Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sour Dough in Frisco

It was late morning when the smell of freshly baked bread drew me to Boudin Bakery, within view of San Francisco Bay. A street musician created sonorous music as he tapped enthusiastically on a twin pair of over-sized bongos, and raucous gulls swooped across parking lots and buildings.

Inside the bakery, more than 150 years of history coalesced in dozens of fresh sourdough loaves, paying homage to a tradition that began when the Gold Rush '49ers merged traditional French baking techniques and 'sour' dough. In fact, today's loaves are still made with a portion of the original 'mother' dough, which has been divided and replenished with flour and water each day since the first batch was made.

With a crunchy crust and a chewy center, a 24-ounce loaf only cost about $4. If I hadn't been so full from breakfast I might have grabbed lunch in Bistro Boudin, the company's first full-service restaurant. And if I hadn't been so pressed for time I would have toured the company's on-site museum - full of city history and antique photos - or stopped by the demonstration bakery. But, sometimes, it's also nice to have things you can look forward to during your next visit.

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