Last week, a thief stole the recipe for cruffins and 230 other recipes from binders in the Mr Holmes Bakehouse kitchen in San Francisco. Nothing else, just the recipes, from the bakery where the cruffin, a muffin/croissant hybrid, has inspired an enthusiastic following.

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SAN FRANCISCO — It takes three days to make a cruffin, a muffin-croissant hybrid that is the signature of pastry chef Ry Stephen, 28. His shop, Mr Holmes Bakehouse, has been open three months and inspired a wild following, with customers lining up early to buy the cruffins, which reliably sell out before the line is gone.

“It creates its own frenzy,” said Rebecca Flint Marx, editor of San Francisco Magazine’s food section, who noted that the $4.50 cruffins are a cult item and camera-ready, as photos on Instagram attest. Fillings include caramel, strawberry milkshake or Fluffernutter cream, depending on Stephen’s mood.

The tempting sweet may have inspired a crime. Overnight last week, a thief stole the recipe for cruffins and 230 other recipes from binders in the bakery kitchen. Nothing else in the store was touched: not money, valuable baking equipment, an iPad or other computers. Stephen has copies of the recipes on his computer, and while the store opened almost on time the next morning, he was upset.

“It sickens me a bit,” he said.

In a food-crazy city where every consumer is a Yelp critic, the theft of the recipes — which the police are investigating — inflamed the demand for cruffins, the West Coast’s answer to New York’s Cronut. (Both have croissant bases but are shaped differently, and a Cronut is fried, while a cruffin is baked). By Monday, news of the missing cruffin recipe struck some people as just another reason to visit Stephen’s bakery. “If someone stole it, it’s got to be good,” said Ashley Edwards, a restaurant manager who was waiting in line.

Stephen, an Australian who trained in Paris, said that whoever filched the cruffin recipe would find it of limited value. The recipe does not describe Stephen’s technique of making the dough (Day 1), buttering and repeatedly folding the dough (Day 2), and then baking the pastries (Day 3). Nor does it say the butter must be imported from Isigny-sur-Mer, France (although this article does).

Stephen does not think the theft, discovered early Feb. 27, was an inside job. As for competitors, he is less certain. “There is a spirit of learning among pastry chefs,” he said.

But, “there are always one or two who are trying to take everything and not give back,” he said.