San Francisco Spotlight: Sourdough Bread, Boudin Bakery

By Shelly Lurie

Sourdough bread is a part of San Francisco culture, both past and present. During the California Gold Rush, French bakers brought the sourdough variety to Northern California and the rest is history.

Boudin Bakery, founded in 1849, claims to be the original San Francisco sourdough bread maker. Miners would flock to their bakery every morning for their delicious bread. Even today, tourists from all over the world visit one of their three locations throughout San Francisco to get a taste of their bread that uses the same starter yeast-bacteria culture that was developed back in 1849.

Their main bakery is in the Richmond District of San Francisco, but their most popular and more scenic spot is the bakery on Jefferson Street in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf – located right on the bay. This Boudin location has a bakery and café in what they call “Baker’s Hall”, a gourmet marketplace, a bar, and a full-service restaurant – it’s the perfect place to learn about SF sourdough history, grab a bite to eat, and purchase some unique gifts for those back home.

Get the clam chowder in a bread bowl, grab a seat outside (don’t worry, there’s a fireplace!), give your feet a rest and take in the view of boats at the dock alongside the hustle and bustle of Fisherman’s Wharf. On your way out, buy a “sculpted bread” for the road – these are their loaves that are in unordinary shapes like a crocodile, crab, teddy bear or cable car. You most likely will never see something like that again!

Best of all, you’ll be supporting good jobs here in the U.S. since Boudin Bakery is unionized. So, what are you waiting for?


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