I visited most of the major bread bakeries in San Francisco in August last year and did not like any of the sourdoughs that I sampled except Chad Robertson’s Country Sourdough. Taste for bread is very individual. I have given up looking for nice sourdough from shops. If I want bread, I make bread in my own kitchen but my own results are never consistent. I have good days and bad days.
When I turned up at Sonoma Bakery Café in Paddington, Sydney, a few days ago, I really wasn’t expecting much. I had to be in Sydney for a day and so I was just filling up my time.
This window display got my heart pumping:
I stood in front of the window with my jaw dropped to the ground at the sight of these giant Miches!! Unbelievable! I am actually quite easily excitable.
So, who buys these giant (1.9kg) Miches at A$14.00 per piece? I do.
It was worth every cent of it.
It was much later in that day when I realized that Sonoma Paddington is right around the corner from my good friend, Jan of Pastilla Nash, whose delightful Prune and Walnut Log is served at Tetsuya’s restaurant along side sourdough from Sonoma Baking Company.
The crumb is [b]translucent[/b] throughout (as seen below)– there is the vestige of fermentation on each and every cell. Every single cell is aerated. It is soft and spongy, mildly chewy, and mildly sour.
On the way home to Brisbane, somehow Chad Robertson came to mind. I don’t know why. It is not so much that I could recognize any similarities between Sonoma Miche and Chad Robertson’s Country Sourdough, but perhaps it is more because the excitement that I experienced in both breads was the same. As soon as I got home, I went onto Sonoma’s website and this is what I found:
[color=blue]"Andrew and Christian Connole, inspired by the artisan sourdough baking of Northern California…. The Connole boys immersed themselves in the baking fraternity of the San Francisco Bay area where they learnt to bake from renowned artisan bakers like Chad Robertson ….”[/color] Ah ha!
In fact, I like Sonoma Miche much better. It is rustic on the outside, but the crumb on the inside is very delicate. Chad’s Country Sourdough, on the other hand, is more what its name indicates. To achieve this delicate crumb, Andrew Connole says, “At Sonoma we prolong the fermentation process by chilling the doughs as they rise,” and that “These specially tempered doughs … are gently mixed and hand shaped before being given a lengthy fermentation in our retarder.”
The next day after I got home, I had 1/4 of this Miche with my kids. I sliced 1/2 of this Miche and placed the slices in a zipped locked bag and placed the bag in the freezer.
I kept the remaining 1/4 in another zipped locked bag at room temperature and my kids and I sliced it for breakfast on the third day. The crumb was still incredibly moist!! It was amazing. None of the sourdoughs that I had ever tasted were as moist as this. I like my sourdough very moist. Despite what most people say about sourdough’s good keeping quality, I rarely have sourdough without it being toasted if it is more than a day old. I am surprised that I am happy with the crumb of Sonoma Miche [b]as is[/b] even on day three! I need not have to freeze half of the Miche after all.
Sonoma Paddington – what a treat!
p.s. Andrew Connole talks about his bakery in youtube: here
p.p.s. The white version of Sonoma Miche (Miche Sourdough) is Mission Sourdough which is more than a foot long: