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Who can tell me where there is a bakery in or around san francisco that makes a great jewish rye? There has to be something left right? a deli? a bakery? just tell me soon. thanks, anina

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  1. Wise Son's Deli in the Mission?

    1. I'm sorry I don't know the guy's name but there is this German bakery that sets up at the Crocker Galleria Farmers Market that sells the most kick-ass Jewish Rye I've ever tasted.

      I have never seen him at any other Farmer's Market but I have continually gone back there just to get his bread (and this poppy-seed bread loaf that rivals the poppy-seed pastries I get from the Russian markets).

      Maybe someone else will know the name of the vendor.

      6 Replies
      1. re: CarrieWas218

        carrie, I think it might be esthers german rye??? I went online to ask.. does that sound right?

        1. re: CarrieWas218

          I don't think it's the same one, but I saw a vendor at the 50 California farmers' market yesterday that had German/Eastern European breads, including a Jewish rye.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            I I live in carmel califonia.. I don't know what you mean by 50 california farmers market? thanks

            1. re: readytoslurp

              You should try posting on the general California board, where Carmel and Monterey locations are discussed.

              The recommendations you are receiving here all refer to locations in San Francisco (i.e., 50 California Street, farmers market).

            2. re: CarrieWas218

              If this is Esther's, it's also available at Rainbow Grocery, albeit in small quantities.

            3. Acme makes a great corn rye. I think it's only at the bakery and only one or two days a week. I'm not sure it's among the photos on this page:


              1. One of the major suppliers here an Odessa rye that's very good. I looked it up: Semifreddi's. Check out near you, if they supply there.

                1 Reply
                1. re: rccola

                  Semifreddi also makes a deli rye. Trader Joe's carries a corn rye. My wife likes it.

                2. Metropolis Bakery in Berkeley makes a delicious rye bread with nigella seed (AKA chernushka, onion seed and various other names) as well as caraway. It's available at Berkeley Bowl West.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Miss Otis

                    I've had that--it is good. I did love that too but hadn't seen it for a while and couldn't remember the bakery. My grandfather used to make rye with chernushkas. I always wonder if they made their way up from India--black onion seed.

                    1. re: rccola

                      I am now embarking on an adventure. I am going to try and make my own rye bread. I got out a book called Local Breads.. I want to just take the mystery out of all this okay? okay.

                      1. re: readytoslurp

                        wow! you are ambitious. let us know how it turns out.

                        1. re: readytoslurp

                          May it come out wonderfully. If it doesn't, I'll try to find an old recipe I might still have.

                    2. Esthers breads are very good but the rye is not exactly NY Style..ie crisp crust moist interior...The one that comes the closest for me is definitely Wise Sons Deli on 24th st in the Mission..they make a wonderful full bodied Challah as well....!

                      2 Replies
                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Yes...their rye... and a very good challah as well...I will be picking up a Rosh haShana round challah and homemade honey cake tomorrow!
                          I pre-ordered for the holiday..."Tinkerbell took my order...everytime I think of her (very sweet on the phone) I clap my hands!!!

                      1. Not a bakery but Miller's Deli on Polk nr Clay. No idea if they sell a whole rye but I cry for joy when I eat a sandwich there. Now if they could only find real Romanian pastrami with pepper and coriander seed!

                        Wise and Sons Deli has a nice light Vienna style rye but it's not NY style Jewish rye.

                        54 Replies
                        1. re: stanbee

                          this is definitely the style of the Jewish Rye I grew up with in Brooklyn, Long Island and Manhattan, crispy exterior, chewy moist interior.....similar to my favorite bread place (RIP) Gertel's..once of the Lower East Side...now who knows!!??

                          1. re: ChowFun_derek

                            How does Jewish rye taste different from other types of rye? I don't have much experience with rye in general, I've only gotten it a few times.

                            Last time I got it was from Daves Killer Bread's Rockin' Rye.

                            I'll probably try it from Grand's Bakery at some point.

