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Alyssa Papiernik

18 Fresh Sourdough Bakeries in San Francisco and the Bay Area

Sourdough bread rises around the world, but it’s a local legend in San Francisco

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Sourdough bread rises around the world, but it’s a local legend in San Francisco, dating back to the Gold Rush when miners relied on natural leavening to bake bread. Today, sourdough is a staple in the city by the bay, although it’s been reshaped over the years: The dense and heavy boules from Boudin, the crisp and light baguettes of Acme, the dramatically dark crust and custardy interior of Tartine, and the flavorful freshly milled grains from Josey Baker. Each has its place and is worth sampling, fresh or toasted, dunked in cioppino or topped with avocado. Here then are the wild western sourdough loaves of San Francisco.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Wild Flour Bread

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Locals are annoyed by how many cyclists and day-trippers have discovered their favorite roadside bakery in Freestone, but it is a dreamy breakfast stop before hitting some Russian River wineries or swimming holes. The bakery looks out on a field of cows, while the wood-fired brick oven puts out fragrant sourdough and scones. There’s no indoor dining but the garden is open for visitors to enjoy.

Della Fattoria Bakery

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Della Fattoria opened in downtown Petaluma in 1995, and over the years the bakery’s won bread and baguette accolades from Bon Appetit magazine, as well as put out a cookbook approved by the domestic goddess herself, Ina Garten. Sadly, baker Kathleen Weber died of cancer in January 2020, but her sourdough legacy lives on.

Bread from Della Fattoria Della Fattoria

Semifreddi's Bakery

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Semifreddi’s Bakery bakes an impressive 190,000 loaves of bread every week at their Alameda headquarters, which is to say that this a veritable Bay Area sourdough behemoth. Find crusty and reliably high quality baguettes and deeply sour batards at either the retail shop in Kensington or at any number of local grocery stores including Berkeley Bowl, Rainbow Grocery, Whole Foods, and even Costco.

Semifreddi’s Bakery

Acme Bread

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Acme is a classic, founded in 1983 in Berkeley, and supplying dozens of restaurants around the Bay, including Chez Panisse. Steven and Suzie Sullivan started out with only one levain, sweet, light, and crisp. And you’ll still find it on many restaurant tables, ideal for smearing with local cheese or dunking in garlicky cioppino.

Sourdough from Acme Acme Bread

Firebrand Artisan Breads

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Firebrand claims to be the only wood-fired bakery in Oakland, stoking the coals throughout the night to put out beautiful dark loaves tinged with smoke. Order online for pickup or delivery, choosing from batards, baguettes, and specialty walnut wheat and sprouted rye.

Bread from Firebrand Firebrand Artisan Breads

Base Camp Bakery at Grand Lake Farmers Market

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Husband-and-wife duo Chase Agee and Ayla Groom fuel the East Bay with big, blonde loaves of sourdough, including an oatmeal porridge that’s textured and tacky and a sesame durum that’s nice and toasty. Snag loaves at the Grand Lake, Kensington, or South Berkeley farmers’ markets, or online via Good Eggs.

Fresh bread from Base Camp Bakery Base Camp Bakery

Boudin Bakery Cafe

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Respect must be paid to Boudin, the great tourist sourdough of San Francisco. Boudin claims to have the Original San Francisco Sourdough (trademarked!), with a mother starter that dates back to the Gold Rush in 1849. It’s the iconic dense and tangy sourdough, and the flagship welcomes visitors on Fisherman’s Wharf with bread bowls brimming with chowder.

Clam chowder bread bowl from Boudin Bakery Boudin Bakery

Rize Up Sourdough at North Beach Farmers Market

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Azikiwee Anderson is a former pro skater turned culinary pro who founded Rize Up, a black-owned microbakery. Anderson borrowed some starter from his buddies at Outerlands and is currently baking out of a production kitchen in Fisherman’s Wharf. Originally from New Orleans, he stuffs sourdough with jalapeno and bacon, confit garlic and thyme, black charcoal, and purple ube. Order online for pickup at specific retail locations.

Rize Up Sourdough

Jane The Bakery

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Jane started as just a coffee shop, but spinoff Jane the Bakery opened in 2016 and quickly rose to sourdough fame. Former head baker Jorgen Carlsen established an award-winning program for both sourdough and croissants, and while he’s since moved on, the good bread continues, with crusty loaves made from 100-percent California whole wheat, ancient grains, and spelt. 

Josey Baker Bread

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Josey Baker (real last name) was the first in San Francisco to roll a mill into a bakery, and freshly grind his own grains for the biggest, fullest flavor. Critics quibble about inconsistencies, and sure, the bread can occasionally be dense, a risk that comes with a more natural ingredient. But a good loaf of Josey Baker bread is perfectly oblong, with a dark and pliable crust, and the local wheat, rye, flax, and oats shine through.

