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Monday, May 7, 2012

Number 6: Josey Baker's Black Pepper-Parmesan Loaf

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Josey Baker's black pepper Parm bread. - JONATHAN KAUFFMAN
  • Jonathan Kauffman
  • Josey Baker's black pepper Parm bread.

SFoodie's countdown of our favorite 50 things to eat and drink, 2012 edition


Josey Baker is an improbable success story, a guy -- science educator by day, bartender by night -- who happened upon a talent for baking bread one day when a friend gave him some sourdough starter. Baker started baking as a hobby, then started writing funny little blog posts about the baking hobby and selling loaves out of the Mission bar where he was working. The bread CSA he started up grew big enough for him to quit his day job, and his bread garnered so much love that his customers let him take a few months off to travel around Southeast Asia without killing the business.

As Baker prepares to open Mill, his new bakery on Divisadero, he's still baking out of Mission Pie a couple days a week and selling bread at Bi-Rite. Baker makes traditionally, naturally leavened breads, but he's been unafraid to experiment with flavors since the early CSA days, and one of the enduring successes of that period is his black pepper and Parmesan bread. 

Slice through the crust, your knife scattering shards everywhere, and you reveal a lattice of bubbles swirling through the crumb like a wave caught mid-crash. You can't necessarily see the chunks of Parmesan embedded in the bread, but you can smell and taste them -- the cheese intensifies he subtle tang of sourdough and amps up the bread's umami. A faint smell of pepper turns into a prickling spice as you chew. It's a bread made for spreading fresh cheeses on, or drizzling olive oil on and toasting for bruschetta. It's bread worth waiting -- a week, a few months -- for.

Josey Baker Bread: Currently sold at Mission Pie and Bi-Rite Market on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 3 to 9 p.m.

Other favorites in this series:

7. Hakka Restaurant's stuffed tofu
8: Al pastor burrito from Taqueria La Alteña
9: Pizza focaccia from Liguria Bakery

10: Boxing Room's dirty rice

11: Wing Wings' chicken salad biscuit

12: Pamonha de sal from Pamonha's

13: Kasa Indian Truck's gobi aloo kati roll

14: Delfina's trippa alla fiorentina

15: Truffled tater tots from Leatherneck Steakhouse
16: Baia Pasta's durum-wheat pastas

17: Z&Y's flaming fish with chile oil

18: Auntie April's fried catfish

19: None but the Brave from Heaven's Dog

20: Saha's vegan kibbeh

21: Starter Bakery's hazelnut kouign amann

22: Pupusas at Cafe and Restaurant Montecristo

23: 2 a.m. apple fritter at Bob's

24: Le Sanctuaire's vadouvan

25: Crab louis salad at Nettie's Crab Shack

26: Soy sauce chicken from Happy Bakery & Deli

27: Locanda's Jewish-style artichoke

28: Local: Mission Eatery's asparagus-egg sandwich

29: Memphis Minnie's 18-hour brisket

30: Custard buns from City View

31: Mission Chinese Food's kung pao pastrami

32: Panisse frites from Frances

33: Izakaya Yuzuki's chawanmushi

34: Fatted Calf's chorizo

35: Silvanas from House of Silvanas

36: Linden Street Brewery's black lager

37: Aged oolongs from Red Blossom Tea Company

38: Broken Record's crawfish grits

39: Cebiche mixto from La Mar 

40: Nutella-hazelnut hand pie from Black Jet Baking Co.
41: Fifth Floor's burger
42: Perbacco's agnolotti dal plin
43: Iced coffee from Sightglass
44: Cypress Grove's Purple Haze Chevre
45: Lechon from Tastebuds Cuisine
46: Duck with beets from AQ
47: Tai nigiri at ICHI Sushi
48: Fish with explosive chiles from Spices! 
49: Baker & Banker Bakery's blueberry cream cheese muffin
50: Kufta tajine from Cafe Zitouna

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Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Jonathan Kauffman


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