If you’ve only tried mass-marketed San Francisco sourdough bread, or the gummy loaves found at Fisherman’s Wharf and in SFO airport kiosks, I can understand why you might think the Bay Area sourdough legend is pure nonsense. Thank goodness for Acme Bread Company. Located in SF’s Ferry Building, Acme Bread makes a pain au levain with a distinctive, thick, chewy crust and a moist, elastic interior that’s best slathered with salted butter. That initial punch of tangy sharpness found in most sourdough is more subtle in this version because of Acme’s mixture of unbleached and whole-wheat flour, as well as the addition of barley, which gives the bread a touch of sweetness.

Acme Bread is also available at Bay Area Andronico’s, Mollie Stone’s, and other gourmet retailers.

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