No. 63: Challah from Destination Baking Co.

SFoodie's countdown of our 92 favorite things to eat and drink in San Francisco, 2011 edition.

For the past 10 years, every Friday around 11 a.m. Joe Schuver and his staff begin pulling loaves of challah out of the oven and sticking them on the cooling racks, where they fill the tiny Glen Park bakery with their aroma. He only makes 20 to 30 every week ― one third plain, one third covered in poppy seeds, one third with sesame seeds. Schuver says he bakes baguettes every day and a few specialty breads a week, including sandwich loaves on Fridays, and sourdough boules and nine-grain bread on Saturdays.

The crumb of Destination's challah ($4 for a loaf) is soft and pale yellow, as if the bakers had mixed in saffron instead of orange-yolked eggs. When you slice it, you find the curling, swooping memory of its braiding. The challah is a Friday-night bread worthy of a blessing and a rich stew or a Saturday-morning coating of custard and maple syrup. Better still, it's as good a reason for leaving the office on time ― Destination closes at 6:30 p.m. ― as the prospect of a cold Manhattan.

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