Orwasher’s Soho Sourdough emerges from the oven dotted with blisters on its golden crust. Both crust and crumb exude a slightly tart aroma and flavor from the lactic acid produced by Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis. The combination of the white flour in sourdough starter and unbleached wheat flour in the dough even further highlights the sourdough kick. If you want the unadulterated sourdough experience, this is the loaf for you.
Eli's ficelle was the first New York-made sourdough loaf to hit the town at the start of the city's artisan bread revolution. It's still a great tangy, chewy, crusty base for any long and thin sandwich.
SCRATCHbread's STUYVESANTsour is a dense, crusty, and earthy loaf, perfect for sopping up gravy or using for an open-faced sandwich.
I like my topping on the bread, not in it. So I'm not normally a fan of cheesy breads. However, I make an exception with SCRATCHbread's SOURacio e pepe. The bakers take a loaf of their already excellent sourdough and coat it with grated Pecorino Romano and very liberal grindings of coarse black pepper. This is a sourdough that bites back at you, the perfect accompaniment for meatballs in ragu.
Roberta's head baker, Melissa Weller, tweaks the sourdough formula by sprinkling chopped rye berries on the crust and then baking it until it's almost charred. The crust's delicious, slightly bitter flavor is a perfect contrast to the tart, springy crumb.
Amy’s Tangy Sourdough is a classic take on the loaf, with the blistered crust and pleasantly sour flavor. The twist: it uses added whole wheat flour to soften the tartness and add a bit of wheaty aroma.
This little Bakeri on the north end of Williamsburg makes a delicious, rustic sourdough loaf—not too tart, a bit wheaty, and perfect for sandwiches.
Far up on the Upper West Side, Silver Moon Bakery is a temple of sourdough worship, with six loaves in their daily production and a few more baked once or twice a week. The bakery’s Ethiopian Sourdough, laced and coated with nigella seeds, is one of the more exotic and delicious loaves on city shelves. For a more versatile bread, I like its Sourdough Boule, which is essentially a mild whole wheat loaf with a bit of sourdough bite.
The levain style of starter, originally from France, is used by almost all of the city's artisan bakers. The Bien Cuit miche is a textbook illustration of what a levain can do, with a lot of help from Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis. It's made from a blend of rye, wheat, and white flours, then given days to ferment, producing a delicious dense, flavorful loaf that's a sourdough and a whole lot more.