The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Serious Eats' Taste Test SF Sourdough

RobynNZ's picture

Serious Eats' Taste Test SF Sourdough

Serious Eats have conducted a taste test on some San Francisco Sourdoughs.

PiPs's picture

I would have picked the top three in that order based on their production methods ... but damn ... I have never tasted any of them ... Sigh

Darwin's picture

$8.25 per loaf got my attention.

PiPs's picture

I know they are big loaves ... But seriously?

Janetcook's picture

Nice article.  Interesting how things change over the years.  When I was growing up in SF during the 60's and 70's the loaves most popular were the ones that looked like the Noe Valley loaf;  the baguette shape with a very crisp and thick crust and a soft, moist crumb.  The flavors were mouth puckering sour.  A real treat compared to the Langendorf/Wonder sandwich breads of that era

Also interesting to note that the top 3 breads all were the priciest loaves on the table….Wonder what that is about?  Hopefully a reflection of better flour????

No surprise that Chad's took top spot.  

Thanks for posting.

Take Care,


Wild-Yeast's picture

The top three all show signs of having been retarded..,


bakingbadly's picture

The article claims that the results are fair and unbiased but I'm a little suspicious, here's why:

- Bread types were inconsistent (some were white, whole grain, multi-grain, etc.)
- Top rated loaves were the priciest, as Janet mentioned
- Procedures are not transparent

Knowing the prices and/or associated bakery could affect their perception and judgement of the bread. Of course, we don't know if the judges were informed of this prior to or during the taste-testing. Also, judging from a few photos, the age range of the judges doesn't seem varied. In general, the taste buds of the elderly is different to the taste buds of young adults. We also don't know if each judge properly cleansed their palettes between each bread-tasting session...

I'm not a scientist but the above are just a few ways that can skew results.


yy's picture

Cool article! I mostly agree with the results, although I feel that a few were left out of the taste test. Not going to lie - Tartine was a major factor in my decision to move back to the San Francisco Bay area after grad school . . .

The price of their loaf is outrageous, but when you consider the $5 pre-tax Cronut in New York City, it's almost a bargain :-).

dabrownman's picture

an $8 bread to a $3 bread is like comparing a Chevy to a BMW.  I bet Boudin wants to know why Chad put their bread in his oven for 10 minute longer than normal before goiving it to the panel for the taste test :-)  Never seen Boudin bread so dark before - but it sure looked great.  They wouldn't be in business for164 years with bread that bad!

tgrayson's picture

I tried the Acme when I was in SF a year ago....I was underwhelmed. Crust was thick and chewy and the crumb was dense. Didn't really care for the strong acetic acid flavor. I think my own sourdough is vastly better.

I didn't try the sourdough at Tartine, but got one of their croissants, which was unbelievably good.

dmsnyder's picture

I haven't tasted all the breads sampled in this report. Of the ones I have eaten, I have to admit I generally agree with the results. Tartine at the top. Semifreddi and Acme in the middle. Boudin at the bottom.

What I don't like is that they were comparing so many different styles of bread. Apples and Oranges. Even though it was really a preference test rather than a quality test, the outcome would have probably been the same if they had had more objective criteria and expert tasters.