California Bear

Where to Break Off the Best Sourdough in San Francisco

Although sourdough bread can be traced to ancient times, it’s probably best known for its contemporary San Francisco roots. During the Gold Rush of 1849, French bakers brought sourdough techniques to the Bay Area, and it’s stayed a beloved tradition ever since. Even the 49ers football team mascot is named “Sourdough Sam!” April 1 marks National Sourdough Day, and we’re breaking out our starters. But if you’re in San Francisco and want some of the best bread right now, here’s’s guide to the top sourdough bakeries in town.

Boudin Bakery

“The present-day fame of San Francisco’s sourdough traces back to one of the city’s icons, which arguably started it all. Boudin Bakery began operating in 1849, after one of the Gold Rush miners supposedly gave Isidore Boudin what would become the establishment’s mother starter. Today, just as well-known as the chain’s loaves are its sourdough bread bowls, served with tomato soup, beef chili or, most famously, New England-style clam chowder. The chain now has locations all across California, with the option for delivery through DoorDash.”

Acme Bread Company

“Founded in 1983, Acme is one of the pioneers of the artisanal bread movement in America. Today, the company produces bread—including a smokey-tasting pain au levain, one of its most popular loaves—from 100% organic wheat flour, as well as California-produced olive oil and sweet cream butter. The company focuses primarily on wholesale, so the only place in San Francisco where customers can find the bakery’s full sourdough selection is the Ferry Building Marketplace. Select loaves also line the shelves of many grocery stores and food markets throughout the Bay Area, and customers can also order online.”

Tartine Bakery

“Founded in 2002, Tartine Bakery is one of the most well-known bakeries in San Francisco today, and their famous sourdough loaves and other baked goods regularly attract long lines out the door. Several locations and multiple cookbooks later, founders Elizabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson continue to research and practice new techniques to hone their baking. One bite into the dark-baked crust of Tartine’s sourdough gives way to a moist, chewy, and distinctly sour crumb. For out-of-state devotees, the San Francisco-founded chain also offers nationwide shipping of their bread and pastries.”

Get more sourdough bakery suggestions here.

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