Almost every Sunday someone approaches the Starter Bakery stand at the Temescal Farmers' Market, frantically scanning the selection of baked goods for something, something they can't quite identify. Brian Wood knows what it is. His kouign-amann launched Starter into existence about a year ago, and its popularity spread so quickly through the East Bay (where the bakery is headquartered) that people started seeking out the pastry with the name they couldn't pronounce, solely based on the buzz on the street. [For the record, the first word "kouign" is pronounced "queen," and the second part, "amann," is prounced like the capital of Jordan, Amman.]
Now San Franciscans can find the rare treat at several cafes around town, and Wood has had to put a hold on new accounts because his little bakery can't keep up with the demand. So what the heck is kouign-amann, you ask? Let's start by saying your morning croissant is about to get upstaged in the pastry case.