Few smells are as universally well loved as freshly baked bread. The sweet scent of warm bread can make a place feel warm and welcoming. It turns out you can bottle the scent (see Exhibit A Sensory Decisions’ Fresh Bread Smell), but we’d argue nothing beats the real deal.
If the aroma of a homemade loaf is enough to make you swoon, you may want to sniff around The Mill. The Mill is a café and bakery located just a stone’s throw away from Alamo Square in San Francisco. It’s a joint collaboration between Four Barrel Coffee and Josey Baker Bread. Technically speaking, they’re two separate and distinct businesses living harmoniously together under the same roof.
Being surrounded by loaf upon loaf of hot oven baked bread is enough to make one wonder if they’re choosing their loaf impulsively, so I bought two loaves just to make sure I covered my bases.
I opted for the country bread and a loaf of the red, white and rye. (Because, rye not? Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.) With a fun name like “adventure bread,” it’s amazing I didn’t end up scooping up a third loaf.
Red, white and rye had a hearty whole wheat and rye flavor. You could definitely taste its sourdough culture and it had just a smidge of sea salt. The country bread also had a similar sourdough-like taste, but was a tiny bit lighter in flavor than the rye.
While I won’t judge you for taking a loaf straight out of the oven and cramming it in your pie hole, others might. If you’re in need of a smaller bite to eat, The Mill also has more moderately sized single serve portions of baked yumminess you can try. There are pastries from Neighbor Bakehouse and also donuts from Dynamo Donut.
Don’t get too discouraged by the line that often winds its way through the front door. If you’re only popping in for a loaf (and not coffee or a pastry), you can snag your loaf to the right of the entrance and pop cash into the honesty box located at the back of the bakery. If you can’t commit to a full loaf and want to belly up to the counter, The Mill also serves slices of artisanal toast slathered with toppings like sea salt and maple syrup. Perhaps The Mill is proof that a slice of heaven is only a few blocks away should you find yourself in the city by the bay.
Address: 736 Divisadero Street
San Francisco, California
Hours: Tuesday Through Thursday 7:00am to 7:00pm, Friday Through Sunday 7:00am to 8:00pm Monday 7:00am to 9:00pm (Pizza Night)
Phone: (415) 345-1953
Pricing (All in U.S. Dollars or USD): Donuts and Pastries $3.25 to $5.00 Each, Toast $4.00 to $8.00, Loaves $6.99 to $8.99