks again for the great communication!

Cheers and Happy Days!

Linda
SourdoughBreads.com

________________________________________
Hello again Linda

Yes I have previously ordered a couple of months ago I believe. Let me tell you that a lot has happened since I received my starter from you. Never before have I given such care and attention to a living thing since my children were born. My starter is an absolute marvel to behold and I usually have two or three different batches going at any given time.

In the beginning, I simply used to toss any extra starter down the drain during feedings but now it has become so precious I can hardly stand to waste it. As a result I believe I may have eaten about 1000 sourdough pancakes as a result. I never even knew sourdough pancakes existed until I started researching recipes. Now it’s very rare for any starter to hit the drain. I have also made several loaves of the most awesome bread in my bread machine (Thanks so very much to Joe Wagner for his great e-mails)!!

I guess now would be a good time for a couple of questions. First, I’m a little curious as to what the proper texture of the starter should be. I consistently use the 1:1 ratio of flour to water and it seems a little thin… about like pancake batter. Also, does it matter what type of flour I use?? I started with Gold Medal all purpose but recently switched to White Lily unbleached bread flour and my starter seems to prefer the White Lily with better feeding action and a better aroma for sure.

Second, I use a large glass Pyrex bowl for my feedings and my question pertains to the plastic wrap. Do you seal the top of the bowl air tight or do you just drape it over?? I have been sealing mine air tight however sometimes I’ll lift an edge of the wrap to let it “burp” a little.

O.K. Now for an observation/tip that may prove useful to us sourdough “newbies”. I discovered that it is far easier to wash the starter off bowls and utensils with cold water first and then follow with hot soapy water. This makes a huge difference in the cleanup process and your drain will thank you for it too!!

Anyway, It’s obvious that sourdough cookery is more than a hobby Linda… it’s an absolutely wonderful addiction!!

Thanks again Linda for your wonderful product and excellent website. I’ll be trying my hand at making loaves by hand soon and I’ll let you know how it goes. O.K. I better get going as I just heard my favorite sound… the bread machine is beeping!! Another loaf is born…

Randy

Dear Linda,

I am not sure how I found your web site, I certainly wasn’t looking for sourdough bread that’s for sure, however I did find your site and I am so grateful. Firstly, I should say the information you provide is so comprehensive, and so easy to understand (critters and all) even for an English woman. I read everything written including the FAQ’s.  I have tried the bread and although it was slightly (and I mean slightly) more doughy than usual, (I am my own worse critic) it tasted far superior to all other efforts. Apart from that it looked so very nice.  Joy Peterson


Hi Linda,

A few months ago I gave your sourdough yeast and instructions a try. I've never baked bread before, and barely had made brownies from a mix. I was amazed and delighted at the incredible breads that I was actually baking myself! Your instructions are perfect and easy to follow. The bread is absolutely awesome. I have experimented with different flours and ingredients and all have worked beautifully. In addition to classic San Francisco style, I have made an Austrian whole-grain dark rye with Millet, cracked wheat, flaxseed, and seasoned with molasses and barley malt. Other "stunners" include Spelt wheat, Aramanth-wheat, and German pretzels. I can't wait for weekends largely because I do my baking then. Thanks for the inspiration, encouragement, and your all-around excellent products that allowed even a total greenhorn to become the family "master baker"!

Sincerely,
Robert M. Haas
Michigan

Hi Linda.
I just wanted to let you know that after starting over last September following the sad death of my original starter (which I froze while on vacation), I have been happily making bread and my package-mix recipe biscuits and pancakes. I also tried making waffles using Krusteaz, and they turned out great. I mixed 2 cups of well-fed starter into the 2-cup Krusteaz waffle recipe. My sourdough bread has become so popular with friends and relatives, that if I come to a party without it, everyone wants to know why.

I spent a week visiting a friend in Las Vegas recently and took some starter to make some bread for her. She didn't have a mixer or food processor, so I had to hand-knead the bread. I discovered that it was actually easier to make larger amounts of bread this way. I normally make at least a triple-batch of bread (your basic recipe using 2 cups of starter each), which means 3 separate batches in the mixer. Using the hand-knead method, I mix it all together in a large bowl, then when I can't stir any longer I turn it out onto my granite counter and mix in the rest of the flour by hand. It takes about 15 minutes a batch using the mixer, for at least 45 minutes total time. The hand method takes about 20 minutes. The other advantage is that all of the bread is now rising for the same amount of time. And the bread is still wonderfully delicious!  Thanks so much for your wonderful starter, recipes, and assistance!  Susan Tucker, San Pedro, CA

Hi Linda.........we ordered and received your starter and have successfully produced our first loaf of sourdough bread......wonderful crust and great sour dough flavor! Your directions are so thorough and complete.

Thanks,

Lyn and Jim
Fresno, California

PS--You certainly may use our comments in your "reviews" page. We actually use that as a reference to answer some questions that came up. Also meant to tell you that the crust was wonderful....that water spray method worked perfectly!

Hi Linda,
You are more than welcome to use my comments on your website. In fact, it would be cool to see them there.
Thanks again for a great sourdough.
Doug


Dear Linda,

5 Stars to you and your sourdough starter.  If you recall in a previous e-mail that I had lost my start after 18 years of the best pancakes anyone had ever had. And that I had tried many other starts with less than satisfactory results.

Well we just finished a very much missed sourdough breakfast using your start. Even invited some friends over as guinea pigs who have enjoyed breakfast here before and We have to say WOW, it was as good as we have ever had.

