Just back from our first visit to Oregon! We went the long way via the Olympic Peninsula where we got wooshed and splashed by lumbering logging trucks.
We hiked in drizzly rainforests where we were joltingly reminded that civilisation was but a rusty pun away…
…and gaped in awe at the ruggedness of the shores where forest and ocean meet.
We drove on. Despite our best efforts, the lovely bread aromas we had enjoyed at Pane d’Amore’s bakery evaded us until we reached Portland a few days later. The only other artisan bakery we spotted was Waves of Grain Bakery in Cannon Beach, Oregon. We hit it early on a Sunday morning. The sun hung bright in a cloudless sky and it was packed. We had marionberrry spelt muffins which were bursting with berries, yet still fragrant with the flavor of spelt (the grain comes from family-owned fields in Eastern Oregon). They were just sweet enough with the barest hint of cinnamon. Truly excellent… Definitely an address to keep in mind.
Driving further south, we hugged the coast some more, meeting many affable strangers along the way, either at viewpoints (of which there are many along the Oregon shore as the state once had a visionary governor, Oswald West, who claimed it as public land). One of our most memorable encounters was with a fifty-something motocyclist who was riding with a huge goggled and helmeted teddy bear holding on for dear life behind him. With no prodding on our part, he volunteered the information that the bear and he had already logged 100,000 miles of traveling time together and that their relationship was the only one that ever worked for him. He was quite matter-of-fact about it too. No hint of melancholy or nostalgia in his voice… I suspect the bear is a terrific conversation starter (and much less work than a pet).
Hiking on the edge of precipitous cliffs, we saw bald eagles soar above shimmering waves and densely forested hills.
…and a coastline that stretched to the horizon.
I missed the ocean once we headed inland but truly enjoyed discovering Portland and its bread scene. There might have been artisan bakeries along the way but we didn’t find them. If you know of any in or around Portland or along the coast, I’d be grateful if you could let me know as we will surely be going back. Pearl Bakery is already on the list. We skipped it because we ran out of time.
Meanwhile here are the few we manage to spot – in the order we visited them – as well as crumb pictures of the breads we bought. Please note that these breads were chosen to complement each other: I knew we were going to bring them back home and freeze them and I didn’t want to load up with just one kind. Their only common denominator is that they were all levain-based and baked in Portland. But the truth is that it was very difficult to choose as there were many more I would have liked to taste.
Since several of them are still in the freezer, I am not going to hazard any comparison or review. I was happy to see however that all the artisan bakers whose bakeries we visited were baking their loaves to a rich golden brown, standing their ground against the current fad for bread “moins cuit” (with a lighter crust).
Grand Central Baking Company Bakery on NW York Street
(Grand Central has several other locations in Portland as well as in Seattle)