Pearl bakery fermentation bread shelf

I Found a Pearl in Portland: Day 82, 83 and 84

Delicious, crusty and full of aroma. The bread I received from Pearl Bakery had a great texture and was bursting with flavor. This is probably due to their different leavening methods and preferments that extends their fermentation and provides each variety of bread its own unique flavor. Pearl Bakery’s breads are made only with unbleached wheat flour, water, sea salt, and sometimes yeast. They do not add preservatives or dough conditioners. I examined their fermentation methods and these were what I learned.

Pearl bakery fermentation bread shelf

Pearl bakery’s shelf is stuffed daily with a large variety of crusty artisan breads.


Pearl bakery uses a Poolish that is a liquid, yeast-based starter that is allowed to ferment for 16-24 hours before being mixed into dough. This starter imparts a nutty, rich aroma, crisp crust and soft, open crumb. Breads like their baguette, parisienne and ficelle use this polish.

pearl bakery fermentation levain

My delicious Wheat Levain loaf that has a sweet and smooth sour to the bite.


Some of their breads like the Wheat Levain, Walnut Levain and Pane Coli Santi are made with a special levain. Levain is a culture of flour and water in which wild yeast and flavor-producing bacteria naturally occur. This is a traditional french sourdough, with a mild, complex tang. No commercial yeast is added to these breads whose pre-ferments require daily feedings of flour and water to maintain the delicate balance between yeast and bacteria. Pearl Bakery’s Pain au Levain is characterized by a dense crumb, chewy crust, and slightly sour flavor great with cheeses and charcuterie.

pearl bakery pane coli fermentation

A crusty loaf of Pane Coli Santi.

Pugliese is their signature bread. It has enormously large holes with a delicious, chewy crust. A silky texture is created through the addition of extra virgin olive oil. Their Ciabatta is merely a smaller version of Pugliese. They also offer it in loaf that is jam-packed with kalamata olives.

Pearl bakery olive ciabatta fermentation

An olive ciabatta loaf.


Their popular Paesano is an Italian country bread leavened with a pate fermentee: a portion of yesterday’s dough that is held over to spur fermentation and enhance flavor. A mixed starter is made from a hunk of pate fermentee, water and flour. This is fermented for a number of hours before being mixed into dough. With its fine, tender crumb and thin crust, Paesano is great for sandwiches bruschetta, or alongside a bowl of pasta. This dough also makes up our famous, hand-knotted Kaiser Rolls.

peral bakery whole grain fermentation

I ate their multigrain loaf that is loaded with whole grains and seeds, and it is absolutely delicious.

The Pearl Bakery is a Portland staple. Nestled on the edge of the Pearl District near Powells City of Books, it supplies bread to well over 20 local restaurants and stores. What started as a small bakery in the late 90s has sure grown! The company is very environmentally conscious, from their packaging, to power source (pollution-free wind power) to their baking formula. Their artisan, hand crafted breads are made with organic, sustainable, local ingredients as much as possible. Probably part of the reason their products taste so good!

Here’s what I ate on Days 82, 83 and 84 of EB90:

Food  Portion Calories 
Day 82
Pearl St
Multigrain 4 slices (40g) 600
Sourdough 4 slices (40g) 500
Croissant 240
Brioche 1 bun (80g) 177
Chicken and Spanish Rice and Beans 1 C 300
Nutella 2 tbsp 200
Coconut water 2C 100
Pineapple 3 oz 41
 Total 2,158
Day 83
Pearl St
Multigrain 4 slices (40g) 600
Sourdough 4 slices (40g) 500
Ricotta 1/4 C 100
Cherries 1C 74
Nutella 2 tbsp 200
Oreo Thins 200
Hamburger and Corn on Cob 400
 Total 2,074
Day 84
Pearl St
Multigrain 5 slices (40g) 750
Sourdough 4 slices (40g) 500
Nutella 2 tbsp 200
Coconut water 2C 100
Southwest Chicken Salad 300
 Total 1,850


Sun and Sprouts: Day 33

This week again I was surprised with 2 boxes of sprouted bread from Alvarado St. Bakery. So I guess you’ll be hearing me talk a lot about them. The unique thing about Alvarado St. Bakery is that they sprout their grains and seeds all at the plant with the use of solar power.  Solar powered sprouts? Yes, I’ve found another deeply passionate baking company!

I gave Michael Girkout, Director of Marketing, a call for an interview. I wanted to learn more about how they are depending on solar power, how the red kitty Greta was in charge of food safety, and most importantly, why they are not located on Alvarado St. Hear more about this interview on Podcast #5.

Least to say, I enjoyed their sprouted onion poppy seed bagel with ricotta cheese and pesto, and had a wonderful day eating their sprouted whole wheat bread.

Fresh baked bread waiting to be sliced on a solar powered line.

Fresh baked bread waiting to be sliced on a solar powered line.


This was Greta taking her naps in between catching rodents at the bakery. Greta left the bakery in the '80s and has since passed on.