Thank You So Much for the efforts you put into the quality of your product. Without You, we may never have enjoyed a good sourdough breakfast again.  Here's to your continued success!!

Sincerely,

Doug Johnston

Dear Linda:

Ah!!!! Sweet Success. Thank you, Thank you, thank you!!!!! Yummy!!! My second loaf made today was wonderful. Now I'm going to try a multigrain bread, then a loaf with olives and some in the free form round. I got the dough stiff this time. I used a glass bread pan. Oh Joy!!! What FUN!! Also, I'm going to try Sourdough pizza-- I have a great recipe for a topping. Fresh tomatoes in chunks, olive oil, fresh garlic and ricotta, sprinkled with fresh basil.

I'm so very pleased with my starter! Thank you ever so much!!!  Arlene


Dear Linda, I have made so many loaves of bread and each and everyone has come out great! From regular loaves to rounds to foccacia! Thanks soo much!  Debbie B.

Dear Linda:

Your service and response time to my order was nothing short of remarkable. Everything arrived just as promised and the quality of the package was beyond what you had promised. As we have been blessed with a huge amount of work at the office, I couldn't begin working my starter until this weekend, but it is going very well and the smells in our kitchen are beginning to develop. Needless to say, I can't wait to bake my first loaf of bread. By the way, the bread knife you sent is without question the best I have ever used. Even my very picky wife is impressed. I have recommended it to several friends and I'm sure you will sell them too.

Thanks so much for everything. Now all I have to do is increase my exercise program to offset the increase in bread consumption.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season.

Sincerely Yours,

Dick Haayen-

Hi! Happy Holidays!!
It took me 10 months but I have finally solved the problem I wrote to you some months ago about. (My Sourdough loaves would come out somewhat flat).  I was kneading it FOREVER, at least 20-25 min. and still no luck.  I was not putting enough flour in. I'm adding flour now till the dough has no tackiness left and VIOLA!! Nice round high loaves that are beautiful!!! I've even has sucess making the dough the night before and keeping it in the fridge overnight and it still comes out great!!

I still can't thank you enough from providing the starer to get this going. We have found to it helps to name your "stash" so you don't forget about him/her!! Ours is "Tina" & on the fridge is a note that says "Don't forget to feed Tina!" : )

Did you ever make the waffles? We love them.. (Susy's Waffle Recipe is on the Recipes Page!)

Happy Holidays and take care Linda,
Susy in Seattle


Dear Linda,

Thanks for your swift reply ! You may use any of my input any way you like. I'm glad to contribute to "sourdough science".

My daughter-in-law Rachel (a former resident of San Francisco) had been nagging me ever since I bought my "bread machine" to bake her some SF sourdough bread. (That's why I contacted you.) Rachel got the first loaf, and she's ecstatic. She says the flavor and texture are JUST RIGHT.

Sincerely, Joe


Dear Linda,

Thanks for a terrific product. My very first loaf came out superbly. Its flavor, texture, and aroma couldn't have been surpassed.

I followed your excellently-written instructions almost to the letter. The only changes I made were:

1) I used only distilled water in activating the starter. That was a precaution against contaminating it with extraneous flavors. (Our tap water here "tastes funny".)  Linda's Note:  I advised him to use spring water instead of distilled water.  The starter actually likes the minerals in water.

2) I made my bread in a "1 1/2 pound" bread machine, according to your instructions except for one thing.  I left the pan in the machine throughout the procedure
instead of removing it after each mixing stage& covering it with plastic wrap.

I did bake the bread in a conventional oven, though.

Anyway, I saw no reason to move the bread pan in and out of the machine until I was ready to bake -- and my resulting loaves show that no harm resulted...

Sincerely, Joe Wagner


Hi Linda,

We have been enjoying many months of making San Francisco Sourdough Bread from your starter. We both love it. I am so glad I found your website. My husband does a wonderful job of making the bread. I have got Cisco (the name we have given to our Sourdough culture) out now so we can bake some bread on the weekend. I love the smell it has.

Thank you so much! We both get excited about feeding Cisco and watching him grow. I know we sound like psychos but it is amazing to watch the bubbles and know that he is alive.

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a very bright and prosperous New Year.

Cheers,
Michelle in Australia


HI Linda, It's been awhile since I've written to you. I just want to tell you how happy we are with the San Francisco sourdough starter I purchased from you earlier this year. It hasn't lost any of it's zip--it is really very active. I start my sponge in the evening before I make the bread. In the morning it is very bubbly and frothy. I am now making a multi-grain bread. My wife and I are so surprised to see how nice and light it is. I never used to be able to make a good light multi-grain or a 100% whole wheat bread before. Even when I used to use bakers yeast in my baking, I could never do it. Now I can make both--very light and tasty bread. I also want to thank you for the fine instructions you sent me with the starter. I followed them to the letter and the results are great! I wish you and yours a Merry and Blessed Christmas.

Sincerely, Frank SanGregory from Ohio

P.S. You may use my comments on your web-site if you wish.
_____________________________
In God We Trust--God Bless The World
_____________________________

Hi Linda,

Hope you all are well.  I'm back in the baking business now that the snowy weather has arrived here in NY State.

I just got finished baking and thought to send you a photo.



The breads to the rear are some lightweight sourdough baguettes. The three left front rounds without seeds are raisin/cranberry/fennel loaves about 18 ounces each and the three other sesame seeded loaves. are a light whole wheat at an average weight of 22 ounces

The Christmas Holiday is close at hand and will welcome some tasty breads at the table.