Sourdough loaf from Josey Baker Bread Josey Baker Bread

Tartine Bakery

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There may never be a more perfect sourdough than when Chad Robertson personally manned the ovens at the original Tartine on Guerrero, shuttling out a limited number of loaves every evening. Tartine has since expanded and clashed with unions, but it’s still a training ground for young bakers and has inspired imitators the world over. A Tartine loaf is enormous, with a dramatically dark crust, and a custardy crumb flecked with airy holes.

Noe Valley Bakery

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This neighborhood bakery is worth seeking out even if you’re not a part of the Noe Valley village. Secure a sour batard or an oblong sourdough wheat batard — and if you’re in the market for something sweet, don’t skip the kid-friendly cupcakes and cookies.

Bread from Noe Valley Bakery Noe Valley Bakery

Avast Bakeshop at Outer Sunset Farmer's Market & Mercantile

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Matthew Jay Jones was the longtime baker at Outerlands, a restaurant with outstanding sourdough. But with a lengthy closure during the pandemic, Jones struck out on his own, and now runs the wildly popular Avast Bakeshop at the Outer Sunset Farmers’ Market. His country loaf comes in two sizes, “large or smallish,” while other loaves feature emmer, einkorn, and rye.

Country loaf from Avast Bakeshop Avast Bakeshop

Rosalind Bakery

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Matthew Kosoy ditched tech and started baking sourdough out of his home in 2016, before opening his bakery in 2019. The sourdough loaves are golden brown and lofty, with a tender crumb flecked with tighter bubbles, so toast toppings and sandwich fillings won’t fall through.

Sourdough from Rosalind Rosalind Bakery

Backhaus

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Anne Moser moved from Germany to California in 2013, and started baking bread with a cottage license, before finally opening her bakery in July of 2019. Today, she’s putting out bread, pretzels, and other sweet pastries.

Sourdough from Backhaus Backhaus

The Midwife and The Baker

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Right in Google’s backyard, in a former Acme warehouse, the Midwife and the Baker is the highest volume bakery that’s milling its own flour in the Bay Area, grinding thousands of pounds of grains every week. Thomas “Mac” McConnell was an instructor at the San Francisco Baking Institute before taking on this challenge, and his bread is wildly flavorful and consistently beautiful. Order online to pick up or keep an eye out at local coffee shops.

Sourdough from the Midwife and the Baker The Midwife and the Baker

Manresa Bread

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Manresa restaurant has three Michelin stars, and with that same fine-dining attention to detail, sister bakery Manresa Bread has a sourdough reputation. Avery Ruzicka partners with local farmers, mills her own grains, and bakes perfect loaves. There are now four locations in Los Gatos, Los Altos, Campbell, and the latest in Palo Alto.

Baguettes from Manresa Bread Manresa Bread

Companion Bakeshop Westside Santa Cruz

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Erin Lampel has agriculture degrees from both Cal Poly and UC Santa Cruz. She started baking sourdough in 2006, first partnering with farmers and sliding loaves into CSA boxes. The brick-and-mortar bakery opened in 2010, and regulars love the simple sourdough boules, also flavored with seeds, walnuts, goat cheese, and more.

Sourdough from Companion Bakeshop Companion Bakeshop

Wild Flour Bread

Locals are annoyed by how many cyclists and day-trippers have discovered their favorite roadside bakery in Freestone, but it is a dreamy breakfast stop before hitting some Russian River wineries or swimming holes. The bakery looks out on a field of cows, while the wood-fired brick oven puts out fragrant sourdough and scones. There’s no indoor dining but the garden is open for visitors to enjoy.

Della Fattoria Bakery

Bread from Della Fattoria Della Fattoria

Della Fattoria opened in downtown Petaluma in 1995, and over the years the bakery’s won bread and baguette accolades from Bon Appetit magazine, as well as put out a cookbook approved by the domestic goddess herself, Ina Garten. Sadly, baker Kathleen Weber died of cancer in January 2020, but her sourdough legacy lives on.

Bread from Della Fattoria Della Fattoria

Semifreddi's Bakery

Semifreddi’s Bakery

Semifreddi’s Bakery bakes an impressive 190,000 loaves of bread every week at their Alameda headquarters, which is to say that this a veritable Bay Area sourdough behemoth. Find crusty and reliably high quality baguettes and deeply sour batards at either the retail shop in Kensington or at any number of local grocery stores including Berkeley Bowl, Rainbow Grocery, Whole Foods, and even Costco.

Semifreddi’s Bakery

Acme Bread

Sourdough from Acme Acme Bread

Acme is a classic, founded in 1983 in Berkeley, and supplying dozens of restaurants around the Bay, including Chez Panisse. Steven and Suzie Sullivan started out with only one levain, sweet, light, and crisp. And you’ll still find it on many restaurant tables, ideal for smearing with local cheese or dunking in garlicky cioppino.

