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Friday, July 30, 2010

S.F. Rising: Knead Patisserie's Brioche

Posted By on Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 11:17 AM

Bread or cake? You decide.
  • Bread or cake? You decide.
A weekly survey of bread in San Francisco ― the baked and the fried, the

artisan and the novelty.

Brioche

Source: Knead Patisserie, 3111 24th St. (at Folsom); Twitter: @kneadpatisserie
Price: $12/whole loaf, $6.50/half

Toast-appropriateness: 9/10

Bread and cake are supposed to be completely different classes of food. Oil and water. Leopards and cheetahs. Sure, there's pumpkin bread, but even if you won't consciously acknowledge that it's dessert, the sane part of your brain recognizes: cake. Definitely cake.

And then there is brioche. At her bakery in the back of Local: Mission, Shauna Des Voignes primarily deals in pastries. Since the bakery opened, she's also provided brioche to the restaurant for open-faced sandwiches. Twelve dollars for a loaf of bread seems steep, but a) her brioche is close to 18 inches long, and b) no human should eat more than two pieces in 24 hours.

That's because her delicate, yolk-gilded brioche is made with more butter than most croissants. It's so buttery that it doesn't need to be buttered. The brioche is so buttery that I still haven't finished the loaf I bought a few weeks back; I've kept it in the freezer, savoring the occasional slice on evenings when I haven't eaten dessert. The bread reheats beautifully. The toasted crust crumbles away, almost like shortbread, and the insides taste like a savory pound cake.

Knead's brioche is designed for special occasions: brunch for visiting royalty, croques messieurs for a promising third date, honey-slathered toast on a foggy Friday morning when you don't want to leave the house. Celebrate yourself with a slice of cakebreadcakebread, then head straight to the gym.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Jonathan Kauffman

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