Have a wonderful holiday. David E. Garsia

November 14, 2005

Dear Linda,

My name is Jim, I live in Reno, NV and through my sisters in Cali I recieved your starter kit for San Francisco sourdough bread. I originally hail from San Francisco so you can see that sourdough bread is close to my Heart. I love cooking and baking breads.

Prior to getting your starter kit, I tried every way possible to make a sourdough starter. I must have tried 10 different recipes and formulas to no avail. I've been using your recipe and starter for about 2 months now and I'm able to turn out wonderful sourdough bread finally. I just today mailed my sisters 4 small rounds because they love it so much.
I baby my "Little Beasties" and the longer it's in the fridge the better it seems to get.

Linda, again, thanks a bunch for your great product. You can't find that product in Nevada that I have seen, its a shame too. A lot of people in Reno love a good sourdough bread. I am telling people about the "Beasties". Have a fine day.

Your Friend Forever,
Jim


Thanks so much for your timely reply and for answering all my questions. As a novice at baking, your answers will help me to turn out even better sourdough, Thank You. In response to your question about using portions of my e-mail to put into your reviews page, I INSIST. I want people to experience the wonderfulness of great sourdough bread. I am honored that you should ask me.

Thanks again Linda,
Jim M.


November 1, 2005

Linda,
Good morning! I just wanted to tell you that I baked my first loaf of sourdough bread from your starter last night. First of all, the directions you gave were much less complicated han the other recipe I had. Secondly, the bread was the best I ever baked! The texture, crust and taste were fabulous!! I bought 25# of bread flour from Sam's Club, and I think I'll just keep this starter going in my proofing box until Thanksgiving, baking bread every day or two. My new "pet" is such fun and so responsive. Feel free to use my comments as a testimonial to the great quality San Francisco Sourdough Starter you provide. Thank you again.
Have a great day!
Diana

Hi, Linda, thank you so much for your wonderful starter, I followed the directions and thebread came out so delicious and incredible, I loved it (so did hubby!) I'm going to be making lots of sourdough bread now!

Thank you again so much for everything!

Blessings, Leora

Dear Linda

I have been making bread every week end for the last 3 weeks. I have tons of starter and having lots of fun.

I love this bread, I have gallons of starter. I am in bread heaven.

Jeff Notti

Hi Linda,

There wasn't enough room on ebay to tell about the experience I had with your starter. Everything worked out perfect and the bread is outstanding. I loved the look, the taste, the feel....!

I've been looking for a bread like this since I left Europe over 9 years ago! I just got a Panini press from my sister and I was determined I needed to make some good bread for the sandwiches. I live in the NY metro area and we have a good selection of bread but this was still the best! I wanted to attach a picture, but I cut it up and ate most of it before I remembered.

I can't wait to make the next for Sunday (having a family get together at my mother-in-law's house). I made the bread with the bread machine, because with my 2 tiny children (infant & toddler) I couldn't spare the time doing it with hand (I don't have a stand mixer, & there is no more room in my kitchen for another appliance!). I didn't bake it in the pan. After the 8 hours proofing, I mixed it with the machine and took it out of the pan,
shaped it and let it rise for another 2 hours. Baked it on the baking stone for 40 minutes.

Thanks for the great starter and the friendly and super fast support! 

Ivett

PS: I need one of those knives, I placed an order from your site. Thanks!


Thank you! They all turned out browned and wonderful! They are cooling as we speak! I just took a little pinch of one and Oh my goodness the texture...the taste! You are the goddess of all things sour doughness! Thank you sooo much!!

Sure go ahead and use what you wish! You sure do deserve all the good wishes! Great bread and you are such a nice lady!

Debbie Borgo

Hi Linda
I want to report that your sourdough starter worked beyond my expectations!!!!!! It took 3 days to activate the starter. I had a little disaster I put a little too much flour in the starter mixture and it bubbled up out of the container my proofing box. Enclosed are some photos of my first attemps at making bread. One (the round loaf ) is from a recipe on your web site. It involved letting the loaf proof for about 12 hours, which is very handly if you can't be around, and then cooking. The two square loaves are sourdough wheat. That recipe was on the King Arthur web site. That recipe originally called for white wheat flour and I had to susstitute red wheat. Texture of the loaf was a little courser but it worked out okay. Was a little apprehensive about the power of your starter to raise a heavy wheat loaf but it did not have any trouble. The third pix is my temporary proofing box. I used a "WalMart" picnic/beer cooler and 4watt night light. The little bulb maintained a temp of approxiamately 80F. When I was working, I used to do a number of project using micro-controllers. Hmmm, I might be able to come up with a box that automatically will maintain a constant temperature. I was looking at some heater controllers at Home Depot but they are too bulk and would have to be inside the proofing box. Not sure if I want to go thru all the trouble of a high tech solution,tho. I have learned over my lifetime that simplicity wins out in the end. Again Linda, thanks for all of your help and encouragement. Keep up the good work. Scott

Linda - thank-you for your sage advice. I am the proud parent of a bubbling starter and have made bread that has risen beyond my dreams! I am now working on making the bread "pretty" ... instead of hockey pucks - something that resembles a loaf! I do have a few more questions ....

1. The bread is great when it first comes out of the oven ... crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Is there anyway to preserve the crunchiness for the day after?

