Forget Weird—A New Artisan Rye Keeps Portland Regular

Nick Burger is a baker on a mission... and yes, that mission may involve your bowels.

By Tuck Woodstock January 7, 2015

Image courtesy Nick Burger

Working grueling line cook shifts at Luce, Nick Burger struggled to find food that would sustain him through a shift without weighing him down. The Ken’s Artisan and Apizza Scholls alum began baking traditional European rye at home using a German family recipe, and found that two nutrient-dense slices kept him full and light on his feet for a five-hour shift—no espresso required. Reveling in his discovery, Burger rented space in the Hogan’s Goat commercial kitchen, launched his own brand, and charted course for a rye revolution. 

“For thousands of years, bread was food, and now we use bread to put food on,” Burger explained. “My goal is to change that—and to change branding for bread. The bread aisle is usually the most boring aisle in the supermarket.”

Burger’s branding certainly isn’t boring. Both the name, “Regular Portland Bread,” and the logo, which features arrows pointing to a stick figure’s bowels, draw attention to the fiber-rich bread’s use as a digestive aid. So is it scatological humor or straight-faced constipation solution? As it turns out, a bit of both.

“I get lots of laughs, but more importantly, nurses and doctors and nutritionists love this approach and want this message to get out there,” Burger said. “Doctors give me a thumbs up because nobody knows what to eat, and putting this out there could help a lot of people.” 

The bread has other health benefits as well: each whole grain loaf contains a quarter-cup of Omega-3-rich flaxseed, protein-packed wheat bran, mineral-rich sunflower seeds, and blood sugar-friendly rye flakes.

“Typically, you see the bread covered in seeds and think,  ‘Wow, that’s a really healthy bread!’” said Burger. “I load my bread from the inside with good stuff.”

Launched last June, Regular Portland Bread is already a hit at local retailers like New Seasons Market. Burger hopes to expand to coffee shops, where slices of nutritious bread would provide a sharp counterpoint with the traditional sugar-loaded strudels. Already healthy and regular? That shouldn’t stop you from picking up a loaf anyway. Defying all health food stereotypes, this bread is not only fiber-rich and healthful, but super tasty, too.

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