Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right San Franciscans are surviving quarantine by sharing their sourdough starters with neighbors
sourdough bread starter
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San Franciscans are surviving quarantine by sharing their sourdough starters with neighbors

It all began with a bag of starter called Godric

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San Francisco isn't the only city in the country that's fallen hard for the shelter-in-place baking craze, but it does have one major advantage: with pantry items continuously sold out at grocery stores, locals are sharing their already activated starters with neighbors who want to try their hand at sourdough bread. 

It all started with a sign in the Bernal Heights neighborhood advertising free sourdough starters from a source named Godrick. Little plastic bags of the starter (a fermented mixture of flour and water that allows bread to rise) were stapled to the telephone pole. 

Normally it takes at least five days and many feedings until a starter is ready to be used, so free bags of fermented flour and water are like gold to start-up bakers. 

Since then, signs with different starters have been sighted across the city. “SOURDOUGH STARTER & (occasional) BAKED TREATS UP FOR GRABS!!” one sign reads. “Starter name: ‘Freddie, Son of Godrick’ fed with all-purpose flour” reads another. 

The signs and starters became so prevalent, there's now a “Victory Dough” Google Map to track all the places where you can grab some sweet, sweet starter in SF (most of them are an offspring of the OG Godrick). Users can edit the map and add their own drop-off points, which currently boasts at least ten places across the city.

"A nutritional and long-lasting treat, perfect during these times of anxiety, uncertainty, and limited grocery runs," reads the map description. "With many of us left with a bit more free time, it is nice to fill it with sharing with others and baking!" 

If you do hop on the baking train, check out our tips for baking sourdough bread at home, and good luck! 

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