2. Have you ever reheated your bread? If so - what is the best method? i.e. oven, microwave

All your advice is great but the BEST advice is taking the temperature of the loaf to ensure doneness ... in all my baking escapades .... I've never run across a temperature method - yours works like a charm! I no longer have to worry about over cooking the bread or worse yet -- under cooking.

Believe it or not ... I have gone through 13 pounds of flour this weekend. I now don't tremble too much when I dump starter down the drain! (There's only so much bread one can make and give away. Who wants to eat day old bread when you can eat it straight out of the oven!)

Thanks much! Bonnie

Here's my response to Bonnie:

Hi Bonnie,

I'm glad you wrote me. I'll try to answer your questions fully, but if I'm not making sense, be sure to write again.

1. The starter contains wild yeast, so we don't add commercial yeast; but it is a very strong strain of wild yeast and will make your bread rise beautifully.

2. Yes, it is definitely hard to dump out starter! : ) For 15 hours for just one cup of starter, you can probably get by with three cups each of flour and water for the very first feeding, so use three cups the first day and then, when it's more active, maybe you'll want to use four cups of each. You cannot overfeed starter and hurt it, but you can definitely starve it to death.

3. You can use either type of flour--or whole wheat or anything that will develop gluten--for all or part of the process. For activation, all purpose is fine, but I would recommend that you make your sponge and your bread from bread flour because it contains more protein than AP. More protein develops a stronger gluten and for sourdough, which is quite acid, you need the extra strength. Acid tends to weaken gluten. I have made bread from 100% all purpose flour and it turned out fine--just different.

Part of the fun of sourdough breadmaking is all the different results you can achieve by varying times, temperatures and ingredients. Follow my instructions the first couple of times and then start experimenting and you'll have lots of fun.

Please write again whenever you have a question. Don't be nervous!!!

You're welcome! This is free unlimited tech support!

Linda
SourdoughBreads.com


Hi Linda!
I just got up enough nerve to start the process. Have a couple of questions ...

1. Do you know if the starter has any yeast? I know we never introduce yeast into the process.

2. Your instructions say that the starter takes 3 full 24 hr days to fully activate. Unless I take my starter to work and feed it ... I will need to give it enough that it can survive for 15 hours. Am I interpreting the instructions correctly if I do this .... take about a cup of the starter (boy is it hard to dump out starter) and add 4 cups of water and 4 cups of flour?

3. Does it make a difference if I use regular all purpose flour as opposed to bread flour?

Many thanks! Bonnie

Hi Linda - been making bread from your starter for about 8 months now and it keeps getting better all the time.

Found this recipe for pancakes that I really like, and thought you may be interested.

http://www.virtualcities.com/ons/ca/n/can26036.htm


Regards, Floyd Rentz

Hi Linda,

Wanted to thank you for the very fast shipment, and for being there to "start" with! Wasn't sure how I was ever going to find some starter, and being in an area with very heavy pollen and some fairly heavy industry, I wasn't game to pull my yeasties out of the air!

Amazing how you can keep those little guys so ready to go in a dry envelope! My starter "started" right up, & is very very active it seems to me. About to bake my first loaf today. We are also building an earth oven and hope to start using it in a few weeks for our wonderful bread and other goodies.

Thanks again for all the nice info. Will definitely recommend your website & starter product to everyone who loves this great bread I'll be baking!

Sincerely,

Terri Dawson

Hi Linda,

No problem if you want to use my comments on your website or whatever, and I know I ramble so I won't mind if you cut and paste my commentary as needed.... the latest update is, the bread was wonderful! I made my first 2 loaves of sourdough ever and they were great thanks to all your information! Baked in my electric oven using your moisture tips, the custard cup & sprays on the oven walls every couple minutes to start. Never had such a nice crust. Also thanks for the note about freezing the bread, tried that with one of the loaves, although have already taken it back out to eat :), and it's still great!
Take care and thanks for making this so easy for the novice baker!  Terri


Hi Linda,

If a picture is worth a thousand words this will tell you of my delight with the army of yeast and lactobacillus that you sent to me...

Robert Ballantyne's Bread

http://17.freebb.com/sourdough/sourdough-article20.html

My 17-year-old daughter simply said, "awesome!"  Here is everything I hoped for. This bread has outstanding flavour! The texture makes it a pleasure in the mouth. Even the colour and presentation of the loaf creates the anticipation of something special. It is hard to believe that food this wonderful to eat is also good for you.

Many thanks and best wishes... Robert

Linda,
Thanks for the great instructions. Initialized fine, became nice and active right off. The basic sourdough bread recipe came out great.

Again, thanks!
David

Hi Linda,
I just made my first loaf of sourdough bread this morning. Your starter is great. Your directions are very easy to follow. I'll admit when I got it I really didn't think it would work. I've tried to do sour dough starters before and they always failed.
Thanks again. Shelley

Hi Linda - been making bread from your starter for about 8 months now and it keeps getting better all the time. Regards, Floyd


Tried your starter............WOW. I would have never thought I could make bread like this at home. Will never use commercial yeast again. I can't believe how easy it is and the terrific crust! The crust the crust the crust! I have been baking bread for 30 years and this stuff is unbelievable. Best Wishes and THANKS!