This was Greta taking her naps in between catching rodents at the bakery. Greta left the bakery in the ’80s and has since passed on.

The Alvarado St. Bakery logo with Greta on it.

The Alvarado St. Bakery logo with Greta on it.

Here’s what I ate on Day 33 of EB90:

Food Portion Calories
Alvarado St. Bakery® Sprouted whole wheat 10 slices (38g) 900
Alvarado St. Bakery® Onion Poppy Seed Bagel 1 Bagel (95g) 250
Ricotta Cheese 1/4 C 100
Orange 1 orange 45
Homemade Pesto 1 Tbsp 80
Sugar Free Strawberry Jam 2 Tbsp 160
Steamed Broccoli 1C 35
Butter 1 Tbsp 100
Pan Fried Chicken 113g 230
Almond and cashew nut butter 2 Tbsp 190
Apple 1 95
Orange 1 orange 81
Coconut water 2 C 100
Calcium Supp
Bike -200
Total 2121


gluten free - eat bread 90

Why Gluten-Free? Day 30

Smart Flour Foods, Franz Gluten-Free, and Saratoga Bakery sent in their gluten free breads. I’ll address the elephant in the room right this moment. I know I’ve set out this challenge to consume wheat bread products, so why am I eating gluten-free when I’m not celiac? I really had a tough time with this issue. It made sense to stick to my wheat-only bread diet. But I broke down when I got a note from a gluten-free baker, which wanted my opinion on their gluten-free bread.

gluten free - smart flour food - eat bread 90

Roasted vegetables, salami and swiss on a gluten-free Smart Flour Food® Hoagie.

You see, when I first started to build BAKERpedia, my intent was to help every baker that needed help. It is hard for me to turn my back when I get a passionate note from a baker thanking me for eating their bread. I really can’t say no to this. Therefore, I dedicate this blog to all the gluten-free bakers out there.  You are all doing well because you are putting superior tasting multigrain products out there for your gluten intolerant customers.

For that, I really want to thank you, and provide you this platform to showcase your products. Keep baking, keep growing, and I am honored to be part of your gluten-free baking journey.

Here’s what I ate on Day 30 of EB90:

Food Portion Calories
Smart Flour Foods® GF Hoagie 1 (135g) 330
Franz® GF Cinnamon Raisin 4 Slices (40) 400
Franz® GF 7 grain 3 slices (40g) 240
Saratoga® GF Bun 1 bun ( 60g) 220
Apricot Sugar-Free Jam 2 Tbsp 40
Ricotta Cheese 1/4 C 100
Philledelpia cream cheese spread 1 Tbsp 40
Nutella 2 tbsp 200
Orange 1 orange 45
Kale (cooked) 1 C 33
Salami 1oz 50
Roasted Vegetables 1 Tbsp 100
Egg 1 78
Total 1876


bakers-dough- eat bread 90, bakery

Be Passionate About What You Do: Day 24

Artesano® bread by Sarah Lee is probably one of the most favored bread here in the Pacific Northwest. It is a white bread, without a gummy texture. I can eat this toasted with butter all day. Why do I choose this bread? Mainly because I wanted to try what it feels like just to eat white bread all day. I love it. No guilt here. Just pure indulgence into my favorite food in the world, bread. White bread.

We also recorded our 4th podcast today sponsored by Manildra, co-hosted by David Deblauwe and I. Our guest was Scott Baker (yes, he is a real baker), CEO of 5 generation bakers. They make an amazing raisin swirl bread under the label Jenny Lee®. Talking to Scott really gives me hope for this industry.

Passionate Baking

His success story is about being really good at something, repeating that, and growing it by leaps and bounds. Scott is a genuine baker. He chose to be really specialized at producing one thing, and that’s raisin swirl bread. The way he broke down his process (which I feel is a really difficult process), how he cared about the quality of his bread, and how that affected his growth decisions indicated to me that he really cares about his bread. I was excited to have found a commercial baker who is successful after starting from ground zero and growing his bakery to a multi-million dollar business. Above all, I love seeing passion being rewarded. Look for this podcast on iTunes (coming soon).


“Skills are cheap, passion is priceless” – Gary Vaynerchuk

It is true, you should always be guided by your passion if you want to grow a successful bakery. This can be seen with the success stories of 5 Generation Bakers, Grand Central Baking Co., Dave’s Killer Bread and Blue Star Donuts.  If you bite into any of their products, you will feel the passion. It is what keeps your customers from coming back again and again.

Here’s what I ate on Day 23 of EB90:

Food Portion Calories
Sara Lee® Artesano 11 slices (38g) 1100
Ricotta Cheese 2 Tbsp 50
Artichoke Bruchetta spread 2 Tbsp 67
Sugar Free Strawberry Jam 4 Tbsp 80
Salami 6 Slices 180
Apricot Sugar-Free Jam 2 Tbsp 40
Dickinson’s® Lemon Curd 2 Tbsp 120
Orange 1 orange 45
Nutella 2 tbsp 200
Tilamook Butter (Salted) 1 Tbsp 100
Kale Soup 1 C 48
Marie Biscuits 10 pieces 150
Banana 1 105
Calcium Supp
Bike -300
Total 1985


toast-raisin-eat bread 90

Raisins and Water: Day 9

Klosterman Organic Raisin Bread.