Sourdough from Acme Acme Bread

Firebrand Artisan Breads

Bread from Firebrand Firebrand Artisan Breads

Firebrand claims to be the only wood-fired bakery in Oakland, stoking the coals throughout the night to put out beautiful dark loaves tinged with smoke. Order online for pickup or delivery, choosing from batards, baguettes, and specialty walnut wheat and sprouted rye.

Bread from Firebrand Firebrand Artisan Breads

Base Camp Bakery at Grand Lake Farmers Market

Fresh bread from Base Camp Bakery Base Camp Bakery

Husband-and-wife duo Chase Agee and Ayla Groom fuel the East Bay with big, blonde loaves of sourdough, including an oatmeal porridge that’s textured and tacky and a sesame durum that’s nice and toasty. Snag loaves at the Grand Lake, Kensington, or South Berkeley farmers’ markets, or online via Good Eggs.

Fresh bread from Base Camp Bakery Base Camp Bakery

Boudin Bakery Cafe

Clam chowder bread bowl from Boudin Bakery Boudin Bakery

Respect must be paid to Boudin, the great tourist sourdough of San Francisco. Boudin claims to have the Original San Francisco Sourdough (trademarked!), with a mother starter that dates back to the Gold Rush in 1849. It’s the iconic dense and tangy sourdough, and the flagship welcomes visitors on Fisherman’s Wharf with bread bowls brimming with chowder.

Clam chowder bread bowl from Boudin Bakery Boudin Bakery

Rize Up Sourdough at North Beach Farmers Market

Rize Up Sourdough

Azikiwee Anderson is a former pro skater turned culinary pro who founded Rize Up, a black-owned microbakery. Anderson borrowed some starter from his buddies at Outerlands and is currently baking out of a production kitchen in Fisherman’s Wharf. Originally from New Orleans, he stuffs sourdough with jalapeno and bacon, confit garlic and thyme, black charcoal, and purple ube. Order online for pickup at specific retail locations.

Rize Up Sourdough

Jane The Bakery

Jane started as just a coffee shop, but spinoff Jane the Bakery opened in 2016 and quickly rose to sourdough fame. Former head baker Jorgen Carlsen established an award-winning program for both sourdough and croissants, and while he’s since moved on, the good bread continues, with crusty loaves made from 100-percent California whole wheat, ancient grains, and spelt. 

Josey Baker Bread

Sourdough loaf from Josey Baker Bread Josey Baker Bread

Josey Baker (real last name) was the first in San Francisco to roll a mill into a bakery, and freshly grind his own grains for the biggest, fullest flavor. Critics quibble about inconsistencies, and sure, the bread can occasionally be dense, a risk that comes with a more natural ingredient. But a good loaf of Josey Baker bread is perfectly oblong, with a dark and pliable crust, and the local wheat, rye, flax, and oats shine through.

Sourdough loaf from Josey Baker Bread Josey Baker Bread

Tartine Bakery

There may never be a more perfect sourdough than when Chad Robertson personally manned the ovens at the original Tartine on Guerrero, shuttling out a limited number of loaves every evening. Tartine has since expanded and clashed with unions, but it’s still a training ground for young bakers and has inspired imitators the world over. A Tartine loaf is enormous, with a dramatically dark crust, and a custardy crumb flecked with airy holes.

Noe Valley Bakery

Bread from Noe Valley Bakery Noe Valley Bakery

This neighborhood bakery is worth seeking out even if you’re not a part of the Noe Valley village. Secure a sour batard or an oblong sourdough wheat batard — and if you’re in the market for something sweet, don’t skip the kid-friendly cupcakes and cookies.

Bread from Noe Valley Bakery Noe Valley Bakery

Avast Bakeshop at Outer Sunset Farmer's Market & Mercantile

Country loaf from Avast Bakeshop Avast Bakeshop

Matthew Jay Jones was the longtime baker at Outerlands, a restaurant with outstanding sourdough. But with a lengthy closure during the pandemic, Jones struck out on his own, and now runs the wildly popular Avast Bakeshop at the Outer Sunset Farmers’ Market. His country loaf comes in two sizes, “large or smallish,” while other loaves feature emmer, einkorn, and rye.

Country loaf from Avast Bakeshop Avast Bakeshop

Rosalind Bakery

Sourdough from Rosalind Rosalind Bakery

Matthew Kosoy ditched tech and started baking sourdough out of his home in 2016, before opening his bakery in 2019. The sourdough loaves are golden brown and lofty, with a tender crumb flecked with tighter bubbles, so toast toppings and sandwich fillings won’t fall through.