After doing an errand in San Francisco on Sunday, D. and I decided to visit the demonstration bakery and museum at the Boudin San Francisco Sourdough flagship at Fisherman's Wharf. Here are some of the pics I took.
We pass by giants heads sitting outside the Aquarium of the Bay.
Sourdough teddy bears hang from the ceiling in the Boudin museum. (They also make whimsical sourdough crabs, turtles and alligators, but they were not hanging on strings from the ceiling.)
Inside the Boudin museum, we learn about the origin of San Francisco sourdough. In the Gold Rush days, bakers had no access to fresh supplies of commercial yeast, so they had to rely on a mixture of wild yeast (Saccharomyces exiguus) and local lactobacillus (Lactobacillus sanfrancisco, which exists here only because of its uniquely cool, foggy summers), which creates the lactic and acetic acids that make the characteristic sour, tangy taste.
Because atmospheric conditions in other parts of the world are not the same as they are in San Francisco, bakers have found that their own local microflora inevitably take over their sourdough cultures, resulting in an entirely different flavor. It is not really possible to duplicate the distinctive San Francisco sourdough flavor anywhere else.
Each day they set aside some dough to start the rising process for the next day's bread. This "mother dough," or starter, is kept in a special locked chamber. Only one person is allowed to retrieve it and mix ingredients into it for each batch.
From the upper-level walkway we see racks of loaves waiting to go into refrigerated cabinets relax the dough and further develop the tangy flavor, prior to baking.
Fun fact: In addition to the famous sourdough, these other foods/beverages originated in San Francisco: martini; chop suey; mai tai; popsicle; cioppino; Irish coffee; fortune cookie; Crab Louis salad. Feeling hungry yet?
We had a little more time to kill before dinner, so we wandered over to Pier 39 to watch the sea lions.
A look at the docks taken over by sea lions.
Some have flippers in the air as they bask.
They look so happy as they snooze.
This one has just hauled out of the water and tries to find a spot on the crowded dock.
Even though the other docks are crowded (leading to territorial squabbles and sparring), these empty docks nearby are shunned by all but a pair of sea lions, for some reason. They have it all to themselves.
Plant Cafe, where we went for dinner. I had a yummy lentil burger and an avocado-kale-pineapple-lemon-ginger-appl