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Dec 6, 2010 07:07 PM

Thorough Bread & Pastry (Castro), SF report w/ pics

It's a small bakery in the Castro on Church near 15th St. I walked from Civic Center Bart and it's only about 20 min away, or take the Muni F-Line.

I like that it's Open on Sundays & Take Credit Cards - Major points for that.

I got:

Chocolate bread $2.5 - it's a small round brown bread with some chocolate on the outside. Wish there were more chocolates!

Sticky bun $2.5 - Really tasty, I love sweet & gooey nutty pastries so I recommend it!!

French Macarons - 1 for $1.25; 3 for $3.50 - I thought they were good, small bit chewy & creamy inside. I got 3 & liked them all.

I got Pate de fruits - little boxes of fruit-flavored gelees. 6 in a pack for $3.50. I liked them ok.

Total $12 & used my credit card.

There's a bunch of 2-top tables, but all filled when I got there.

Through Bread & Pastry
248 Church St (between Market & 15th)
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 558-0690

Christmas Eve 7am-7pm
Christmas Day -Closed

Closed Mon; Tue-Sat 7 am - 7 pm; Sun 8 am - 5 pm

Thorough Bread and Pastry
248 Church Street, San Francisco, CA

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  1. My biggest complaint with Thorough is that it is wildly inconsistent. I believe they area a thoroughfare for students or something because everything that they prepare and serve always seems to change; from the size and crumb of the croissant to the consistency of the ganache on their tarts.

    7 Replies
    1. re: CarrieWas218

      Yes, it's run by the SF Baking Institute. I'm a regular, and I couldn't disagree more about their consistency. I think they're by far one of the finest and best-priced bakeries in SF.

      1. re: Atomica

        Have to agree with Atomica. They aren't just selling random student-produced stuff that is inconsistent.

        That said, I don't think I've bought anything there with a ganache top, though I've bought plenty of croissants and they have all been remarkably similar.

        1. re: SteveG

          I have primarily bought TBP's breads and found them consistently excellent.
          Haven't noticed significant differences in size, crumb, crust, chew, flavor....

        2. re: Atomica

          Atomica ~ During Jschyun's in June, she and I walked up there first thing in the morning, ordered an apricot tart, brioche, and croissant. Neither of were interested in finishing a single offering after the first bite or so.

          Perhaps it has improved since last June, but we were both shocked by its mediocrity and decline. I have not been since, but am now ensconced in Napa and am frequenting Model Bakery instead, but would give it another try when in the city.

          Model Bakery
          610 First Street, Napa, CA 94559

            1. re: CarrieWas218

              Well, that's weird. I suppose anyone can have a bad day. I had some financiers at Thorough Bread recently that were a revelation, and their baguettes are the best bargain in SF. The best baguette I've ever had and only $1.50.

              1. re: Atomica

                I agree about their baguettes -- they are excellent, and the price is right. Their savory gougeres are quite good too. Now I have to go buy some.

        3. Sunday afternoon I met a couple friends at Thorough Bread and Pastry for a mid-day snack.

          Financier was a bit off, more bready and less buttery & crumbly than I'd like. Also the sticky bun was not as rich and more breadlike. The tiny creme patisserie filled chouquettes half-dipped in chocolate were fantastic. Expecting a thimble-sized hollow, instead the choux paste was very thin, barely a shell holding in the more-than-a-mouthful ration of pastry cream. Puff pastry for the vol au vent was very nice, held its shape under the knife. Best item was the almond croissant, which I believe Steve G has touted before. Even though this one looks rather pale, it was very crunchy, especially the two horns, with many buttery layers. Filled with almond paste, then dusted with almonds on the surface, and more almond paste over top that baked up chewy and crunchy in parts like an almond macaron. Now my favorite almond croissant in the City.

          As noted above, the bakery will be open until 7pm on Christmas Eve. Here's a shot of a gingerbread house on display in the window.

          And the bakers' Christmas tree made of dough and other treats.

