The Quest for Sourdough in East Tennessee

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As most of you know, I’m from Northern California, and now live in Knoxville Tennessee. Since I’ve moved here I’ve been really bothered by the lack of quality sourdough bread. I went through all the stages of grief.

  • Denial: I’m sure it’s here, I just haven’t been to the right store yet.
  • Anger: How the hell can a town of this size not have a single loaf of good sourdough?!?! No wonder the south lost the Civil War!
  • Bargaining: I mean, if I have to go to another town, that would be ok. There has to be some in East Tennessee somewhere, right?
  • Depression: What does it matter… I may as well start buying Sara Lee bread, life sucks anyway.
  • Acceptance: I guess it only makes sense that there is a cost to getting to eat hush puppies and fried green tomatoes. Sourdough bread must be that cost…

Then on Saturday at work, I finally learned the truth. It isn’t that Knoxvillians are just evil and refuse to make me the sourdough bread of my youth. They can’t. San Francisco style sourdough bread can only be made in SF. The yeast in the air is different, and with sourdough bread, the yeast in the air will make or break your dough.

I feel more at peace now that I know what’s really going on. Thank you to my boss, Vanessa, for letting me know. SF sourdough, like the sight of the Golden Gate bridge in the fog, or large groups of leather daddies singing show tunes can only be had in San Francisco. And maybe that’s what makes those things so special….

For more info on magical sourdough, check out this article from The Science of Cooking.