We tried bread from 9 of San Francisco’s most popular bakeries in one day. One day. Without waiting for the yeast to rise, check out our breakdown of each location and if it's worth the carbs. Which breads are worth buying and which ones can be overlooked?
The Berkeley-based company sells all over the Bay Area, and their Ferry Building spot always has a line. They also do a lot to make their business environmentally conscious and community-focused. Acme offers a huge variety of breads, ranging from $1-6. We bought the sourdough baguette for $2.62, so it’s definitely wallet-friendly, no?
The baguette has a crunchy crust, but it was still easy to tear-n-share, and the sourdough flavor was more pronounced. The inside was soft and not too dry. Needless to say, it passed out test with flying colors. // 1 Ferry Building, Embarcadero, acmebread.com
Arizmendi Panaderia y Pizzeria
We stopped at the Arizmendi in the Mission and purchased their Suburban Sourdough loaf for $3.25. They have a good variety of loaves, all hovering around $3, making it generally affordable. We love that this joint is a worker-owned cooperative; it’s clear they are a strong part of the community.
The bread itself was soft inside with a harder crust. We noticed it was less tangy than other sourdoughs, likely because whole wheat and bran are added to the Suburban loaf dough. We’re fans of the slightly darker bake on their loaves and this particular bread has a kick of molasses flavor to it. // 1268 Valencia St, Mission, arizmendi-valencia.squarespace.com
Better-known for their pastries and desserts, it makes sense that b. patisserie only sells a few types of bread. The baguette was $2.75. The price of dreams, in our book.
Our thoughts? Ehh. A tad bland, and very messy to eat. The flour on the bread snowed onto the table, our pants, everything. We labeled it the “aesthetic bread” because it looks better on Instagram than it tastes. // 2821 California St, Pac Heights, bpatisserie.com
Most popular with tourists, Boudin is the OG of sourdough bread in this city. They sell traditional and novelty-shaped loaves in their signature sourdough recipe. Breads range between $2-8 and they are the most commercially available of the bunch. The flower-shaped loaf cost $5.99 and was topped with Asiago cheese.
This one surprised all of us at Bob Cut; their regular sourdough is pretty underwhelming, but the cheese elevated it and we liked this load better than many of the other breads we sampled. The soft interior and solid crust makes it good for bread bowls. For real though, try the cheese topped loaf. It’s amazing. // 160 Jefferson St, Northbeach, boudinbakery.com
Devil’s Teeth Baking Company
A dog-friendly neighborhood favorite with distinct beachy, surfer vibes. This is another bakery better known for their pastries, as well as Sunday $1 beignets, and biscuit breakfast sandwiches. They only have one type of bread; a half round of their sourdough was $5.42. Not the most affordable of our round-up.
We love Devil’s Teeth, don't get us twisted, but this was finished out towards the bottom of our list. It was pale, extremely dense, and overall not very remarkable. However, this is the same bread they use for their lunch sandwiches, so its density is necessary to hold in all the components. Devil’s Teeth seem to sell this as more of an afterthought, and it’s definitely a bread that is not meant to be eaten by itself. // 3876 Noriega St, Outer Sunset, devilsteethbakingcompany.co
Josey Baker sells a wide selection of breads at The Mill, but also in various restaurants and grocery stores around the city. The Red, White & Rye loaf was $6.99 and all of the other varieties also ranged between $7-8.
It tasted like a sourdough rye, and the bake on this bread was the darkest of all that we tried. The crust was pretty thin and not very crunchy but the bread had a good flavor. Our issue with the loaf was the inside; it was soft to the point of doughiness. We wondered if it was finished being cooked before being sold. // 736 Divisadero St, NoPa, themillsf.com
Noe Valley Bakery
This is another neighborhood staple, complete with the cutest model train track in their front window. We went for the seeded levain, pro-tip: sliced (yes please!) They have a good variety of breads, but the seeded levain was a smaller loaf and cost $7.30, which looked to be the average price for their breads.
The bread itself was soft with a thinner crust, which is suitable for a sandwich/sliced style. We were major fans of the big grains and seeds on the outside. Definitely a good bread for making toast. // 4073 24th St, Noe Valley, noevalleybakery.co
Tartine has a famous variety of bread, and man is this shit expensive. To be fair, the loaf was the size of a human torso, but it was the only loaf to breach double digits. $11.29 for a whole country loaf. This is a special occasion wedding/graduation/birthday/celebratory gift kind-of-bread. The bread is available after 4:30pm; we went just after 4:30 on a Thursday and waited less than 10 minutes.
A dark bake and a crunchy crust paired with the perfectly soft inside. Not doughy, not dry, and a well-balanced sourdough flavor. It is often touted as the best bread in the world. We agree. Everyone at Bob Cut agrees. Some may even say, everyone in San Francisco agrees. // 600 Guerrero St, Mission, tartinebakery.com
Thorough Bread & Pastry
Their epi loaf cost $2.25 and it was about half the length of a regular baguette. Their selection was decent, but on the meager side, with prices between $2-7.
This loaf had solid flavor, but it was a bit dry inside. The wheat stalk shape of the epi loaf caused for an uneven bake, so the majority of the loaf was golden brown but the “wheat” tips were almost burnt. // 248 Church St, Duboce Triangle, thoroughbreadandpastry.com
// Feature photography by Andrew Wong, inline photography by Caroline Bonham, map created by Tin Dinh.
East Bay native who’s never lived more than an hour from home. Could destroy you in The Office trivia. Interests include natural skincare, tofu soup, and shades of blue. @liljinmei