What makes San Francisco sourdough bread different?

San Francisco sourdough bread is more sour, flavorful and chewy than other types of bread. It has a tangy taste. Its starter is prepared by fermentation of flour and water.

Can San Francisco sourdough bread only be made in San Francisco?

No. You can make San Francisco sourdough bread anywhere in the world as long as you have the yeast with the local bacteria called lactobacillus sanfranciscensis, identified in 1970.

Is San Francisco sourdough bread healthy?

Like other sour-style breads, San Francisco sourdough bread is a healthier alternative to regular bread. It is more digestible and nutritious. The probiotics it includes is also good for the gut.

bread machine

san francisco sourdough bread machine recipe

Emine Aslan January 18, 2024
San Francisco Sourdough Bread Machine Recipe

Summary: Here is a bread machine recipe to make San Francisco sourdough bread with its tangier and more flavorful taste.

Tags: Sourdough bread

Serving:12 for 2 lbs
Cook Time:3:05 minutes
Prep Time:10 minutes
Author:Emine Aslan
Calories: 200

The history of San Francisco sourdough bread goes back to the time of the gold rush. Shortly after the gold was discovered in the north of San Francisco in 1848, migrants had started to come to surrounding areas in search of gold bringing the basic necessities with them. As the population increased, sourdough bread had become widespread and famous with its tangy and flavorful taste.

The special taste of San Francisco sourdough originates from natural yeast attributed to the air and bacterial flora peculiar to the San Francisco area. There are different stories about how the first starter yeast formed in the area. It is either brought by the gold rush migrants but underwent some changes as it interacted with the local air and bacteria, or it formed and discovered by chance in the local area. Whatever the story is, San Francisco sourdough bread can easily be distinguished from other sour-style loaves with its tangier and more flavorful taste.

There are many different San Francisco sourdough bread recipes around. The recipe below is to make San Francisco sourdough bread in a bread maker. The bread yielded by this recipe will make you wake up into a delicious tangy sourdough bread smell in the morning.

Tips for your bread maker:
Bread Machine Program: Basic (#1)
Delay Start Time Available: Yes
Color Option: Yes
Weight Option: Yes


  • Loaf size: 2 pounds (1000 grams)
  • 1 1/4 cups sourdough starter

  • 1/2 cup milk (at room temperature)

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 4 cups white bread flour

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast

  • Loaf size: 2 ½ pounds (1250 grams)
  • 1 1/3 cups sourdough starter

  • 1/2 cup milk (at room temperature)

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 5 cups white bread flour

  • 4 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast

  • Loaf size: 3 pounds (1500 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups sourdough starter

  • 1/2 cup milk (at room temperature)

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil

  • 3 teaspoons salt

  • 6 cups white bread flour

  • 5 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast


  1. Open the lid of the bread machine and remove the pan from the machine by pulling it upward.

  2. Make sure the pan is clean and both kneading paddles are in place.

  3. Add all of the ingredients to the bread pan in the order listed.

  4. Put the bread pan back in the bread maker, pressing it down so that it clicks into its place and close the lid.

  5. Plug the bread machine into an outlet and press the "Power" button to turn the machine on. 

  6. Use the "Program" button to select the program #1 for the basic bread cycle.

  7. Press the "Color" button to choose your desired crust level.

  8. Press the "Size" button to choose the weight of the loaf you are making. The time display will also change as you change the size of the bread as larger loaves take longer time to cook.

  9. Press the "Start" button to start the basic bread making cycle. After the dough is kneaded for about 10 minutes, check the dough to see if it is nice and smooth. Bread starters may be slightly different from each other so you may need to add ¼ cup more flour if the dough is too wet, or a few tablespoons of warm water if the dough looks too dry.

  10. The machine will let you know by making a beep sound once the bread making cycle is finished. Open the lid at this time and remove the bread pan out by using a pot holder.

  11. If you do not remove the loaf immediately, the bread machine will automatically go into a warming cycle to keep the bread warm for one hour.

  12. After removing the bread pan from the machine, flip it over and gently tap it to take the bread out.

  13. Remove the kneading paddles from the loaf and slice it.

  14. Enjoy your bread!

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 slice
% Daily Value
Calories per serving
35.6 grams
4.2 grams
4.9 grams
394 milligrams

    You can freeze sourdough bread slices in an airtight container. They feel as fresh as newly baked when you thaw them in the morning.