Hi Linda--

Thanks for getting back to me. Pleased isn't the word for it. I thought Irving was magical, but I had to use commercial yeast. I could not believe what a fantastic loaf came out of JUST starter, flour and salt, and how fast it rose. Yes, slower than with commercial yeast, but each rise took only 2 hours. That's pretty durned good! Carol

Dear Linda,

I recently purchased your starter for Sourdough bread. Suffice it to say, I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to replicate San Francisco Sourdough for a number of years. I have tried many different kinds, homemade, processed, etc. I have never found one that made even a close approximation of the SF sourdough.

I made my first loaves last week and they were surprisingly good. I realize that I need some "tweaking" of the time constraints for the best product, but my husband and I were both pleased with the result. I thank you for your diligence in producing an authentic product.  Anne Grignon


Hi Linda,
I received the SF starter this past Saturday. I made my first loaf in my bread machine (according to the instructions) and it came out GREAT! This is good stuff. Thanks, James Chermak


Hi Linda....made my first batch of sourdough pancakes this AM........fabulous !!!!! I had had starter for many years from an Alaska strain...but some evil person pitched it out..in a cleaning fervor....However this strain is even better than my old stuff....thanks for marketing the starter, I couldn't find any for over three years. Thanks again, Suzanne Biely-Reiter

Hi Linda....No problem relative to your request to use my comments...you have a great and lively strain of sourdough....I made a batch of sourdough rolls for Thanksgiving...they were marvelous........Thanks again for the wonderful starter..I am having so much fun reaquainting myself with sourdough cookery.. Suzanne

I started at 10am and just ate my first piece at 4:20. Linda, it is THE best bread I've ever had in my life.

I was totally amazed at how much and how well it did its two rises. Also how elastic the dough was in the working stages with no commercial yeast in it. I could NOT find my dough hook for my Kitchenaid. I've never used it. It's probably out in the barn somewhere in a box, down under. But I did have the paddle (which I've never used either). I kept it with the paddle for the two cups of added flour, 1/2 cup at a time, added slowly, and after that, it was chugging just a tad. I added the salt, and went by hand thereafter (and did let it rest about 15 minutes before starting to knead).

Everything was done exactly as written, down to the squirt bottle and the little pot of water on the bottom shelf of the oven. I shaped it into an oval, and sheeesh, its final size was 9" wide at the center by a whopping 11" long. It almost filled up my whole cookie sheet (9 x 13 size). It rose to 3-1/2 inches tall in the center (I cut it in half before taking a slice).

Hi again......I made the best sourdough waffles ever this morning....well, maybe its because I have been "Jonesing" for sourdough waffles for so long.. but they were great!!!!.......thanks again... Suzanne

Hi Linda - Just wanted to let you know that we have had several batches of pancakes, which were wonderful, and I have made 6 loaves of bread already!

I especially appreciated your thorough, excellent instructions. This sourdough is a living thing, so it really helped to have the instant-read thermometer as you suggested for growing it, and also to check when the bread was done

You are awesome! (guess you can tell I'm a Californian ;) Rebecca Korematsu


hello,i just wanted to tell you how happy your sourdough starter has made me.it took some doing as you know, but i finally made bread that satisfies me 100%. thank you very much.i will tell anybody who compliments the bread where to go to get some of their own. again thank you! Ted

hello,sure you may use my comments on your website.your product deserves great praise. again thank you ted

I made pancakes with the excess starter this morning. They were incredibly delicious! I don't usually like pancakes very much, but these were heavenly. I had no idea pancakes could be so tender and light and flavorful! Guess we'll be eating a lot of pancakes with all this excess starter I can't bear to pour down the drain. Thanks so very much for making this wonderful starter available.  Rosie


Linda,
It is magnificent! It smells so wonderful. I was just now looking for a recipe for the pancakes I read about on your website. Thanks so much for responding. My house is cold and I think that putting the starter jar in a warm bath did the trick. It was about 6 hours from that time that I saw the bubbles.  Drooling in Poulsbo,  Rosie

Linda –
I ordered your starter and followed the instructions using hard red winter wheat that I grind myself. I used the whole wheat through the entire process. This bread is so incredibly good that I am in heaven. I used to be able to buy whole wheat sourdough at Whole Foods Mkt. here in Arizona, but they stopped carrying it. This stuff is even better than that was. I use a Zojirushi Bread Machine to make the dough, then shape it and put it in my warming drawer. Using the pan of water in the oven, the crust is great. If you add 1/3 to ½ of the flour as whole spelt flour, it is even more tangy due to the naturally tangy flavor of the spelt. I’ve also tried a multi-grain version with barley, millet, triticale, wheat bran, etc. My son, who has been a sourdough fiend since birth (we used to live in California) and is now 27 loved this bread and he usually prefers white bread.
Anyway, one of my goals for the summer was to figure out sourdough in my new bread machine and with your starter, it sure wasn’t hard.
Thank you lots!
Lynne Arnold
PS I am ordering a couple more packets just to make sure I always have it if one of my 7 kids wants some.


