It feels right; Mastering Sourdough Kalanty Style


I’m coming to grips with my ‘bread-head’ reality.

What’s a bread-head? Someone who is all about bread. To qualify that, wholesome and unprocessed bread.

How do I know I’m a bread-head?

I own way too many bread books.

I take way too many bread classes.

There is always something new to learn in my bread crazed eyes.

My time with artisan bread baker Mike Kalanty at Ramekins Culinary School in Sonoma, California affirmed my bread sojourning philosophy.

Mike was all about feeling, yet no-nonsense at the same time.

He wouldn’t entertain questions until after we read our packets. Chances are…it’s in the packet.

We had little time to waste. We had Sourdough bagels, dinner rolls, pretzels, San Francisco Sourdough bread and pizzas to get after. I admired his tenacity.

His energy was also appreciated. He was all fired up about bread. And I liked it, I loved it.

He shared his fourteen year old sourdough starter with us. I got to take some with me. Score. Best culinary class gift to-date. And I’ve logged in the hours.

He made sure we understood the ‘feeling’ of bread. How to knead it and the difference in texture. He enhanced my kneading technique. I won’t be smashing and mashing my bread. Nope, I will be folding and rolling and rotating.

I also won’t be washing my soggy clumpy flour hands in the kitchen sink to clog my drain. Instead, I will have a small bowl of flour by my side to dip and rub my hands until the flour comes off and my hands are dry. Jersey Beach Surf and Sand tip. {had to be there}

My quest: bagels. And magically enough, I had to report to a bagel station. Sweet.

Mike directs the bread baking program at the Art Institute in San Francisco. His “How To Bake Bread” book, was nominated as a finalist for “Best Professional Cookbook” by the International Association of Culinary Professional and won the top honor as “Best Bread Book in the World” at the Paris Cookbook Fair.

So you can imagine how good his recipes taste?

If you get a chance to take a class with Mike, or read his new book: delicious bread delights will follow. I promise.


San Francisco Sourdough Bagels

12 oz Sourdough Starter

13 oz Water at 110 degrees

Pinch of dry yeast (for same day bagels, increase yeast to 1/8 oz=3 grams=1/2 packet)

12 oz Bread flour

1/2 oz Sugar (about 1 TBSP)

1 oz Canola Oil (2 TBSP)

2/3 oz Kosher or Fine Seas Salt (about 2 1/2 tsp)


1. Combine starter and water in medium bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top. Let stand for five minutes.

2. Add flour, sugar, oil and salt. Blend to “take up” so no flour is dry.

3. On low speed develop dough for two minutes. Cover and let stand for five minutes. On low speed, develop dough for four minutes more.

4. Place dough in warm environment, covered and lightly oiled. After 30 minutes, degas dough. After 1 hour dough is ready to shape.

5. Divide dough at 3 1/2 oz pieces and form into bagels.

6. Place in refrigerator, covered and lightly oiled. After 1 hour bagels are ready for poaching and baking.

7. In a shallow pan, combine 1 gallon water, 1 teaspoon honey or molasses, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Poach bagels anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds per side until they float. Immediately blot them on absorbent towel. Transfer to sheet tray line with lightly oiled parchment. Decorate (add toppings).

8. In a preheated 450 degree oven, bake with steam for ten minutes. After 10 minutes, vent the oven to remove steam. Continue baking until desired color, five to ten minutes more.

(Yields one dozen Bagels)

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