          Thorough Bread and Pastry
          248 Church Street, San Francisco, CA

          1. It is so great to have a proper bakery in the neighborhood, and very righteous that it is in the space vacated by Just Desserts whose notoriously bad service finally got them theirs...

            As Melanie notes, the almond croissant here are a different take on this classic, and much less sweet and overblown than those at the nearby Cafe Le Soleil serving the Boulange d'Whatever chain version. The other thing Thorough Bread has over Le Soleil is congenial staff and very good value. Not to mention GREAT bread. The multi-grain loaf is really top of this category and the sesame semolina bread is very fragrant with a perfect crust. As others have noted, their $1.50 baguette can hardly be improved upon.

            I haven't tried EVERYTHING yet, but give me time....the only thing I would suggest for now is that they move all the tables to the right or left of the front of the morning pastry cabinet so that there is no table directly in front of it. That way, when there is someone (and there always is) looking at stuff, others can get around it (and thus avoid the "Arizmendi Syndrome" of absolutely horrific human traffic jambs in a small space...)

            Just Desserts
            101 4th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

            Cafe Le
            1531 Webster St, Alameda, CA

            Soleil Restaurant
            625 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301

            1 Reply
            1. re: Boythefoodtalksto

              Agreed, it's the breads, especially the baguettes, multigrain, and chocolate bread that have made me a regular. They had a lavender sandwich loaf recently that tasted like it might be good for you (despite the molasses). Don't waste your time on the bagels or epis.

              Pastries are fine, but not why I frequent Thorough. And yes, the staff is really nice. If you want to taste a jam, they'll open it for you. They've squeezed macarons out of tubes upon request. And the patio is a little haven if it's not too windy.

            2. Anyother neighborhood gems like this one? Staying in Duboce Triangle for a couple of weeks and we are looking for non-chain delights like this one. Thanks.

              5 Replies
              1. re: DebitNM

                Little Chihuahua on Divisadero has good burritos made with organic sustainable meat. Not super authentic but I find them very satisfying.

                Over on haight, you have Rosamunde Sausage grill, which has good sausages but awful customer service. Next door is Toronado, a beer bar that has one of the best selections on tap anywhere, but also has awful service. If you know what you want, great, if you ask questions, you will get attitude.

                Toronado Pub
                547 Haight St, San Francisco, CA

                Rosamunde Sausage Grill
                545 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                The Little Chihuahua Mexican Restaurant
                292 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                1. re: SteveG

                  This is good info. Thanks!

                  Looking for cafes,, coffee shops, delis, pizza, wine shop, beer store, produce, meat, fish etc. The kinds of places that you need to live comfortably in a neighborhood. We have been to SF often, but this is the first time we will stay more than a week and will be in an actual home with a fully equipped kitchen. I welcome all suggestions! Thanks in advance.

                2. re: DebitNM

                  Directly across from Thorough is Chilango, which has excellent Mexican food. Try the carnitas, and the wines from local Latino wineries.

                  In the lower Haight, Palmyra has great rotisserie chicken and hummus. Sunny place, supernice people, good cake. I also like Axum, a dive-y Ethiopian restaurant, for spicy dinner.

                  Down the hill at 14th and Guerrero is Mission Beach Cafe. Long lines for brunch on the weekend, but low key the rest of the time. Alan is a master baker, well regarded for his pies, although I prefer the cakes. Pauline's Pizza is also nearby.

                  Pauline's Pizza
                  260 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                  Mission Beach Cafe
                  198 Guerrero St., San Francisco, CA 94103

                  235 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114

                  700 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                  1. re: Windy

                    I totally adore Alan. He is a lovely person, as well as being an incredibly pastry chef. I wish he would try out for the desserts edition of Top Chef. :)

                    1. re: Windy

                      Ditto on Chilango. Still my favorite Mexican and still kind of under-the-radar.

                      Green Chile Kitchen opened a sweet-and-savory pie shop on Church near 15th. Haven't tasted anything, but it looks very appealing, for whatever that's worth.

                      Green Chile Kitchen
                      1801 McAllister St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                      235 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114