As usual, I am many months late following up on trends, but I finally tried the toast at The Mill in San Francisco. The Mill is Josey Baker’s bakery where he sells his signature breads and baked goods in a joint venture with Four Barrel Coffee. They make exceptional bread, using whole grain flour that they grind in-house and naturally leaven with wild yeast. Their bread is served at some of San Francisco’s best restaurants, like State Bird Provisions and Frances. The toast became famous among various food sites last year as “$4 Toast” or “Hipster Toast” (see write-up in Bon Appetit for example.)
The toast is made from thick slices of one of Josey Baker’s breads, like the country loaf. It is spread with a generous amount of salted butter and and various toppings, like their own apricot jam and version of nutella. I thought it was excellent, satisfying comfort food with elevated artisanal ingredients, justifying the hype and the notoriety. I also sampled their seeded country loaf, which had a great crust, soft interior, and complex, slightly tangy, nutty flavor. Their chocolate chip cookie was excellent as well, made with 100% stone ground whole grain flour and a generous amount of high-quality chocolate. The Josey Baker Bread Cookbook is definitely on my list to get.
The Mill has an open, warm interior filled with light from the skylights above. There is a long communal table as well as smaller tables and a parklet outside. There is an open kitchen area where the tattooed baristas, bakers, and cooks work, making the toast along with homemade nutella or jam. The Mill is located in a great neighborhood along the Divisadero corridor in San Francisco, with neighbors including Bi-rite grocery, Bar Crudo, and 4505 Burgers and BBQ.
The Mill, 736 Divisadero, San Francisco, CA
Link to The Mill website here.
Link to Josey Baker Bread Cookbook here.