The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

San Francisco

sadears's picture

San Francisco

Where might I by sourdough starter in San Francisco?  I'm going there on vacation.  It'd be foolish not to bring some starter home with me.  So, then, if I buy a bunch, can I freeze it or do I need to dry it first?


Larry Clark's picture
Larry Clark


In my limited experience, the starters that can be purchased in the tourst at Pier 39 traps aren't very good. You would be better off getting some of Carl's starter through the mail. Acme Bread at 1601 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley will give you some of their wonderful starter if you provide a small container. They also have a San Francisco store in the Ferry Building but I don't know their policy on giving away starter or if they even have any. It may be just an outlet rather than a bakery. You can call them (415) 288-2978


sadears's picture


Thanks.  I'll make a note of Acme Bread.  I'm from the Bay Area and haven't been back in over 20 years.  It'd be nice to see Berkeley again.  Do you know where Carl's is?  Wouldn't have a problem stopping buy ;=D


Darkstar's picture

Heya Steph,


In answer to the question where is Carl's I'd have to say here.


Carl's Starter is a "free" sour dough starter that supposedly dates back to the Oregon Trail and the settling of the western United States. Even if it isn't that old the cool part about it is you can get some of your very own for the price of postage. Check out the "How to get Carl's Starter" page for the full info.


I don't use Carl's starter myself. Not for lack of anything but time to care for more than one set of wild yeastie-beasties. If/when I ever get sick of my current sourdough starter or when I want a different taste I'll likely send in my postage paid envelope and get my very own Carl's starter.


I hope that helps,



dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Steph.

"Carl's" is not a place in the Bay Area. It is a group that supports distribution of a particular starter. Their web site is:


gavinc's picture

I purchased my SF starter from Sourdough International.  They sent it from the USA to Australia in a sealed dry form that I reactivated using the accompanying instructions.  I've had it for more than a year now and it's going strong.