Where I Shop for Baking Supplies

A while back, I got a comment from a sweet POC reader named Ann asking about some of my recommendations for local places to buy great baking ingredients and supplies in the Bay Area and beyond. Well, as I am wont to do on the subject of baking supplies and anything that allows me to make a list of things I like, I wrote a response so verbose that I decided it might be a post-worthy topic. So here are some of my favorite resources, sponsored by no one other than myself and my baking-related shopping compulsion. Thanks for the inspiration, Ann! And if anyone else wants to add onto this list for places you love to shop in your area (great websites for online shopping also welcome!), leave your recs in the comments section!

Spun Sugar, Berkeley. Oh sweet Lord, is this place ever a baker's paradise. Everything you could possibly want and more, from fancy cupcake liners to decorating supplies, tools and bakeware, flavorings and bakery boxes. Their online store is growing--as of now they offer an insane selection of premium chocolates that can be hard to find. Really fair prices. Very clean and well-organized. The people behind the counter can give you wonderful advice on just about anything baking-related. They also teach classes here that get great reviews and there's always something amazing-smelling baking in the back room.

Rainbow Grocery, San Francisco. I buy nuts, spices, high-quality chocolate chips and other spendy items here in bulk and stock my freezer. Wonderful quality ingredients here at a fair price. A decent selection of kitchenware in the back corner. On a non-baking note, this place makes eating organic completely doable on a budget. Well worth the trip.

Sur La Table, Ferry Building, San Francisco. Goes without saying. The floor-to-ceiling shelves of bakeware here make me shed a tear--it's a thing of beauty. You might pay a pretty penny for certain items at Sur La Table, but it's a dream to shop here. I have a crush on the one in the Ferry Building.

Omnivore Books, San Francisco. Okay, so it's not baking supplies, per se, but you can't bake without great recipes, right? At this dreamy cookbook Mecca, you can't leave without being inspired to head into the kitchen. Their collection of baking-specific cookbooks is so impressive, it makes me feel all tingly and warm inside just thinking about it. Omnivore's author signings and events are terrific and the staff is wonderfully helpful.

Mollie Stone's, multiple Bay Area locations. Excellent for high quality baking ingredients, and some stores actually have a nice selection of high-end decorative items as well. Pricey but good if you have one nearby for those last-minute specialty items.

Sugar and Spice, Daly City--Geared towards professional cake decorators so they have all sorts of things here, even pre-made frostings and fillings. Good for decorative items like jimmies, dragees, sugar flowers, etc. and they also sell some high quality chocolates and other ingredients. Not the most organized shopping experience, but they do pack a lot into their space. I visit here when I need something for a project, but don't have the time to get over the bridge to Spun Sugar.

Surfas, Culver City. So this place is actually in Los Angeles, but go with it. It's one of the places that tugs at my heartstrings when I think about things I miss about LA, and I have to mention it because I still stock up here like a crazy person when I visit. Aisles and aisles of everything you could possibly want as a home baker and beyond, since Surfas is actually a restaurant supply store. Callebaut and Valrhona in bulk, people! If you're ever in the Los Angeles area, this place is pilgrimage worthy. The cafe menu is to die for--make a half day trip of it!

What are your favorite local places for baking supplies, great ingredients and inspiration where you live?

Shauna Sever