                            1. re: nuraman00

                              Jewish corn rye is a dense, moist, slightly sour boule-shaped bread (although sometimes it's batard-shaped), studded with caraway seeds inside and out. It has a crisp top crust and a bottom crust which is very crunchy and covered in cornmeal. When it is sliced it holds together very well.

                              Hope everyone finds a version in SF (I live in LA which has many places to buy real corn rye).

                                1. re: nuraman00

                                  1. Cut yourself two reasonably-sized slices of rye.
                                  2. Apply top-grade pastrami (preferably freshly steamed) to bottom slice. A full 3/4 pound of meat is ideal.
                                  3. Apply spicy brown deli mustard to top of pastrami. My Chicagoan grandfather uses French's yellow mustard instead; during such moments, I disclaim all relation with him. The merest idea of relish, mayo, or Sriracha is heresy; start over. Adding Heinz ketchup is cause for either a) ritual purification of your kitchen by a qualified shaman, or b) moving to DEFCON 3.
                                  4. Apply top slice and plate. Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray is the orthodox beverage choice, but nobody born outside Flatbush really prefers this. Plus it's expensive. I suggest Dr. Pepper.

                                  OK, fine: Jewish rye tastes perfectly good with some turkey and avocado slapped on there too, with some sprouts and roasted garlic aioli. If you really must. Don't worry about me, I'll sit here alone in the dark!

                                  1. re: bigwheel042

                                    Toasted with peanut butter and jelly.

                                    1. re: wolfe


                                      I've never had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich toasted. Interesting.

                                      1. re: nuraman00

                                        Nuranman - try it! I now ONLY eat my PB&Js on toasted (and buttered!) bread...

                                        1. re: CarrieWas218

                                          Ooooh.... Toasted and buttered corn rye with coffee.... heaven!

                                          1. re: happybaker

                                            The Portuguese folk make a raised corn bread, sort of like a rye but made with corn flour. Is that what you mean?

                                    2. re: bigwheel042

                                      bigwheel042 ,

                                      :) I usually like horseradish with my pastrami.

                                    3. re: nuraman00

                                      whitefish spread and tomato. Costco sells a great whitefish spread. Tuna and tomato work well, too. Roast beef, rare, horseradish and Russian dressing. Fried baloney and spicy mustard on toasted rye. Brenda's Special: shrimp salad and bacon.

                                      Or, traditionally kosherly, schmalz and salt.

                                      1. re: rccola

                                        Does anyone know if Grand carries Marble Rye too? They're closed on Saturdays so I can't call them.

                                        So I'm thinking I should get:

                                        * NY Rye

                                        * Marble Rye

                                        * Black and White cookie (I've had theirs before, it's tied for my favorite along with Saul's Deli).

                                        I'm also thinking that the two ways I want to eat rye are:

                                        1. Toasted and buttered.

                                        2. Toasted PB&J (Got any recommendation for what jelly would work best?)

                                        If I can find the whitefish spread, then maybe. So I should dice some tomatoes? I'm not a big tomato fan in general, can I try it without the tomatoes, rccola?

                                        1. re: nuraman00

                                          For rye toast, my jelly of choice is grape. It just works. (And I'm a jam snob, and mostly make my own but for rye...) After that, I'd say strawberry jam or apricot.

                                          There's another fab was to eat fresh corn rye bread. Take a slice and butter it with cold butter (or smart balance if that is your destiny.) Cover it with a slice of swiss cheese (my dad''s first choice) or, tangy havarti if you have it. Grind some fresh black pepper on top and take a bite of your open faced sandwich. Heaven.

                                          1. re: happybaker

                                            Ok, I think I'll try that way with havarti cheese too.

                                            Is all rye made from corn, or just Jewish ones?

                                            For example, this is what I had recently. It's not from corn rye?


                                            1. re: nuraman00

                                              Corn rye doesn't usually have any corn in the dough, it just has coarse cornmeal on the outside.

                                              Rye bread is made from rye flour. Jewish rye is a blend of wheat and rye flours, despite the name usually at least three times more wheat than rye. "Dave's Killer Bread Rockin' Rye" appears to be a sort of hippie loaf, no corn involved.

                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                "Corn rye doesn't usually have any corn in the dough, it just has coarse cornmeal on the outside."

