Acme Bread – Profile

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Established 1983

Owner

Steve Sullivan

Sullivan became interested in baking bread 25 years ago as a busboy at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse restaurant where he worked while attending the University of California at Berkeley. He started baking bread as a serious hobby after being inspired by Elizabeth David’s cookbook “English Bread and Yeast Cookery.” At Alice Waters’ request he went on to bake bread in the Chez Panisse kitchen. In 1983 he and his wife, Suzie, opened their first, now legendary bakery in Berkeley. In 1989 Acme built a larger wholesale facility on 9th street. In 1996 Acme opened a bakery in Mountain View in order to provide better service to the South Bay. In 2003 Acme joined the marketplace at the Ferry building in San Francisco.

Technology

Acme is an artisan bakery. Much of the work is done by hand. At the commercial facility in Berkeley, modern German-made deck ovens as well as a 1930s Spanish brick oven are used. Sullivan says, people make the bread, not machines.

Principles

Sullivan’s aim is to bake the best possible bread. Acme rarely advertises, allowing the product to speak for itself.

Practices

Acme strives for consistency as well as quality. Rigorous training is an essential tool for achieving this consistency. Acme uses only organic flour and works closely with farmers in evaluating and selecting the grain varieties for its flour each year. Three shifts of bakers work around the clock, seven days a week at the Berkeley bakery in order to meet customer demand.

The organic flour used to make Acme’s bread is grown in Washington, Colorado, Utah and Canada, and milled in Utah. Butter and milk are purchased from Challenge Dairy, which uses hormone-free milk from California farms.

Length of relationship with Oliveto

since 1986

Location

Berkeley, Mountain View, San Francisco

Products

20 varieties of bread

Distribution

Available at Market Hall, Andronico’s, Whole Foods, Elephant Pharmacy, Berkeley Bowl as well as their retail bakery in Berkeley. They sell directly to various restaurants throughout the bay area.

Farmers markets

San Francisco Ferry Building – Saturdays