At Boudin Bakery, San Francisco


If there’s one kitchen skill I’d like to master, it’s breadbaking. I simply enjoy watching and learning the process and really, who doesn’t love the smell and taste of freshly-baked bread? I know how to make only the most basic of loaves and I am in awe of anyone who knows her sourdough and who is not confounded by starters, active yeasts and such. πŸ™‚

In search of dinner on our second night in San Francisco, we were enticed by the wonderful smell coming from the famous Boudin Bakery. They have a shop and cafe area called Bakers Hall where one can stop for a quick meal and a cup of coffee and load up on kitchen supplies (or be sorely tempted to).

boudin-bakery-bakers-hall (2)

Don’t you just love shop displays like these? Makes one want to be a gourmet cook, hehe.

jam and stuff

We brought our meal to the patio looking out into Fisherman’s Wharf and people-watched. (People-watching at Fisherman’s Wharf is aΒ veryΒ interesting pastime indeed.)Β The soup in a bread bowl that I had was absolutely delicioso.

Later, we kibitzed with other tourists in front of a huge observation window along the street and watched some of Boudin’s bakersΒ show offΒ their skills (that’s my envy speaking, haha). Here’s a very short video I took, with some ambient sounds from the streets of San Francisco:

They make the shaping of loaves look so easy, argh!


I wasn’t kidding when I said I am in awe of those who are good at bread baking. I’m learning (slowly) through cookbooks and once, out of exasperation, enrolled in a day-long training just to get a feel for the kneading part, hehe. Months later, I am still the sort of amateur who ‘over-flours’ the counter. πŸ™‚

How about you, do you bake bread? How did you learn?Β 

36 thoughts on “At Boudin Bakery, San Francisco

  1. Hi Tita,
    What a fun post–I liked that you caught the actual process on video. I am not much of a baker. We do have a bread machine. I don’t think it produces as fine a quality of bread as one that was made by hand from scratch, but the kids love it because it feels homemade to them, and it does fill the house with the smell of freshly baked bread.

  2. I could eat their bread every day! It’s so delicious!
    My grandmother taught me to make bread the way she’d been making it since she was 15 (and she was 90 at the time!). I recently tried to make bread but so many things went wrong that we ended up buying a bread machine. The smell of freshly baked bread is very special.

    • It’s a cozy, home-y kind of smell, isn’t it?
      You are so lucky to have been taught by your grandma! There’s no replacement for hands-on training under an expert and she obviously was one.
      Oh yes, the Boudin bread. The one I had was just as I imagine perfect bread to be (crusty and chewy at the same time). The chowders are great, too and I’m starting to sound like a PR person for them. πŸ˜€

  3. Tita I do NOT bake bread. I don’t even try. CH’s Mom, The Mama, makes the most awesome bread and rolls. White bread, rye, whole wheat, cinnamon and oatmeal. No sourdough though. Anyhoo CH makes the bread. He hasn’t perfected the perfect rise in the baking phase but it’s getting there. Those loaves in the video are something! It seems like you had a very nice 3.5 days.. πŸ™‚ You know that homemade bread is just an excuse to eat butter.

    • You are hilarious, Ms. Pix! But there is some truth to that, for one CAN be too thin or too rich but one can never have enough butter, brought to the table by one’s own fabulous (in-house) baker boy. πŸ™‚

  4. Do I look like a baker of bread, Tita? No, I thought not! But I do have a pinny to wipe my floury hands on.
    Mam used to make it and I loved seeing the bowl “proving” on the hearth, and then those smells. Why didn’t I learn?
    Just lazy, I guess.

    • Hehe, baking bread does take a bit of patience especially when waiting for the dough to rise. But how good that there was mommy-made bread in your home. πŸ™‚

  5. I love bread tita buds, I can eat it everyday but the smell of freshly baked breads specially “pandesal” , that’s the best! πŸ˜€
    but I’m not into baking bread or cooking, hi hi

  6. My dad is the breadmaker in our family, but my dislike of getting my hands that sticky, plus the whole yeast thing, means that I shall stay a cook rather than baker. We had a bread machine in the US, though, and I loved the fresh bread from it.

    • The yeast thing was what made me hesitant about trying it at first, too. As for sticky dough, over-flouring is my (not-so-good) solution, hehe.
      How cool that your dad bakes bread. I wish I had someone in the house to do that occasionally for me, too, when I don’t feel like baking but want to eat homemade bread. πŸ™‚

  7. Your photos are gorgeous as usual, Tita. That sourdough bread is something special isn’t it?. My hubby is generally sated with the clam chowder in sourdough bread. We love it at Fisherman’s Wharf too. I love SF for all the authentic sights and sounds. So glad you got to visit and enjoy. I was just there yesterday with my daughter’s school.
    Your video is fab. Aren’t you a talented miss, then? πŸ™‚ I do more gluten free baking. Haven’t tried bread yet. Now, although when I was growing up, fresh bread was my favorite and I found that in Europe too. I think the gluten content is much less, which is why it is light and fluffy… Or maybe it’s something else. Our wheat over here is becoming more hybridized by the minute and a lot of folk have stomach issues because of it…so sad because I love bread.

    • Thank you! πŸ™‚
      I think that clam chowder was what I had, too! It’s really goood. πŸ™‚
      The authors of breadbaking books I have also talk about their preference for European flour on account of its distinct taste and texture. It’s not readily available here and will probably be prohibitively expensive. I do prefer using organic, unbleached flour when I bake.
      Was the field trip with your daughter the one that took you to De Young Museum?

      • Oh my gosh Tita, I was thinking of you as I went on this field trip. It was to the De Young. Only thing was that I had 9 kids to supervise and it wasn’t fun all the time. I used my manual setting to take some photos but with kids running, Er, the boys were soooo not interested in the museum – I couldn’t take any good ones. It is fun experimenting with the manual setting though, you’re right. πŸ™‚
        Over here too, really good flour is expensive and gluten free flour is twice the price of regular flour gahhh!

  8. I love your photos, Tita. It’s been years since my husband and I have been to San Francisco. Loved it.
    I’ve made bread. My Mom taught me how. Plus, she taught me how to make Polish bread, Bobka – I think. She learned that from our Polish neighbor. Like you, I’m in awe of folks with pastry skills. We have a pizza place near us and I love to watch the baker toss the dough into the air. (When we lived near a bakery that specialized in Italian bread in Syracuse, I was in heaven. The aroma is fantastic.)

    • Thanks, Judy. Your comment made me look up bobka/babka. It looks delicious! So have you made it again? I’ll have the chocolate version, please, not the cinnamon (which I’ve never liked, for some reason). πŸ™‚
      You lived near an Italian bakery? I can just imagine the constant lure of that aroma…

      • Sorry to disappoint, Tita. The Bobka my Mom – and I – made was very simple. No chocolate, cinnamon or raisins. Although that does sound delightful. I haven’t made Bobka in decades.
        And, yes, the smells wafting from that bakery were heavenly.

  9. Pingback: Extra Shots: San Francisco |

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