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May 7, 2010 02:45 PM

The best San Francisco sourdough?

I did a search and nothing came up, which was a little surprising.

SF is known for it's sourdough, and I've heard of Boudin but since you can buy it at the airport that makes me a little skeptical of it's quality.

I'd like to ship a couple different loaves to my stepmom, as it's all she could talk about when she found out I was moving here. I live in the Mission, but I don't mind going anywhere in the city to get something really special. I don't know if Tartine has sourdough, but I plan on calling them after work to find out.

Any suggestions are most appreciated!

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    1. re: c oliver

      Thank you! That did not come up in my search!

    2. Screw what people say about Boudin.
      It's good stuff. It's definitely the best selling in the bay area.
      When I visit San Francisco I always stop at their bakery on 10th Avenue and bring back a couple loaves to Los Angeles for mysel and friends.

      1 Reply
      1. re: monku

        "Screw"? Nice talk, monku :) A couple of years ago we took a loaf to some friends in NYC. I was embarassed at its lack of taste and I could tell they were underwhelmed.

        (Sorry, wolfe. Just couldn't help myself!)

      2. call me old fashioned, but I consider Acme sourdough the standard by which all others should be compared

        3 Replies
        1. re: chuckl

          Is Acme distributed in any stores or do I need to make a trip to the Ferry Building for this?

            1. re: bethdean

              Where in the Bay Area? Most upscale and some not-so-upscale supermarkets have Acme. The Italian (sourdough) is one of the breads I see in supermarkets.

          1. For SF sourdough that reminds me of what I grew up eating:

            2. Acme Italian
            5. Boudin (particularly Tadich's)
            9. Bordenave

            10 Replies
                1. re: Mission

                  I don't know that it was "authentic" but the bread they served us at Tartine (the resto in the Mission) was some fine... still thinking about it.

                  1. re: grayelf

                    Tartine's bread is arguably the best in the country, but it's nothing like traditional SF sourdough.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      It's the closest to the Tadich Sourdough experience outside of Tadich.

                      It's not a sour bread, but neither is the Acme option you're suggesting. Since Sourdoughs were in large part about their crust and texture, Tartine's is often (but not always) very similar in those qualities.

                      1. re: sugartoof

                        We obviously have very different taste buds. I see Acme Italian as better made but basically the same style of loaf as Boudin or Bordenave.

                        In contrast, the Tartine loaf's heavy, dense, moist crumb, thick crust, charred bottom, and sheer size and weight make it for me a radically different type of bread.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Now which of the two sounds more like the Tadich bread?
                          I'd say Tartine's.

                          You're right, our taste buds and memories of sourdough are different but there must be a reason we're both championing non-sourdough breads. It's because neither Boudin or Bordenave are all that good now.

                2. re: mariacarmen

                  Oh, wow, that dark sourdough brings back some memories! Count me in the Acme camp, too.

                  1. re: a_and_w

                    I think I need to try the Acme Italian, because the last few times ( and this was admittedly years ago) I tried the regular Acme sourdough I was disappointed in the lack of sourness.

                    1. re: PegS

                      The Acme Italian is rarely if ever as sour as the old "extra sour" loaves used to be. It doesn't sting.

              1. It doesn't exist outside of one establishment, Tadiches.
                Second to that, Tartine's country white has some similarities and is a great, great bread.

                For the old companies still producing: Boudin, Bordenave and Wedemeyer.
                If you can find it, the Wedemeyer is the most faithful.

                San Francisco's old sourdough tradition isn't really intact these days. The last time the topic came up, it turned into a brawl, with lots of letdowns in the taste test department.

                A lot of people will swear by Acme, but it's not an old school sourdough, nor does it try to be. In fact, most all the breads marked sourdough are just bread with some sour flavoring, which doesn't cut it.

                I wonder if any bakers out there caught the last epic thread on this and decided to take the challenge?

                2 Replies
                1. re: sugartoof

                  I found Wedemeyer a step down from Bordenave. Probably won't buy either again.

                  When I want sourdough I get Acme Italian. Some days it's more like the old-school SF sourdough than other days, but it's always delicious, and given the choice nine times out of ten I'd rather eat that than Tadich's special Boudin.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Of course you did, and for my tastes, Acme doesn't make a sourdough at all.

                    You also thought Boudin had not changed and was an accurate representation of what you ate in the 60's. Now you're saying you would rather eat Acme's Italian bread over the last actual real sourdough, from Tadich? Uh. Okay. Sourdough is apparently not your preference then.