Klosterman Organic Raisin Bread.

The pain in my finger seems like a distant memory, now that I drink at least 8 cups of water a day. Hydration is key.

While I continue to keep a close eye on my sodium intake by not consuming too much deli meats, I try to stay away from high sodium spreads like cream cheese and peanut butter as well. Over the last two days, I realized that if I stayed away from sodium, I replaced it with sugar instead.  This is not easy. Sugar-free jam, you’re my next best friend.

The fruit breads do not have as much sodium as their non-fruity counterparts. So I had no problem eating buttered raisin toast all day. Good raisin bread is best eaten this way, and the Klosterman’s brand had so much raisins in it, it tasted so good! I could have eaten the whole loaf itself, but I had to pace myself.

Buttered Raisin Toast from Klosterman's.

Buttered Raisin Toast from Klosterman’s.

I also had to watch my sugar, so I had to eat half a loaf of the Organic whole wheat. This paired well with the savory items I had on my menu today like the tri tip steak. Thanks to my friends at Klosterman’s, this day was very enjoyable! I love your raisin bread!

Caramelized onions and steak sandwich on whole wheat bread.

Caramelized onions and steak sandwich on Klosterman’s whole wheat bread.

Here’s what I ate on Day 9 of EB90:

Food Portion Calories
Klosterman’s Organic Raisin Bread 6 slices (40g) 660
Klosterman’a 100% Organic whole wheat 6 slices (40g) 600
Tillamook® Salted Butter 2 Tbsp 200
Almond Breeze® chocolate almond milk 1 C 40
Steak 3oz 158
Ham 1oz 30
Salami 1oz 50
Brussel sprouts 38
Squash soup 1 C 20
Flan 200
Papaya 1C 67
Total 2063


whole wheat bread- eat bread 90-gluten myth-blood sugar-diet

Setting the Gluten Myth Straight: Day 4

I have met many concerned individuals these days. Some of them keep telling me the gluten myth: if I consume to much, I’ll develop an allergy. Really guys, if you studied my numbers, the amount of gluten (which is protein) in a pound of bread would be no more than 68g or about 2oz.

That is much less protein than a beef patty in a hamburger. Proteins are made of amino acids, and they all get digested the same way. I believe the likelihood of me developing celiac disease from eating 2oz of gluten every day is slim to none. So that deals with one gluten myth.


Klosterman Whole Wheat Organic_gluten myth

Organic 100% Whole Wheat from Klosterman Organic Bakery

The gluten myth aside…

Someone asked me yesterday if I felt hungry during the day, since bread is known to cause spikes in blood sugar levels. I explained to that person that I had to eat at least a slice of bread every hour. So no, my body will never have that opportunity to be hungry.

This is because my blood sugar will not rise or fall since I am eating all the time. Was that part of my intelligent eating strategy? No. As I said, my strategy is simple: eat bread regularly all throughout the day so that I don’t suffer in the evening stuffing my face.

Today, I opened a loaf of Organic 100% Whole Wheat from Klosterman Organic Bakery.  It is a tasty whole wheat, with a great aroma. Compared to many other breads, this bread was much lower in sugar and sodium. That is a great plus in my books. Why? Because I can plaster on more spreads, silly! No, I’m really kidding. I had to actually stop myself from putting on more spreads because my caloric count would be compromised. This is a bread diet, not a jams and spreads diet.


bread with curry-eat bread 90_gluten myth

Curry with my bread.

This bread was such a versatile bread, it went well with curry. I enjoyed my curry tonight, but I don’t think I will do it soon again because the fat from the coconut milk in the curry took away from my total calorie count.  “But coconut fat is good for you…” ladies and gentlemen, fat is fat in my books. I’ve heard people commenting that avocado and coconut fat is superior to other fats. What is the source of that B******?

If you’re measuring and comparing the quality of fat, you are consuming too much fat.

Fat should be consumed in small amounts, regardless of source. Yes, I’d rather eat lard than coconut fat, but that’s another conversation for another day. No more curry for the next 86 days please.

Here’s what I ate on Day 4 of EB90:

Food Portion Calories
Klosterman 100% Whole Wheat Bread 11 slices 1100
Weight Watchers Whipped Cream Cheese Spread 1 Tbsp 30
Almond Breeze Chocolate Almond Milk 1 Cup 100
Boar’s Head Smoked Ham 2 oz 60
Nutella 2 tbsp 200
Kale (cooked) 1 C 33
Strawberries 1C 47
Caramels 2 100
Curry 1 C 400
Orange 1 orange 45
Calcium Supp
Walk -152
Total 1963