Linda –
Here is the website for the best Grain Mill. We did a lot of research on them and this is really great and so easy to use.


http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/#Mills
I get my whole grains at Walton Feed
http://waltonfeed.com/


The shipping is almost more than the grains! But, it is well worth it. First of all, they are much cheaper than flour. Secondly, the keep indefinitely and boy, does fresh ground flour make a difference in flavor! There is no comparison. You just never know how long flour has been on the shelf, in transit, etc. or what temperature it has endured.
I buy yeast here too and gluten (not to be used with sourdough - it works fine, but I have found it decreases the sourness). The red hard winter wheat (I buy organic) is simply divine. The whole white spring hard wheat is great for a moister texture. I get tons of other grains from there also.
Regarding recipes – I’ll pull things together and get back to you. I’m in the middle of too many projects right now and I want to make sure the recipes are well tested before you post them.
Lynne

Hello Linda--Just wanted to tell you how pleased my wife and I are with the bread I am baking with the San Francisco starter I got from you. The taste is really outstanding! I know we are supposed to wait a few minutes for it to cool before we start slicing it. But, it's pretty hard to wait. The Bible says that man can't live on bread alone. Well--I think I almost could on this bread. Have a pleasant day.  Frank  In God We Trust--God Bless The World

Just though of dropping you a line.  I just finished baking, with your starter of course, and here is a photo of the breads. The left front three are 10 grain with some whole wheat mixed in and the rear three are the same but with white flour and no whole wheat and the three long loaves are semolina.

Wish you were here to help us enjoy them.

Regards, David

David Garsia's Bread

Linda,
Move over Boudin's Bakery. Linda's starter makes better bread than yours. Finally, my starter got properly started and I made 2 French style baguettes. It was fantastically good.  I'm so glad I found you on the internet. I want to thank you, too, for the help, you sent by e-mail, yesterday, concerning aluminum dough hooks.  Your starter was everything you said it was and more. I can't give it enough praise. Have a great weekend.

Patricia A. Laurent

Hi Linda,
I love my sourdough starter! I had tried to make my own starter from scratch, and it worked to a point. It had a very strong sour flavor and didn't rise well at all. Your starter became very active almost immediately. After the first day it got so many bubbles that it was almost like a bubble bath, very foamy with large and small bubbles. I waited patiently for 72 hours to pass to make my first bread, and it turned out great the first time. My husband and kids loved it!

Since I was anxious to do something with my starter and I had all of that extra starter to play with or throw out during the 72 hours, I tried making pancakes and biscuits using instant mixes. For the pancakes, I used 1-1/2 cups of starter, 1 cup of Krusteaz pancake mix and about 3/4 cup of water. They turned out great. For the biscuits, I used 1-1/2 cups of starter and 2 cups of Bisquick. I turned the Bisquick out onto a surface sprinkled with more Bisquick, kneaded it, and used a Biscuit cutter to shape the biscuits. Then I let them rise for 30 minutes and baked them for about 20 minutes at 375 degrees. They were delicious.  Thanks so much for the great product and easy to follow instructions!

Susan Tucker, San Pedro, CA

Hi ! Linda:

Well,we really did it ! With your detailed instructions,and a little time on my part,we finally got the real stuff--

Now it is a question as to what to do with all the money I save on not having to buy an airline ticket to San Francisco to get a loaf of sourdaugh bread.

Bread turned out fine,added the ascorbic acid with the salt. Thank you for making my day.

Sincerely,  Bernard Theurich

Dear Linda,

Four loaves came out of the oven today, and I just have to say that your San Francisco Sourdough Starter is simply amazing! I followed your instructions to the letter, feeding the starter for a full three days before making my first loaves. By the end of the third day, the starter was literally tearing at the glass to get out and make bread. I used two recipes to make the bread: yours and one I found in the March/April issue of Cook's Illustrated. The main difference was in the proofing of the bread dough--Cook's had me form the loaves after the first rise and proof overnight in the refrigerator. Your recipe had the sponge fermenting overnight and a slightly less baking temperature. The results in either case were absolutely outstanding. First of all, the strength of the starter surprised me, particularly the very noticable "bounce" I observed on all the loaves in the first ten minutes of baking. The resulting loaves were well shaped, high, and rounded. Of course, looking pretty isn't everything--taste and texture are equally important. Both crusts were excellent--thick and chewy with yours with a bit more pleasing crunchiness. Both had light and airy crumb on the interior, with wonderful butter pockets throughout. Finally, the taste was not just close to the bread made famous in San Francisco--it was that beautiful aromatic mixture of nuttiness and sourness baked to perfection. I've been baking bread for over forty years and I can honestly say this is the best bread I have ever baked. My arch rival in bread making will have to wait a while before I tell her my secret.

Warm regards,

J. P. Morgan

Of course you may use my letter in your review section. As a follow up, we had a bread "tasting" last night with some close friends, dipping small slices in olive oil. The consensus was that your recipe was the best, although both were excellent.

Best of luck in your business.

JP

Hi Linda,

Just wanted to let you know that our first sourdough loaf came out of the oven this afternoon. It was a free form loaf, and was rather 'flat' but the crust was wonderful, and the bread itself had a fine sourdough flavor. I read the FAQ's on your web site, and noted that several other people had mentioned similar problems, so next time, I shall follow your advice, and add more flour, and make smaller loaves. I baked the loaf on a Pampered Chef stone baking sheet, and that seemed to work well. I also have a Pampered Chef bread crock, which is a really just a small stone cylinder, so I might try that next time.

Thanks for all your help and interest - your instructions have been invaluable, and the Web site is very useful.

