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Start It Up

New Oakland bakery tackles the kouign amann, a flaky, sweet, and savory French pastry.


Frank Wing, frankwingphoto.com

Brian Wood remembers when he first tried a kouign amann, after picking up the traditional Breton sweet from a French pastry shop in New York City in 2005.

“I was walking down Fifth Avenue, and I just stopped and looked at it, trying to take it apart,” says the co-owner of wholesale Starter Bakery, which opened in Oakland in April. “I was amazed. The flavors were so balanced between sweet and soft and savory. It was buttery and flaky like a croissant, but had more of a hard bite to it.”

Six years later, the kouign amann (pronounced “queen amahn”) is the signature item in Wood and Jamie Hansen’s line of breakfast pastries, which are popping up across the East Bay, including at Pizzaiolo in Oakland and Patxi’s in Lafayette.

The two owners want to open a retail space and grow the bakery—but not at the expense of their labor-intensive, small-batch approach. “We want to be successful providing the highest-quality pastries,” says Wood.

For more info, go to starterbakery.com.

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