When you head to Dos Hermanos Bakery, a cheery wholesale bread operation on North Williams with a retail to-go counter packed with loaves and pastries, you’d be forgiven for a jolt of déjà vu. It still pretty much looks like its predecessor Philippe’s Bread—same counter, same lineup of yeasty goods. But then you spy a flat dough packet marked hojaldra in the case. It’s a square of laminated pastry layered with savory toppings like ham, cheese, and jalapeños, then more flaky dough, then lavished with sugar before it goes in the oven. The result is a spicy, crunchy, cheesy, caramel-bubbly hand pie that messes savory and sweet taste receptors in the best way possible. Most other breakfast treats taste like wallpaper in comparison. “It’s a Yucatán thing,” says co-owner Gabriel Azcorra, who grew up in Mérida, Mexico. “I don’t think anybody else in Portland makes it right now.”
To clear up confusion: Dos Hermanos is run by Gabriel and, yes, his brother, Josue Azcorra, a pair of local bread vets who managed artisan old schooler Delphina’s for nearly a decade, baking for biggies like Trader Joe’s and Costco. As mentioned by Eater PDX, these are the same guys who’ve actually been running Philippe’s for the past year, churning out wholesale orders for restaurants like Lardo, Pastrami Zombie, and Loyal Legion, among others.
Philippe’s was originally a collaboration between French baker Philippe Garcia and local restaurant group ChefStable, which wanted a wholesale baking arm for its constellation of eateries. Garcia departed in late 2016 and the Azcorras took over in February 2017. The two slowly introduced intensely spiced breads and Mexican-inspired pastries through the past year, transforming Philippe's into a true neighborhood bakery in the process (sugar cookies for the kids included). In early 2018, the pair officially became Philippe’s owners alongside ChefStable head Kurt Huffman, and debuted the bakery’s new name—a nod to their roots in the Yucatán.
Another note: There are actually cinco (Azcorra) hermanos in Portland. “But there’s just two of us running this bakery,” Azcorra explains with a laugh. “Another of our brothers is at Grand Central Bakery. And our dad helps out here, delivering bread.”
That bread is worth ordering. There are ciabatta, sandwich-style loaves, and bolillo rolls aplenty, but the house champ remains the baguette: a maxi-crunch tube of sour-tanged greatness with a nice chewy center. The plain baguette is great, but the lardon baguette ought to be your standby, its moist, stretchy interior flecked with bacon and herbs (the Azcorra version amps up the basil and oregano). It tastes equally good layered with ham and butter or eaten unadorned, torn directly from its paper sleeve to devour while driving (not that I’ve done this). Keep an eye out for special breads every weekend, like a polcan baguette teeming with beans, onion, and habanero that pops with rumbly heat and creamy earthiness. It’s weirdly wonderful.
Sandwiches are respectable, from chicken chorizo to meatball, but, really, fillings don’t matter, the bread’s the thing. The veggie sandwich has got a melange of roasty, herby squash, eggplant, and goat cheese that squishes down into a nice tapenade, and there's a straight-ahead salami layered with provolone, basil, and tomato.
Breakfast offerings could become a regular habit, especially that hojaldra and a great McMuffin-y breakfast sandwich on a proper house English muffin, stacked high with bacon and a nice little peppery egg puck.
Pastries are more of a mixed bag, lumbering from over-poofed croissants lacking in buttery flake to dry poppyseed scones, saved by a coconut glaze laden with quality hunks of crystallized ginger. Nab the mellow, properly salty-sweet coffee cake or the house’s killer pineapple Danish—super smooth, tangy cheese dotted with pineapple on tender pastry crust, all drizzled with icing.
The Azcorras hope to keep growing the bakery this year, aiming for bigger accounts like New Seasons. But the pair also looks forward to taking more chances with their breads, noting that they're willing to take on special requests from local chefs that a larger scale bakery might balk at. “If someone has a crazy idea for a bread they want, we’re happy to try it out,” Azcorra says.
“Sometimes families have problems, but me and my brother—we’re happy working together. That’s why our logo is two hands,” he says, pointing proudly to a sign bearing a pair of clasped hands. “We are together forever, always, me and my brother.”