Regards. Wendy  March 23, 2005

Hi Linda, I just made my first loaf of sourdough bread this morning. Your starter is great. Your directions are very easy to follow. I'll admit when I got it I really didn't think it would work. I've tried to do sourdough starters before and they always failed.  Thanks again. Shelley

Hi Linda - been making bread from your starter for about 8 months now and it keeps getting better all the time. Regards, Floyd


OH LINDA!!!! It WAS delicious!! We ate both loaves in one sitting....I am making more today...It took me right back to California! THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I will be making at least one loaf a week. Tami

Linda,   Just as an aside, I found your directions for what I now view as a fairly complex process (starter activation to finished bread) to be extremely accurate and detailed, besides leaving nothing to chance. A real bargain for only $8.99!
Steve

Dear Linda,

I got my sourdough starter from you just a few weeks ago, and made my first loaf of bread last weekend. It was fantastic! Thank you so much for the great booklet, instructions and well wishes.

Sincerely,

Tracy T.
Greeley, CO

Hi Linda--Thanks for getting back to me. Pleased isn't the word for it. I thought Irving was magical, but I had to use commercial yeast. I could not believe what a fantastic loaf came out of JUST starter, flour and salt, and how fast it rose. Yes, slower than with commercial yeast, but each rise took only 2 hours. That's pretty durned good! Carol

Tried your starter............WOW. I would have never thought I could make bread like this at home. Will never use commercial yeast again. I can't believe how easy it is and the terrific crust! The crust the crust the crust! I have been baking bread for 30 years and this stuff is unbelievable. Best Wishes and THANKS!    Marisue, Jacksonville Beach, Florida  February 24, 2005

Linda –
I ordered your starter and followed the instructions using hard red winter wheat that I grind myself. I used the whole wheat through the entire process. This bread is so incredibly good that I am in heaven. I used to be able to buy whole wheat sourdough at Whole Foods Mkt. here in Arizona, but they stopped carrying it. This stuff is even better than that was. I use a Zojirushi Bread Machine to make the dough, then shape it and put it in my warming drawer. Using the pan of water in the oven, the crust is great. If you add 1/3 to ½ of the flour as whole spelt flour, it is even more tangy due to the naturally tangy flavor of the spelt. I’ve also tried a multi-grain version with barley, millet, triticale, wheat bran, etc. My son, who has been a sourdough fiend since birth (we used to live in California) and is now 27 loved this bread and he usually prefers white bread.
Anyway, one of my goals for the summer was to figure out sourdough in my new bread machine and with your starter, it sure wasn’t hard.
Thank you lots!   Lynne Arnold

Hello Linda,

In April I ordered a packet of San Francisco sourdough starter from you. I had high hopes ... but also extreme doubts. I love sourdough bread; love it, love it, love it. Over the years I have tried to make it so many times that I think the amount of flour I used could fill the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately, however, nothing ever worked. I attempted making my own starter so many times and even though it made delicious pancakes, the bread flopped time after time. Even if it did turn out, I always had to add yeast and it tasted like nothing more than regular homemade bread. Good, but not sour.

Once, many years ago, I thought I'd found my answer. I was in San Francisco attending a seminar, and I found a packet of REAL sourdough starter." Hooray!" I thought, and I eagerly brought it home and mixed it according to the package directions.  It did nothing. It sat there in the bowl like a worthless, watery mass of goo. I was bitterly disappointed and from that point on, I vowed that the only way I would ever *make* sourdough bread again was to *make* a trip to the bakery.

Fast-forward to April 2004. For some weird reason, I happened upon your Web site and was intrigued. You showed photos of beautiful bread! I could make that bread! And even though I didn't know you, I somehow knew your photos were real, and that you had actually baked the bread yourself, and it really did look like that. I sniffed my computer screen and I swear to you, I could almost smell it baking. (Licking the screen, however, did not satisfy my taste for sourdough bread.) In eager anticipation of becoming a Master Sourdough Bread Baker (MSBB), I ordered a packet of your starter.

When it arrived, I read your directions and chuckled because they were so long and comprehensive. I felt as though I were embarking on a mission to not only build bread, but also the oven I would bake it in and the kitchen where the oven is housed. But I followed those directions to a T, including using a thermometer to test the water temperature, giving the starter regular feedings, and singing it lullabies. (I added the last part to make it feel more at home.)

When the day arrived for me to bake my first loaf, I spent a lot of time preparing for the event. I fussed over my hair and makeup, and notified friends and family NOT to call or stop by, in case my bread-baking experience turned out like those of the past, in which case they would not want to be anywhere near me. I used my bread maker to do the mixing, and added the ingredients you specified. I came very close to adding some yeast, in spite of your strong warning not to, because I couldn't believe the dough had a prayer of rising without it. I didn't, though. I stuck to your recipe like an obedient bread-baking student.

After the bread maker had done my physical labor for me, I thanked it and then put the dough in an oiled bowl, which I set in the oven with the light on. Then I prepared myself for the inevitable: two hours later, I knew that dough would still be the exact same size lump.

Well, two hours later that dough had puffed up like a giant yeast balloon, and I took one look at it, shrieked out loud, and did a celebratory dance around the kitchen. Then I formed the dough into a French-style loaf and put it back into the oven to rise again, and IT PUFFED UP AGAIN! The baking process was the best. My kitchen smelled exactly like San Francisco (except for the fishy smell of the wharf, which was missing). When the bread was done, I confess I did NOT follow your instructions, which suggested waiting an hour or so before cutting. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WAIT TO CUT THIS BREAD??? I. don't. think. so. With the skill of a seasoned Samurai wielding a deadly sword, I slashed off a hunk, slathered it with butter, chomped into it, and thought these words ...

