San Francisco or Yukon Sourdough

I need a sourdough starter and I wonder how much of the “OMG sourdough bread HAS to be San Francisco Sourdough!” is hype or possibly the water/air in San Francisco and you just don’t get that flavor anywhere else even with the same starter, both yeast and bacteria. I love sourdough pancakes and I have had yukon sourdough but I have never had San Francisco pancakes. I need to get a starter and for someone who doesn’t bake enough to justify getting both, what one should I get for making bread and pancakes on the weekend? I might experiment with sourdough English muffins, pizza crust and biscuits so I’m thinking Yukon.

I think the theory is that it’s not just the starter that makes SF sourdough superior but also the atmospheric conditions while proofing. Whatever the reason, bread bought in San Francisco tastes better to me than the bread my wife bakes with SF starter hundreds of miles south of there.

I’m completely ignorant of Yukon sourdough.

I’m of the opinion that the best starter is one you make yourself using the natural yeasts and bacteria from your own locale, or a local heirloom one. This is just an opinion, though.

Some of the best craft sour beers are inoculated with whatever naturally occurring yeast and bacteria are floating around the site.

Yes, I like Belgian lambics.

Some breweries have skylights they can open, allowing whatever is floating around to fall into the beer.

I tried that, didn’t work so maybe we can go back to the San Francisco vs Yukon question.

I once tried a Cat Hair Lambic. Would not recommend.

Agree with this. Even if you manage to transport a starter from San Francisco, it wont last long, as it will eventually be replaced by whatever is living in your own locale.

Thirding. Whatever you start out with will take on the natural yeasts present in your location, so you might as well skip the preliminaries. That will save you time and money.

My understanding is that if you make your own starter, it’s not really that much affected by your local yeasts but the yeasts that are already on the flour (or other grains) leftover from the milling. I’ve found rye flour to be the most successful for getting a healthy starter going on your own. A mix of white flour & rye, and then, as the starter becomes stronger, ease out the rye in the subsequent feedings until it’s 100% flour (or you can still keep a portion of rye in there.) I suppose that over time, your local yeasts may contribute more to the flavor of your starter.

That said, while I’ve done my own starters several times in the past, I’ve found it easier to start with a known starter or, better yet, get an active one from a friend (my current method. :slight_smile: )


Where Does The Yeast In Sourdough Starter Come From? - The Pantry Mama.

Good thread. We just tried this for the first time, using a commercial starter. The result was excellent in terms of bubbling and expansion and non-rottenness, but the flavor was ho-hum. Not nearly sour enough. Any suggestions? I thought I’d first try the natural method and see how that went, then perhaps look for something else commercially, something said to be particularly sour.

3 posts were split to a new topic: How to make sourdough more sour

Everyone, this is the question. If you have an opinion on these choices, please chime in. But please no more option 3 or more.

The OP may want to check out the forums at Breadtopia:

This is such a niche question. I’ve had San Francisco starter (which is more sour than I like), my own starters, and starters of unknown provenance from my friends. The description of Yukon starter is such that sounds the most versatile for me, but I don’t know the OP’s tastes, and I’ve never actually had Yukon starter.

I’ve had bread supposedly with both, but who know how authentic they are when they’ve travelled to South Africa and then from person to person here in the sourdough community. I’d say I preferred the SF ones but they were also different kinds of bread so that may have been the bigger determinant .

One point is that SF starters seem to have a much larger following, so advice and tips and even sample cultures might be easier to get.