I posted a while ago about my frustration finding good wholegrain bread in Portland. I moved up from NYC in late summer, and I had expected that Portland - especially with its multitude of bakeries - would be an ideal spot to find good, dense, crusty wholgrain bread. It just didn't seem to be the case...with some exceptions. A couple of my general thoughts on the bread scene here follow (but remember my very strong bias towards wholegrain bread, which I fell in love w/ in Germany years ago, and have always been searching out stateside (usually to my disappointment, NYC included)). [skip to the end for REALLY GOOD NEWS]
Standard Baking - Wonderful croissants, decent olive bread. I think their seeded whole wheat is more or less a joke. I asked them if they ever make 100% whole grain bread, and they said no, and that anybody who tells me they make 100$ wholegrain is lying. "It wouldn't taste anything like bread," etc. Whatever. The croissants are still top rate.
Big Sky Bakery - Soft, soft bread, always with honey or some other sweetner added. I think they may have one 100% wholegrain bread, but it's hard to find, and it's certainly not what they plug at Portland Public Market (free samples w/ gobs of butter). I don't see the point.
Foley's Bakery - Seems pretty similar to Big Sky. One Sunday they had overbaked their "cinammon chip" bread, so they were giving free loaves away with purchase. The stuff is fun, in a silly, candy-like kind of way, and we made french toast w/ it for visiting house guests. There's a three-seed wholegrain affair that is OKAY.
Borealis - They do have a decent whole wheat, although it's texture is far from dense, or even interesting. Uninspired but serviceable, I guess.
Sofia's - Some really good options here, although VERY expensive, and the place seems to have odd hours (tues-fri., closes early). Very nice Sunday brunch here, by the way.
Flying Pig Bakery - This stuff is quite good. They make an earthy 100% whole wheat that makes excellent toast. They also have a first rate New York Rye, and, wholegrain be damned, an outstanding cinammon raisin (toast to die for). I buy their bread at Wild Oats
But GOOD NEWS. Eureka! I've found it. There's a place called Good & Plenty Farms that specializes in 100% wholegrain bread. Their breads are available on Mondays and Tuesdays at the Whole Grocer, and thus far they have knocked my socks off. I've tried rye (not New York style by ANY stretch!), spelt and their peasant wheat bread. All of them are heavy, dense inside but still entirely bread-like, and the most wholesome, crunchy, soulful crusts you could ever hope to bite. I mean this stuff is DEEP. It isn't cheap, but I believe it's also 100% organic, and it is so vastly superior to anything else in town it's worth the expense (betw. $4 and $5 a loaf). It may be my early enthusiasm (ask me what I think in a month, say), but I think it's among the best bread I've had in the USA.
But as you've gathered, my taste in bread may be a bit esoteric.
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