Linda is forever my hero.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am baking another loaf as we speak and when it comes out of the oven, I confess that I will NOT wait to taste it. I hope you don't mind.  :-)

Sincerely, Peggy Parks, Muskegon, Michigan

Linda,
I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful starter! I made bread last week and everyone raved about the results. Thanks again.  Angela Reaves Godwin, July 8, 2004

Dear Linda: 
Today I made my first loaf of Sourdough bread. I used the simple starter, flour salt method.  Lordy! Girl I've been making bread since I was 13 years old, which in dog years is about 400 years ago! This is the best bread I've ever made. I briefly considered sending half the loaf to the neighbors, and then greedily decided to experiment with putting it in the freezer after tightly wrapping it with plastic wrap. I'm calling this a science experiment--LOL !!

Dear Linda, Years ago, when I lived in San Francisco, I used to go to Alfaro's on the Wharf to buy my bread. I have to say, this loaf is as good as anything I ever purchased there.  Thank you also for your wonderful tutorial!  Kudos.  Kindest regards, Nancy

Hello Linda, Thank you for the excellent instructions included with your sourdough starter. I have successfully baked perfect San Francisco sourdough bread. A Very Satisfied Customer, Bill Frank

Linda:

I just wanted to get back to you on the results of my first batch of bread. I started culturing the starter on Tom Neubecker's First BreadThanksgiving day and baked my first batch today. The instructions were excellent!!! I followed them to the letter and I got a perfect loaf (actually 2 loaves) of bread. In addition to tasting good, they look fantastic. I plan to make some of them as Christmas gifts now that I have gone through the process once. I even thought I would send you a photo of my first 2 loaves. The photo is attached. 

Tom Neubecker  Cincinnati, OH


Dear Linda, This starter is indeed the best!  It really tastes like San Francisco sourdough. How many times I have tried other recipes and starters only to throw it away.  Not this one....Never! And thanks for being so very helpful. You are always willing to respond and answer questions. This has been an OUTSTANDING experience.  Barbara Hospel

Cynthia Ferguson said: “I loved my starter so much I am ordering another one for my daughter!”

I recently ordered a starter from you and my husband and I enjoyed pancakes this morning. They were wonderful. This was not my first experience with sourdough starters and I had owned one for about 15 years, but had to give it away to a new home when we moved to Hawaii for a few years.

We are back in Florida now and I decided I wanted my starter back so I began the process of looking for one again. I looked long a hard for a new one and found your website. I just wanted to let you know how pleased I am with your product. I've never owned a starter that tastes this good. So good, in fact that I just ordered another one for my daughter in California.

Again, thanks for the wonderful starter! Cynthia Ferguson


Linda:

Just to let you know, that I have had a huge success with the sourdough starter. I made my first loaf after just a few days from the sponge. Not real tangy but a perfect rise. Then after another day or so, the sponge was starting to really work and I made another loaf. The bread had a magnificent flavor. Just outstanding! I made a proof container out of a cylindrical shaped syrofoam cooler. (made for keeping soft drinks cold) I cut a small hole in the side and inserted a 5 watt window candle light into it. Perfect temperature of 85 -87 degrees. Thanks again for an outstanding sourdough. (and great instructions) Sincerely,  Dave Yurick

I bought your starter on ebay about a month ago. My mother made sourdough bread for us boys growing up, but as we left home, and over the years, she neglected her starter and it passed away (his name was Oskar). Returning to the family farm, starting a family of my own, I yearned for the bread of my youth. I purchased your starter and revivied him to bubbley glory. I now bake twice a week, sometimes more. Oskar is vigorous and great tasting. My family and friends hound me for loaves. The hardest thing is keeping my 14-year-old daughter from tearing into a loaf and not burning her fingers. I have streamlined a good recipie. I keep a quart of Oskar in the fridge.

14 oz flour in mixer
2 TB sugar
2 cups Oskar from Fridge cold
mix lightly for 1 minute then add
1 cup lukewarm water
2 TB kosher salt

Nows the touchy feeley part. Add flour till the dough does not feel tacky in your hand. Experiment a little.

First rise is 12 hours, then shape and let finish for 2 hour approx.
For working folks this is great, make dough in morning, bake at night and enjoy.

Thanks
Britt Johnson BJ FARMS Oregon


My bread turned out awesome thanks to your fine starter. Thanks for all your help, you've been great!

Matt


Wow! So far, this stuff is ACTIVE!! I formed a loaf this morning but had to leave for a meeting. When I got back, this thing had kept on growing, way more than I had anticipated!

I've had different sourdoughs over the years and this looks like its going to be a "keeper".  Vic

I have baked many loaves already! Every day I am baking one or two. My husband devours it. Likes the half rye half white ones the best!

BARBARA HOSPEL

I am having so much fun experimenting. The starter is wonderful. I have a rye starter and a white starter. I just put some rye flour in some of the white starter and boy ...it took off. !

This starter is indeed the best! It really tastes like San Francisco
sourdough. How many times I have tried other recipes only to throw it away. Not this one..Never! And Linda is very helpful. She is always willing to respond and answer questions. OUTSTANDING!


Just baked the second loaf this evening. Rose higher and lighter than any I've had. Served it to a small group from our church warm from the oven. Wow, did they rant and rave!! Vic Beltz

Hi Linda
I received your starter and it is alive and well, I haven't tried any bread yet but have had sourdough pancakes,biscuits and cornbread. I have tried to make starters in the past using several different methods but they all failed. Your starter became active on the first mixing and is doing great. The tips you sent on temperature and feeding were very helpful. Looking forward to the bread.  Thanks AL