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Forma Bakery shots.
Gourmet conchas are headed to Temescal thanks to Forma Bakery this summer.
Forma Bakery

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Sweet Corn and Nutty Ash-Flaked Conchas Are Coming to This New Temescal Bakery

Jackson Schnetz, from the family behind Xolo and La Esquinita, will open Forma Bakery on Telegraph Avenue

Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

Diners in Oakland should be familiar with a Schnetz family restaurant or two. To rattle off a couple, there’s Xolo on Telegraph Avenue and La Esquinita on College Avenue. Now, father Thomas Schnetz and son Jackson Schnetz are opening a neighborhood bakery in Temescal, the same area where the family opened Doña Tomás in 1999 before closing it in 2019.

They’re calling it Forma Bakery, it’s opening this spring, and it’s all about croissants and conchas. Jackson’s grandparents and most of his dad’s family emigrated from Guadalajara, and he was raised bussing dishes at his family’s Mexican restaurants, napping in stockpots. “I’m taking this French baking technique and bringing that to Temescal, combining it with how I’ve grown up in these Mexican restaurants,” Jackson says. “It’s a funny circular story since I’m coming back to the same block Doña Tomás was on 20 years later.”

Jackson spent the last three years working at Fournée in Berkeley where he ran the viennoiserie program. That means he’ll also run the show at Forma, making about five different sourdough loaves, and three enriched breads including brioche, croissants, and conchas. The bakery’s coffee partner is still up in the air, and the drink menu will be pretty simple espresso machine fare, a testament to Jackson and his dad’s routine expeditions for cappuccinos and croissants.

Forma Bakery shots.
Jackson’s handiwork.
Forma Bakery

The conchas are going to be worth seeking out, made in bold flavors and with the same level of care and technique seen in Bay Area contemporaries Norte 54 and La Cheve. Jackson is excited to debut a nutty ash-flecked concha he picked up while staging at Enrique Olvera’s Criollo in Oaxaca. There’ll be rotating seasonal options such as luxurious California sweet corn conchas in the summer. But Schnetz does believe his croissant will be the star. The high-end loaves and conchas need to be matched by flaky, buttery croissants, with Arsicault and B. Patisserie serving as local inspirations. He’s not too enticed by the trendy, viral bakes. “Playing with different shapes, that’s always fun,” Schnetz says. “But my purpose is still getting that creamy inside texture with the flaky outside.”

Designed as a counter-service and takeout space, Forma will have just a few benches out front and a design meant to accommodate customers flowing in and out with a bite on the way to work, not unlike Tartine’s original bakery. Mexico City and Oaxaca serve as big aesthetic inspirations, with a blue exterior and a simple interior with a rustic finish. That same design can be seen at Xolo and La Esquinita, as well as at the family’s many other businesses including Flora, Bar Fauna, and Tacubaya. Forma will look to join those ranks, but with Jackson’s dojo-like preparation at Fournée and Criollo, the hopes are higher than ever. “I’ve dreamed of making a place in this area,” Jackson says. “One because it’s where I want to spend my life living, and two because it’s a personal connection to my dad, a reunion to this area.”

Forma Bakery will open at 4920 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland this spring with rough hours 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Correction: January 25, 2024, 11:50 a.m. This article was updated to reflect that Jackson Schnetz’s family is from Guadalajara.

Forma Bakery shots.
Jackson and father Thomas outside the inbound bakery.
Forma Bakery
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