surveyof bread in San Francisco ― the baked
and the steamed, the artisan and the novelty.
Producer: Terra Bakery and Cafe, 401 Gough (at Hayes), 863-2233
Price: $1.25-1.50 (more for the bialy)
Toast-appropriateness: 10/10. Oh, yeah, I'm making the call.
As SFoodie recently reported, Philip Roland and Jennifer Westmoreland, whose Roland's Bakery had received an East Coast expat approval rating of 80 percent for its bagels, was forced to close after a little more than six months. The couple moved down to Hayes Valley, added brunch-lunch service to their slate, and reopened this week as Terra Bakery.
The bagels survived the move intact.
Evenly browned and pebbled with bubbles, the bagels look a suspiciously well baked, like they'd toast up crustier than a day-old baguette. But no. Cut into an untoasted round, and it slices cleanly, without spewing jagged crumbs. You can even pinch the bagel and it contracts before bouncing back ― no dense dough lump this ― and yet it has a chewiness that Noah abandoned long ago. The crust never hardens when toasted, and the slight malty sweetness of the dough is a good foil for a thick layer of cream cheese (you know about Sierra Nevada natural cream cheese, right? None of that Philly crap).
And $1.50 seems a lot to spend on a bagel. After all, that's $18 a dozen. But there's room in the bagel industry for everyday bagels and special-occasion bagels. Keep your Katz and your Boogie Woogie Bagel Boy bagels for Monday through Saturday, and hit Terra on a Sunday. Bring coffee from Blue Bottle and some patio chaises with you. The wait is sure to rival the pre-show line outside the Fillmore.