I was so very excited to have an apartment just a block away from this bakery in San Francisco’s The Mission district and so happy to finally get to taste what I heard my bread loving, baking and exchanging friend Malin raving about for so long. This bakery seems to be a mecca for everyone who is interested in bread baking since they opened in 2002. Located in a small corner shop at 18th and Guerrero, the bakery is always filled with people, queuing in the morning to get a croissant, queuing in the evening to get a bread. The latter turned out to be not as easy as I thought: bread is only available from Tuesday through Sunday from 5pm, most of it is sold to customers who pre-ordered it, though. Thanks to my persistance I finally got one (still warm from the oven!), which instantly made me the happiest girl in town, I suppose. We devoured it with fresh salted butter, it was all we had for dinner this night and we did not need anything else.
Additionally, every single piece we had there was delicious, and believe me, we had many. The morning bun is the best I had so far and the bread pudding with cranberries made the arduous 9 hour drive from San Francisco to Palm Springs a lot more endurable, as did the giant chocolate chip cookie and the almond-lemon tea cake.
Tartine earns and justifies every praise they received, their goods are outstanding and it’s worth to queue. I especially liked that the bakery seems to attract a very mixed crowd, while in Berlin many of those “hyped hot-spots” seem to be solely visited by a homogenous, young and hip audience, the Tartine delicacies are enjoyed by kids to seniors from various backgrounds.
While waiting in line, I was thinking about whether their approach to baking, being so pure and yet so complex, was actually comparable to third wave coffee. Visiting Tartine, watching their video and also talking to Malin and other bread-enthusiast, revealed how much knowledge and theory goes into the process of making a bread from flour, water and sourdough. It not only takes a much longer time, it is also more unpredictable and requires the skill to understand and feel the dough to know what it needs in order to develop. I am amazed by their enthusiasm and passion for their artistry and I hope for someone with an equal verve to open one of those third-wave-bakeries in Berlin, there are way too few great bakers in town!