Port­land is a great place for food­ies, no doubt. Whether you’re vegan, omni, micro­brew afi­cionado or mixol­o­gist, Port­land has you cov­ered. That’s all fine and good if you wish to be served, but what if you want to be the one behind the apron? One of the things that Port­land has going for it, that appears to be under­rated, is that it’s a great place for bakers.

In Mil­waukie, a south­ern sub­urb of Port­land, a large red barn houses the holy land for baker’s and con­scious eaters alike: Bob’s Red Mill.


This water wheel oper­ates a large dis­play grind stone inside.


In a stan­dard gro­cery store, even in many co-ops, you are lucky to find a lit­tle sec­tions fea­tur­ing Bob’s grains. If you have ever looked for wheat gluten, alter­na­tive flours, or gluten-free mixes, chances are you’ve come across Bob’s, no mat­ter where you live. And with good rea­son. Bob’s Red Mill has been lead­ing the way– with whole­some stone ground grains, beans, and bak­ing mixes– for sev­eral decades now.

At the Red Mill, you can order up some food for break­fast or lunch. They have a sep­a­rate veg­e­tar­ian menu fea­tur­ing a few vegan options. The staff there are very help­ful in answer­ing any menu ques­tions you have, as well as wel­com­ing substitutions.

Rather than hav­ing a lit­tle sec­tion to select from, the store car­ries the whole line of BRM goods, see­ing as it’s only about 1/2 mile from it’s actual pro­cess­ing facil­ity. That means over 300 prod­ucts made by BRM. It’s easy to get lost for hours, read­ing over each lit­tle bag and oogling all of the exotic bak­ing goods.


Pretty much any­thing under the sun that you could need is housed within the big red barn. This pic­ture shows only about 1/3 of the store. There is also a huge bulk sec­tion, some ready-to-eat food and baking/cooking sup­plies. You can buy grains in bags as small as 16 oz. or you can pull out the big guns and haul home a 25 lb. bag of grain for a very rea­son­able price. They also have a large fil­ing cab­i­net stocked with free recipes for nearly all their products.

If you are lucky, you may run into Bob him­self. There is an upper level with some fes­tive decor and a sit­ting area for those enjoy­ing a meal. I have seen him up there a cou­ple of times, sit­ting at a table doing paper work. He wears the Bob attire, the famous hat and vest ensem­ble. This last trip, he actu­ally sad­dled up to an upright piano and played some music, as well as sang a tune! I would have taken a pic­ture, but that would have involved lean­ing over some poor diner’s table to get a shot, so I erred on the side of good man­ners and held back.

Directly across the street is vegan bread head­quar­ters: Dave’s Killer Bread.


This is the out­let for Dave’s Killer Bread and it’s sis­ter com­pany (actu­ally brother com­pany) Nature Bake. Every­thing that Dave makes is vegan and most of Nature Bake’s prod­ucts are as well. DKB is truly the most amaz­ing bread I have ever tasted. When you toast a slice of it, it smells as if you are bak­ing a fresh loaf at that very moment. Dave takes Bob’s excel­lent ingre­di­ents and makes magic with them.


Inside the out­let you’ll find racks and freez­ers full of bread, buns, rolls and cook­ies for lower prices than the store. Depend­ing on whether you get day old loaves or frozen loaves, you can save over half of what some local stores charge. The other advan­tage is that you can get some of Dave’s low pro­duc­tion good­ies that are nor­mally only avail­able at the farmer’s mar­kets, such as the infa­mous Cinn-dawg or these yummy look­ing Good Seed hoagie rolls.

daves good seed

I replen­ished our bread sup­ply and came home with my loot from Bobs.

Bob's loot

Wheat and spelt berries for the Vita-Mix, spelt flour, mil­let flour, bar­ley flour and some reg­u­lar all-purpose flour. I also picked up tapi­coa pearls to make some long-awaited pud­ding (I haven’t had tapi­oca pud­ding in prob­a­bly 6–7 years!) and semolina flour to make some home­made pasta. Before I got on this whole can­ning kick, my orig­i­nal sum­mer project was to make home­made pasta noo­dles, so I picked up a very rea­son­ably priced pasta maker as well. A packet of sour­dough starter and some (not pic­tured) evap­o­rated cane juice rounded out my purchases.

Whether you call Port­land home or are just pass­ing through, it’s worth the trip to the big red barn to fill up your pantry and your tummy with all sorts of whole­some goodness.

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12 Responses to a baker’s tour of portland

  1. jumbleberryjam says:

    Time to pass thru again! Any dis­counts, or is every­thing full retail?

    • Kris says:

      It’s not dis­counted, per say, but it’s cheaper than the reg­u­lar stores because you’re buy­ing it direct. And if you buy a box with 4 of the reg­u­lar sized bags it’s 10% off as well. I have always been happy with the prices.

  2. Andrea says:

    Sounds like a field trip I’ll have to make some day.

  3. Vijita says:

    really really really cov­et­ing Dave’s Killer Bread! Nice post. Oh, silly Port­land and your ridicu­lous vegan-friendliness!

  4. jessy says:

    wow! i had no idea port­land offered so much for bak­ers & lovers of bak­ing, too! we make a loaf of dave’s killer whole wheat bread every week for dan’s sam­mies, and i love bob’s gluten-free flours for my gluten-free yum­mies! i think i too could get lost for hours in bob’s! so awesome!

  5. Josiane says:

    You really have it all! I really must plan a trip to Portland!

  6. tekuno says:

    I have never had Dave’s Killer Bread, but I do enjoy bread from Gabrielle’s Bakery…have you had it? I usu­ally buy it at the farmer’s mar­ket down­town but they have it in most stores around here. The quinoa bread is the best sliced bread I’ve ever tasted.

  7. Courtney says:

    How cool is that?! I never real­ized that Bob’s Red Mill was in OR! I am super jealous…it is even bet­ter than hav­ing French Meadow right down the street from you :-)

    Oh! Are you going to use that recipe for your tapi­oca? Will you post on your results? I have been eying that recipe for a while too…or if you come up with a recipe, I would love to see that too!


  8. celine says:

    I had big plans of going there, alas.
    and I rec­og­nize the DKB! it was so tasty. it was so DAMN tasty, VEGAN. hardy-har. ahem…

  9. shellyfish says:

    That was fun — felt like I just went on a lit­tle trip with you!

  10. Vegetation says:

    OMG! Can you say JEALOUS!!! I want a Bobs Red Mill!!!!!!! (I’ll take an awe­some vegan bak­ery while I’m at it too :D)