If you first don’t notice the delicious aroma of fresh-baked bread wafting over the northeast Portland industrial area, then surely you’ll see the giant, rotating loaf of bread atop the Franz Family Bakeries factory, a Portland institution that hasn’t changed much in 100 years, except for some of the equipment.
The tour starts with a 15-minute presentation on the Franz Family Bakeries history and some educational factoids like how yeast makes bread rise. Then everyone dons hair nets—and beard nets for some dads—for the half-hour walking portion of the tour. The kid-favorite highlights include watching gigantic batches of dough being mixed in a giant mixer; bread baking in an equally giant oven; and a “bun highway” where buns cool on a track that travels around the building before heading into the packaging room for super-fast, automated bun wrapping.
Depending on time, you may be able to stay and explore the tour room while snacking on bread and butter. Everyone gets a gift bag to take home.
The free, 30-minute tour accommodates groups of 10 to 60 people, ages 7 and up. The tour schedule follows a typical school year, from Labor Day to June. Tours fill up quickly and must be scheduled in advance. Families can piggy back on a group tour, but still must schedule in advance. This is a working bakery, so everyone must wear closed-toe, rubber-soled shoes; no heels. Also, no jewelry except plain wedding bands without diamonds. Cameras and cell phones are not permitted during the walking tour. Everyone receives a snack of bread, butter and apple juice.
To Book: Call 503-232-2191 or visit
firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a tour.
340 NE 11th St.
photo: Franz Bakery circa 1949