                                                Yup. But it still refers to a very specific type of bread. From my experience, more sour, more silky than the average (and quite nice!) rye bread.

                                                In addition to wheat and rye flours, some recipes call for "clear" flour, which is a very specific type of wheat flour. If I knew exactly what made a good corn rye so silky, I would be a happy girl!

                                              2. re: nuraman00

                                                Nuraman00 -

                                                Indeed, "Dave's Killer Bread Rockin' Rye", while lovely I am sure, is not a classic jewish corn rye.

                                                And I forgot my other fav way of eating it. Take a slice, spread it with a thin layer of cold butter (do you sensor a theme here?) and then, scatter/mash chunks of smoked whitefish (or chub) over it. Some add thinly sliced onion, some not. (I do not.) Then top with a grinding of fresh pepper.

                                                Some nights? With a glass of white wine? It is the PERFECT dinner.

                                            2. re: nuraman00

                                              Costco has great whitefish salad.

                                              I used to like raspberry jam on Tassajara's Heidelberg (dark) rye, but I don't know where to get that kind of bread any more.

                                              Peanut butter on rye doesn't work for me.

                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                Ok, I called Grand Bakery.

                                                They carry a regular rye, and a marble rye. But because it's a "High Holy" day, they're sold out today.

                                                I'll try again in a few weeks, and I'll try to reserve an order then.

                                                Whenever I get these things, I'll take a pic of it and upload it here.

                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                  Where do I find the whitefish salad? Is that the only way I can get their whitefish?

                                                  1. re: nuraman00

                                                    Costco usually has Blue Hill Bay brand smoked whitefish salad. If the price hasn't gone up it's $8 for two pounds, which is way cheaper than buying it in a deli.

                                                    I've occasionally seen their whitefish filets at the Costco in SF.

                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                      I went to my Costco yesterday, and they didn't have a whitefish salad. I asked if they carried any whitefish product, and they said the closest would probably be cod.

                                                      (They didn't search on the computer for any of these, they just told me they didn't think they had it).

                                                      I tried searching but couldn't find anything either.

                                                      I guess it's just going to be toasted PB&J and open faced sandwich with cold butter and havarti for me, when I try rye.

                                                      1. re: nuraman00

                                                        They had lots of Blue Hill Bay whitefish salad at the SF Costco the other day. I got the last whole smoked whitefish but one of the employees told me they should have those in stock through the end of the year, apparently they consider it a seasonal item.

                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                          Wow, we have the whole smoked Whitefish all year. I'm by the Los Feliz and Burbank Costco's, Southern CA.

                                                        2. re: nuraman00

                                                          I went to Costco last week in Richmond and they didn't have the whitefish salad from Blue Hill Bay in the prepped food isle by the fruit. Shame, it's delicious. Maybe they'll have again.


                                                          At Costco it was something like 32 oz for 8.99. =(

                                                          1. re: rccola

                                                            Ok, I called Costco, and they said besides the ones in SF, Foster City and Mountain View also had it. I confirmed with the one in Mountain View, yes, they had it. I'll get it from there.

                                                            Hey, look whom I found a review by:



                                                            1. Why do they call it a "salad" if it's just whitefish and mayo?

                                                            2. How long does it last? I hope a week?

                                                            3. happybaker, do you think the cold butter would still work since the whitefish salad will have mayo? Would it still stand out, or get drowned out by the taste of mayo?

                                                            1. re: nuraman00

                                                              It's mayo based and in our house has lasted more than a week (eek?) Bet you can freeze it as consistency isn't a problem if the mayo doesn't break. If I had some I'd try it. My main problem with it is the saltiness. I need a LARGE slice of fresh tomato and a hunka onion!

                                                              I don't know why it's called a "salad" when tuna and mayo sandwich is called "tuna sandwich" and you need some celery and onion to make "tuna salad sandwich." Tradition, I guess.

                                                              I doubt you'd taste fresh butter with it. But it's yummy, yummy, yummy! (I sneak tablespoons full from the container when we have it.)

