Tabor Bread, Portland baker Tissa Stein’s bakery, has been a wonderland of sourdough breads and pastries for more than a decade. Heavily influenced by California’s blacksmith-meets-baker Alan Scott, Stein built her bakery around a wood-fired oven and stone mill, grinding Oregon-grown grains for house flours and doughs. At the time, finding an all-sourdough bakery with all house-milled flours was unheard of in Portland; as a result, it became an all-star in Portland’s bakery legacy.
While the bakery is still one of the city’s finest, Tabor Bread has changed significantly compared to its early days. The bakery still sources Oregon and Washington flours, but they let the folks at Camas Country and Cairnspring Mills stone-mill the flour themselves. After the 2021 heat wave, Stein retired the wood-fired oven, also concerned about the environmental impact. Late last year, the bakery left its original digs on Hawthorne, now running a storefront on Belmont. And, as Portland Monthly reports, Stein has retired, leaving the business to baker Rebecca Tosdevin.
In an interview with PoMo’s Katherine Chew Hamilton, Stein attributed her decision to retire to the necessities of running a business with the scale of Tabor Bread. “I’m going to be 75, and the stamina to run a business like that, it wasn’t something I was going to have forever,” Stein told Hamilton.
Tosdevin worked at places like Santa Monica’s Milo and Olive and essential Los Angeles bread bakery Lodge Bread; she started working for Tabor Bread to explore her passion for whole grain baking. As she settles into the new space, Tosdevin hopes to introduce dinner service and a market space within the bakery, which will use electric deck ovens for its breads and pastries.
When it comes to identifying Portland’s most influential bakers, a few names immediately come to mind. Kim Boyce, the owner of groundbreaking whole grain bakery Bakeshop. Ken Forkish, the now-retired restaurateur behind both Ken’s Artisan Bakery and Pizza, celebrated for his bread-baking. Cheryl Wakerhauser, a trailblazing Portland patissiere and now-retired owner of Pix Patisserie. And, of course, Stein, the slow-fermentation stunner, who got Portlanders to eat whole-grain sourdough before it was cool. Considering the proliferation of sourdough pizzerias, pastry shops, bagel and bialy pop-ups around Portland today, Stein’s legacy has been solidified, even as she departs the bakery she founded.
Tabor Bread is now located at 4438 SE Belmont Street.