My love affair with Knead began 2 months back when I was on my way to pick up my morning coffee from Phillz. In the doorway of what I thought was Local Mission Eatery, there it was: a cart filled with all sorts of freshly baked pastries and cookies taunting me, tempting me to say to hell with those skinny jeans and indulge my cravings. It took me a whole, ummmmmm, 3 seconds to cave in, and now I can say it was the best decisions I've ever made.
In my opinion Knead is the best bakery in SF - literally every single item, even if it seems common and not too exciting (like a madeleine), is executed to perfection. The puff pastry is always so delicate and crisp, the custards so rich and creamy, sugars perfectly caramelized, pastry cream light with just the right level of sweetness. You may not be wowed by the appearance of every single little cookie, but I dare you to find something that doesn't blow you away.
In my opinion, the Pomme de Amore should go on a top 10 list of the best pastries ever. It's almost like creme brulee in puff pastry - runny, warm, rum-enhanced custard with a caramelized sugar top, held by the most perfectly cooked puff pastry. If I see these at the cart, I literally lose all self-control and cannot walk by without buying one.
The eclairs are also magical - I've never had one so light and airy. Which is bad, because you can eat it so quickly without realizing what just happened, and going through 3+ in a sitting is a serious possibility.
And oh my god, today I experienced something new - fresh-out-of-the-oven, drippy, gooey, sticky buns. Not too big to make you feel extremely guilty and not too small that they're gone in a bite, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, messy, warm...they represent everything that is right in the world. If you're lucky enough to see them on the morning cart, do yourself a favor and buy an obscene amount.
Shauna, the co-owner, and person who you'll see working every day, is so friendly and easy to talk to. But more importantly, that chick REALLY knows how to bake. Her culinary background is impressive and can be tasted in her food. I think I've told her about five times that I hold her personally responsible for both my happiness and for ruining my life, all at the same time.
This bakery may be small, but it's powerful - powerful enough to have completely stripped me of my willpower. And while I think everyone in SF needs to go experience these pastries, just be warned: once you try them, there's no going back.
3111 24th St
(between Folsom St & Shotwell St)
San Francisco, CA 94110