                                                              that review made me lose...oh, never mind. I can deal with a bit of over-bearing, steamroller-type "I'm an expert on everything" with my fish salad.

                                                              (You do know their lox, the commercially raised, not wild, is yummy too at Costco. Tastes like the lox I used to get decades ago when I was little. The wild expensive stuff is too gourmet or just wrong. I can't articulate why.)

                                                              1. re: rccola

                                                                Please meet me at "Not about Food"; if I reply here the post will be removed.

                                                                1. re: Fine

                                                                  Did you post there? How do I meet you there?

                                                                  1. re: rccola

                                                                    I did post a comment there about wild salmon. Sorry to be slow to respond.

                                                              2. re: nuraman00

                                                                Nurman00 -

                                                                Good question and, actually, nope, you would NOT want to do the cold butter layer with the salad. Just plop the salad on the bread straight! (I've never had the whitefish salad sold at costco, but from memories of that as a kid - no extra fat needed!)

                                                                If your Costco has the honey smoked salmon (tends to be about $14 a pound, fillets) that would work really well with the cold butter layer then the grind of fresh pepper. Problem is, it's so good, I've seen folks eating hunks of it just plain! : )

                                                                And rccola, yes, their lox is surprisingly good. It's funny, every now and then a thread pops up about where to get the best well priced lox. Not the best lox ever, or the cheapest - what's the best tasty value for the money? And the answer, more often than not, is Costco. It tastes like the "company" lox my folks would get for brunches, not the cheaper stuff we'd pick up for just family...!

                                                                1. re: happybaker


                                                                  I went to Costco and got the Smoked Whitefish salad. I was debating between the smoked whitefish salad, or the smoked whitefish (red herring) in wine sauce in the glass jar.

                                                                  I went with the whitefish salad, although I think just the smoked whitefish in the wine sauce would have been healthier.

                                                                  I also got the havarti cheese.

                                                                  On Sunday, I plan to get the rye bread from Grand's Bakery. Hopefully they have it.

                                                                  1. re: nuraman00


                                                                    AT the least - a slice of the fresh rye bread, spread with sweet butter if you have it, regular if you do not, a slice of the havarti and sprinkled lightly with fresh cracked pepper.


                                                                    1. re: nuraman00

                                                                      The Blue Hill Bay herring is good, but sweet (as is traditional). I can only eat two or three pieces at a time. It's not something I'd put on bread.

                                                                        1. re: nuraman00

                                                                          I'd definitely have it with bread. Rye bread. Open-faced, piece on top bite, piece on top, bite. Like my grandfather used to with the plain pickled herring and onions. Don't want to pile on like a sandwich and eat--you'll lose the bread's flavor.

                                                                          Red wine is kinda gourmet for Jewish food to me. Try plain pickled herring with a sip from a shot-glass of schnapps, neat, after each bite if you want. That's what my grandfather did with his friends (not every day). The bread and herring was the inducement to the next sip. They never did more than two shots total.

                                                                          1. re: rccola

                                                                            There's not actually enough wine in the pickle that you can tell. The ingredients are HERRING, ONIONS, WATER, WHITE VINEGAR, SUGAR, SALT, BLACK PEPPER, SPICES, WINE.

                                                                          2. re: nuraman00

                                                                            Update: They were all out of rye bread again.

                                                                            I called and reserved one for next Sunday.

                                                                            I didn't reserve one the last time they were out because I wasn't sure when I'd have time to go there, in the immediate future.

                                                                            The smoked whitefish salad says "best by Dec. 07", so hopefully it still remains good unopened.

                                                                            1. re: nuraman00

                                                                              It remains good if it was kept in proper refrigeration. I, however, would be unable to keep from taking scoops out of the tub to eat with an heirloom tomato and a scallion.

                                                                              1. re: rccola

                                                                                So, I got both rye and marble rye from Grand's Bakery a few weeks ago. I've been having them in the following ways:

                                                                                1. Open faced sandwich with smoked whitefish.

                                                                                This is good for a few bites, but the whitefish flavor is too strong. I get sick of it after a few bites. I tried this twice, and felt that way both times.

                                                                                I won't be finishing most of the whitefish.

