The best bread in the Bay Area? Sara Baudler investigates…

Christy Brook
See image of Wild Flour Bakery, one of many nearby bread hot-spots

At first I was going to try and make this a simple list, but I feared that it would read too much like one of those Buzzfeed articles listing “Fifty Great Cooking Gadgets You Need in Your Kitchen.” My second idea was to spend an extensive amount of time talking about the history of bread, but again I did not go that route as I feared it would seem a National History Day project full of my analyses. During my short-lived research for this would-be bread essay, though, I learned that sliced bread was invented in 1928, which is more recent than I would’ve thought. Anyway, this list has ended up being a mixture of opinions, personal anecdotes, semi tangents, and lots of good bread.
Enjoy this list—in no particular order—of the best breads in the Bay Area.
Tartine
This is the best bread I have ever had. You know how you normally need something to eat bread with? Like butter or smashed avocado? You don’t need anything with this bread. In fact, if you put butter on it, you’ll find yourself wanting to taste it plain. I struggle to describe this bread to you; in the realm of food and drink, goodness is rarely fully objective but you would be hard pressed to find someone who was not in love with this magnificent gluten creation. All of Tartine’s Bay Area locations are in San Francisco, but my family is not opposed to making the drive up solely to get this bread. That’s how good it is. I always go for the classic, country loaf, but I doubt the Tartine bakers would ever let you down.
Josie Baker
This is the bakery my mother stole her sourdough starter from. This is an exaggeration. No stealing occurred, but we do have sourdough starter from this bakery. Josie Baker bread is a less pretentious version of Tartine, I would say. More rustic, more variety, an arguably better logo. While I personally wouldn’t drive up to the city for Josie Baker bread, I certainly know people who would go out of their way to visit any of its locations. My personal favourite location is The Mill in NoPa, San Francisco that is a collaboration between the bakery and a coffee company.
Acme
I was first introduced to Acme bread when my obsession with Sweetgreen salads began a couple years ago. With each fifteen dollar salad, my love for the bread grew, and eventually I was asking the person making my overpriced salad to give me two or three pieces of bread with it. I realized this was ridiculous as I could literally buy a loaf of bread instead of having a slice or two with my salad; I bought loaves of Acme bread with vigor. I love this bread, and one of my friends (who I would call a fellow bread enthusiast ) says it’s her favorite bread place in the Bay. It’s not the type of bread I would eat straight-up plain (as I would do with Tartine or even Josie Baker), but as a bread for avocado toasts, it’s unparalleled; I can tell why Sweetgreen chose it for its salads. Pro tip: Acme bread dipped in the Sweetgreen spicy cashew dressing is highly delicious.
Wild Flour

Wild Flour is arguably not in the Bay Area; it’s in Freestone near Bodega Bay and Santa Rosa and is unquestionably too far to just drive to. Thus, I have been unable to stop at Wild Flour as much as I would like. However, whenever my family decides to drive up the coast, we never fail to stop here. The shop itself has the rustic vibe I aspire to have: menu written by hand on a chalkboard, a giant heap of bread piled behind the counter, fire that can be seen in the bread oven while you order, and a line (which is always out the door) that snakes through their garden. The bread here is creative, pretty, and tasty. You’ve got apricot and pecan, sticky buns, carraway and onion, goat cheese and green onion, baguettes….paradise. The coffee is also, like with The Mill, incredible. You get the feeling that the bakers here would adopt you into their family and feed you delicious bread for the rest of your life.

Little Sky Bakery
The best introduction to this bread is this text exchange with my friend: “AAH MY LITTLE SKY BAKERY ORDER CAME/AGAJCPSJJSCHAL [sic]/IT’S STILL WARM,” she wrote, to which I appropriately responded, “GSDGJJYTSAGJJJS [sic].” A good slogan for this place could be “three Harvard degrees in the making,” because, well, the baker has three Harvard degrees (undergraduate, masters, and JD). They don’t have a storefront, but they pop up at a lot of farmer’s markets around the Bay (Downtown Palo Alto, Mountain View, Portola Valley, and more), and if you go to their website, they will deliver right to your door! There’s a picture of challah on their website that if I ever get my hands on I will devour in less than five minutes.
And so in conclusion, I, your local bread connoisseur, leave you with some wise words….
Eat bread and prosper.