Carb Heaven At Jane Bakery

Ginger cookie, Nutella brioche, and kouign-amann from Jane bakery.

Ginger cookie, Nutella brioche, and kouign-amann from Jane bakery.

 

On bustling Geary Street in San Francisco, a former KFC/Taco Bell hybrid has been transformed into something far sweeter.

Jane bakery opened its doors in December, producing glorious long, slow fermented loaves and fabulous flaky pastries in this former fast-food franchise spot.

This is the third outpost in the city for Jane, which is named for founder Amanda Michael’s now 18-year-old daughter.

A couple weeks ago, my friend Deborah and I were invited in as guests to sample some goodies on the menu.

You'll find it hard to narrow down your choices here.

You’ll find it hard to narrow down your choices here.

Michael, who grew up in San Francisco, once wrote reviews of computer hardware for a tech industry magazine. She hated it, and found solace in cooking. So much so that she went on to take classes at Tante Marie Cooking School in San Francisco. It wasn’t long before she turned her back on the tech writing to pursue pastry gigs working at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, and PlumpJack in Squaw Valley and San Francisco.

In 2011, she opened the first Jane on Fillmore Street. Three years later, the Larkin Street outpost debuted.

Owner Amanda Michael.

Owner Amanda Michael.

The Geary Street locale bakes all the bread and laminated pastries for all three shops. Because of its larger size, it also allows Michael do more gluten-free and vegan offerings here.

Half a prosciutto-burrata sandwich with salad.

Half a prosciutto-burrata sandwich with salad.

A just-made spinach-feta quiche.

A just-made spinach-feta quiche.

This location offers more grab-and-go items because seating is limited to just a couple of counter ones. It also offers more sandwiches ($7 to $9), including a delightful one of prosciutto and burrata on a sturdy baguette.

Stepping up production for their first delivery to Bi-Rite market in San Francisco.

Stepping up production for their first delivery to Bi-Rite market in San Francisco. Note the fake mustaches in honor of a favorite employee’s last day at the bakery.

Baguettes coming out of the oven.

Baguettes coming out of the oven.

Freshly baked.

Freshly baked.

This is a place that takes bread seriously. Jane makes more than two dozen types, and sells them by the whole, half or quarter loaf, which is a nice touch for those who have smaller households or want to try several different breads. Jane also just started supplying Bi-Rite market in San Francisco.

Most of the flour used is grown in California. For it’s best-selling avocado toast ($9) crowned with pickled shallots, jalapenos and a poached egg, Michael goes so far as to make a special sourdough solely for it. Rather than the regular sourdough loaf, this one is made especially to toast just so, and to have enough heft to hold up to the toppings yet still be wonderfully yielding in texture.

Classic pan au chocolat.

Classic pan au chocolat.

The ancient grain loaf is full of spelt, rye and other flours that give it a grand crust and a deeply complex flavor. The green olive and polenta loaf is irresistible — its exterior full of crunch and its interior studded with buttery green olives. The bread is so satisfying, with that almost tangy, long fermented flavor bread connoisseurs adore, that I happily eat it adorned with nothing else.

The cookies are big, crispy on the edges and chewy within. The kouign-amann is deeply bronzed with visible layers. It’s not quite as light, crisp and airy as B. Patisserie’s, but it has wonderful buttery flavor. The golden dome of a brioche hides a center of solid Nutella, almost like a giant chocolate truffle.

Front to Back: Nutella oatmeal cookie, Cookie in a Cookie (chocolate cookie wafers, crushed and added to a chocolate cookie dough), and chocolate chip cookie.

Front to Back: Nutella oatmeal cookie, Cookie in a Cookie (chocolate cookie wafers, crushed and added to a chocolate cookie dough), and chocolate chip cookie.

A peek at the bakery case.

A peek at the bakery case.

How beautiful are these?

How beautiful are these?

The display cases at Jane’s are a wonderland. You’ll find yourself staring at them, hungrily, getting lost in the delicious spectrum of possibilities.

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