                                                                                The whitefish would probably be better on crackers, because of their bite-sized nature.

                                                                                I included a pic of the the open faced whitefish sandwich, as that was my first attempt at eating rye from this bakery.

                                                                                2. Open faced sandwich with cold butter with havarti cheese on top, as well as black pepper.

                                                                                I like this. This is my preferred way.

                                                                                3. Toasted peanut butter and jelly: This is interesting. This is also a regular way of eating it. I got grape jelly. It's pretty good.

                                                                                When I compare this rye to previous rye I've had, such as Dave's Killer Bread, this rye seems less harsh or strong. It has a subtler taste.

                                                                                Perhaps that's what happybaker meant when describing Jewish rye as "silky"?

                                                                                I also can't taste much of a difference between regular rye and marble rye. They taste similar to me.

                                                                                I don't think I'd say I "cry" for Jewish Rye. But it's worth going to Grand's Bakery and getting theirs, once in a while. Especially if you get two loaves like I did.

                                                                                1. re: nuraman00

                                                                                  I always ate whitefish with a big thick slice of tomato. And maybe onion. If you didn't grow up with it, maybe it is too strong for you. Sorry.

                                                                                  1. re: rccola


                                                                                    I don't like tomato in general, I eat it sparingly. But in this case, I think tomato and onion would help balance the flavor. I should get some this weekend and try it with the whitefish again.

                                                                                  2. re: nuraman00

                                                                                    Nuraman00 -

                                                                                    Wow, that's a lot of whitefish! I can understand stopping after a few bites : )

                                                                                    The cold butter/havarti/black pepper is my fav way to eat it too. Especially when it is fresh. If it's a few days old, I toast it and have it buttered, with a cup of coffee. That was my Brooklyn grandmothers favorite breakfast!

                                                                                    As for the silky factor? The corn rye of my youth (that bakery has changed it's recipe so it's no longer available, sigh) was indeed silky. Maybe it had oil? But if you took a slice and pulled it, it would pull a bit first, stretching before tearing. Drier breads tear right away.

                                                                                    Welcome to the world of rye bread. It's quirky, but darn tasty.

                                                                                    1. re: happybaker

                                                                                      happybaker, if you're ever up in the Bay Area, try Grand's rye breads. I'd be curious to know what you think. Since I can then compare/relate too.

                                                                                      1. re: nuraman00

                                                                                        Nuramanoo you don't like tomato but you must mean raw. Cooked must be alright considering the amount of red sauce you have consumed in this quest

                                                                                        1. re: wolfe

                                                                                          Yeah I don't like raw tomato very much. That's what I meant.

                                                                                          Cooked, or in sauces, is fine.

                                                                                          1. re: nuraman00

                                                                                            This is much better with onions and tomatoes.

                                                                                            I am closer to the "crying" stage now.

                                                                                    2. re: nuraman00

                                                                                      Stopped by Grand Bakery and got a loaf of marble rye and a loaf of challah this morning. The rye is delicious, but I've only been able to have a couple slices of toast because when I tried to get some meats down the street at Grand Lake Kitchen, the line was out the door. The challah was day-old and is now destined for French toast and croutons. Their breads are really good and they make a samosa-thing that is an excellent savory breakfast on the go.

                                                                                      Oh--they also had the little jelly donuts (Sufganiyot) on hand and they are DELICIOUS. Very high-quality filling, perfect sugar dusting, awesome dough.

                                                                                      1. re: lakemerritter

                                                                                        Thanks. Glad you like Grand's Bakery too.

                                                                                        I'll have to try those Sufganiyot. I had seen them, but not known much about them. Which one in particular did you get?

                                                                                        I'm going to try their babka next time too.

                                                                                        So you didn't like the challah as much because it was a day old?

                                                                                        1. re: nuraman00

                                                                                          Oh no, I love the challah and buy the day-old on purpose! I do like it toasted with butter and honey, but the main thing is that it makes the best French toast. The original plan was to make some this morning but that didn't work out because we were just too hungry and just wound up going to Coffee Mill (meh) instead. French toast is on the menu for tomorrow (this!) morning.

