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24-Hour Pastry People

Thanks to a slew of bakery openings and expansions, we're in the midst of a pastry renaissance. The following six bakeries are the most exciting of the moment, poised to foment (and ferment) a revolution in dough.

Craftsman & Wolves' smoked ham-and-cheese twist with vegetable confetti.

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Pastry from Craftsman & Wolves

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The cruffin: A croissant-muffin hybrid filed with flavors like s'more, fluffernutter, and vanilla cheesecake. 

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Chad Robertson

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The blackberry-pistachio croissant: Twice-baked and spread with pistachio cream and blackberry-poppy flower jam.

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The Wolves of Polk Gulch
This month, when William Werner opens the Pacific Avenue outpost of Craftsman & Wolves, his relentlessly inventive Mission patisserie, he’ll be backed by Angela Pinkerton, former executive pastry chef at New York’s Eleven Madison Park. In her previous post, Pinkerton earned plaudits for her creative, exquisite desserts; now, as Werner’s new pastry chef, she’s overseeing the Bayview commissary kitchen that will supply both of Craftsman’s San Francisco shops, as well as its growing online store. “The kitchen is a 24-hour operation,” Pinkerton says. “I’m making sure that production goes smoothly and working on new menu items.” She may also help Werner open Craftsman’s upcoming Los Angeles outpost, scheduled to debut later this summer. The Pacific Avenue shop will be smaller than its older sibling, but will stock favorites like cube cakes and the egg-within-a-muffin Rebel Within. “I’m pushing to do more and change more often and be ahead of the game,” Pinkerton says of the menu. “I want to get back into my craft, and San Francisco appreciates that. It’s a thriving environment for pastry shops and bakeries.” 1643 Pacific Ave. (Near Polk St.)

First, the T.L. Next, L.A.
Ry Stephen knew that his wholesale pastries had a devoted following at coffee shops like Saint Frank and Stanza Coffee Bar, but even so, he was stunned by the overwhelming welcome that greeted Mr. Holmes, the tiny, white-tiled bakery in the Tendernob that he and business partner Aaron Caddel opened last November. Stephen’s Instagram-ready pastries—most notably a pneumatic croissant-muffin hybrid christened the Cruffin—quickly engendered lines and late-morning sellouts (and, in February, the still-unsolved theft of the bakery’s recipe book). Now Stephen and Caddel are planning to open a retail shop and production facility in Los Angeles. “That’s where Aaron is from,” Stephen explains. “That’ll be his resting ground, and I’ll be here.” Change is also afoot in San Francisco: The Australian baker is looking for a second, larger kitchen in which to expand dough production and, possibly, another small retail space. And, thanks to his bakery’s popularity, Stephen recently made the “really tough” decision to drop his wholesale accounts. “At the end of the day, people are lining up for product,” he says. “We need to do our best to supply them.” 1042 Larkin St. (Near Sutter St.), 415-829-7700

An Oasis in a Pastry Desert
When Tanya Holland, chef-owner of West Oakland’s Brown Sugar Kitchen, decided to close her nearby B-Side BBQ, she and Celeste Scott, Brown Sugar Kitchen’s in-house baker, sensed an opportunity to showcase the home- style treats that had won Scott a following at the restaurant. Opened in March, their B-Side Baking Co. has proved a perfect match for the neighborhood, which previously lacked anything like it. “That’s why we were excited about the concept,” says Scott. “Quite a few people here are delighted to have a spot to grab a cup of coffee and a pastry.” 3303 San Pablo Ave. (Near 33rd St.), 510-595-0227

Sweets Get Slocombed
“Jake is super into duck fat,” Jewel Zimmer says. “He could have a whole bakery around duck and pork fat, whereas I’m like, let’s go for some citrus. It’s a nice balance.” “Jake” is Jake Godby, the cofounder of Humphry Slocombe, while Zimmer owns {cocoa}, a wholesale chocolate company. The pair have joined forces to open Press 12, a bakery that will specialize in “fun, playful, approachable” treats ranging from “a simple piece of chocolate cake” to Godby’s duck fat–endowed riff on Chex Mix. They plan to sell their creations through online grocer Good Eggs and their own retail space. “We’re trying to rethink the whole model of the pastry shop,” Zimmer says. “We really want to do a lot of kiosks. If it were up to me, I’d put vending machines in BART.”

Tartine Goes Global
Thirteen years after opening the doors of Tartine Bakery—and effectively changing bread as we knew it—Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt are busting out of their petite Guerrero Street mother ship and taking on the world: In partnership with Blue Bottle Coffee, the pair will open a Tokyo outpost of Tartine in May or June, likely followed by expansion to Los Angeles, New York, and then London. In the meantime, they’ll launch the Manufactory, a 5,000-square-foot combination restaurant, bakery, café, and produc- tion kitchen opening in September in the Heath Ceramics factory. Expect to see Roman-style pizza, egg sandwiches, muesli, and, says Robertson, “a lot of toast” spread with jams made in a dedicated preserves kitchen. “Beyond that,” he adds, “it’s a lot of Bs: bread, beans, and broth— and then grains, greens, and vegetables. Simple stuff but using a lot of techniques, like a family meal at Bar Tartine [the restaurant he and Prueitt opened in 2006].” Once the Manufactory is off the ground and the commissary kitchen is built, the original Tartine will close for a much-needed renovation. Although Robertson doesn’t know pre- cisely when that will be, he seems unfazed by the idea of further upheaval. “I like it when things are changing,” he says. “It’s exciting for me.” 2900 18th St. (at Alabama St.)

A Baker Hangs His Shingle
Like Mr. Holmes’s Ry Stephen, Greg Mindel started Neighbor Bakehouse as a strictly wholesale concern. “I always wanted a little bakery,” he says. “But it was too expensive to start off with that.” In January, three years after launching the wholesale business, Mindel got his wish: a small Dogpatch storefront that quickly drew lines for his exceptional croissants, tarts, and morning buns. In addition to fulfilling a longtime dream, Mindel says, going retail allows him to “get the true value for what I’m making and gives me a bit of breathing space in training people. I’m not so anxious about every little thing; I’ve got more of a margin.” The veteran baker, whose résumé includes time at Tartine and Tell Tale Preserves and a stint teaching pastry classes at the San Francisco Baking Institute, has no plans to expand further. “I’m good with just one storefront,” he explains. “I’m a little bit of a noncapitalist—I’d like to focus on what I do, and let other people do their thing in another neighborhood.” 2343 3rd St., Ste. 100 (Near 20th St.), info@neighborsf.com

 

Originally published in the May issue of San Francisco

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