                                                                                          My croutons are also challah-good--I put them in the toaster oven at about 200-250, spray on a little olive oil and add a sprinkle of thyme and sometimes a pinch of garlic salt (from Oaktown Spice Shop, even). They smell great cooking and the end product is light and crunchy and often goes from the baking sheet to my mouth with no salad intervention.

                                                                                          Their Sufganiyot are all the traditional strawberry-filled. They were still warmish from the fryer and were expensive but worth it (over $2, I think... can't remember the exact price).

                                                                                          1. re: lakemerritter


                                                                                            LOL at how the croutons go straight to your mouth. :)

                                                2. re: stanbee

                                                  Do they make their own bread at Miller's East Coast?

                                                  1. re: stanbee

                                                    Agreed. Wise is a lightly textured white rye, Vienna style, not the more hearty and slightly darker colored Jewish Sourdough rye of childhood. Good, but not what I crave.

                                                    The marble rye at East Coast Deli on Polk is very good. I think it comes in half-baked from NJ- if still available after the Hurricane.

                                                    Acme rye isn't close.

                                                  2. the Grand bakery in Oakland, just off the Grand/Lakeshore exit from 580. It's a kosher bakery.

                                                    1. The best Jewish rye I have had is a bit far afield - Gayle's in Capitola. Bay Bread at the Alameny Farmer's Market also has a good rye.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: SunsetKid

                                                        Bay Bread = Boulange, so they might have it at the retail shops / cafes.

                                                        1. It's pretty good, but not a traditional Jewish rye. At least I don't think it was - they give you big slabs of it to eat with the meatball reuben but there's so much sauce covering everything that it makes it hard to pay much attention to the bread. I actually asked where the bread came from but they didn't get more specific than "from a local bakery."

                                                          3 Replies
                                                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                              Yep - sorry, hit the wrong reply button. The meatball reuben at Market and Rye is of a style I associate with The Sentinel - taking something that would be complete and delicious eaten on a plate by itself, and then somehow packing it into two thick pieces of bread.

                                                              1. re: bigwheel042

                                                                kind of interested in t his chef at market and rye.

                                                          1. I think (THINK!) what the OP is talking about is a classic corn rye. Made with wheat and rye flour - and clear (corn) flour. Sourdough (biga), baked in ovals or rounds, caraway throughout, cornmeal on the bottom. Crispy on the outside and silky on the inside, when sliced.

                                                            Great for sandwiches but divine simply spread with sweet butter. Or, spread with sweet butter, topped with a slice of swiss or havarti cheese, and the ncracked pepper. Man! That and a glass of white wine and I have dinner!

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: happybaker

                                                              Correction here - clear flour is from wheat. Not corn. I live and learn!

                                                              1. re: happybaker

                                                                Before I switched to all-organic and "nothing white," I used to make corn rye. You might want to take a look at "The Jewish Baker" or "Better than Store Bought" --reduce gluten in its recipe--though the best recipes I ever saw for bagels and other NYC breads came from amazing little pamphlets published some years ago by a woman who had married a Jew and taught herself--mostly from reading ingredients--how to replicate his faves.

                                                                I just checked and King Arthur still carries first clear flour.

                                                                1. re: Fine

                                                                  Book Title Correction

                                                                  Secrets of a Jewish Baker, George Greenstein, The Crossing Press, 1993

                                                                  1. re: Fine

                                                                    Fine -

                                                                    I actually have "Better Than Store Bought" so I'll take a look at their rye recipe.

                                                                    And now to hit the library online to see if I can snag "Secrets of a Jewish Baker."

                                                                    Thank you!

                                                            2. Wise Son's rye bread is very delicious. Other good Jewish-style rye breads are the one from Metropolis and the one from Le Boulanger on the Peninsula.

                                                              1. I've tried many different bakeries' rye breads in the Bay Area and the only one that reminded me of a good Jewish Rye from back east is Noah's seeded rye bread. What a convenient surprise!

                                                                1. Trader Joe's has a good onion corn rye.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                    I'll have to try that, and see how it compares to the others ones I've tried.