A Stuart woman sells baked goods with a membership to Otto’s Bread Club

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STUART – The coronavirus pandemic has prompted many home bakers to take up the baking challenge, but not Jackie Vitale.

The Martin County native had been cooking for many years before. Instead, COVID-19 pushed Vitale to become a breadwinner, starting a new subscription bakery business.

Otto’s Bread Club debuted in April and is run from the Stuart House in downtown Vitale, offering handmade baked goods such as bread, cookies, biscuits and more.

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Jackie Vitale is making portions of sourdough sourdough to mix into bread dough in the kitchen of her Stuart home on Tuesday, October 5, 2021. During the coronavirus pandemic, Vitale started a subscription bakery business, Otto's Bread Club, which allows customers to choose products specific to their needs.  In addition to standard breads, cookies, and sourdough cookies, customers also have the option of adding bagels, granola, and handmade pies to their order.

“It’s a handcrafted product, compared to something that’s made in a factory and filled with a lot of preservatives,” said Vitale, 34, a South Fork High School graduate. “It’s so good and the texture is wonderful.… There are a lot of things that set it apart. It’s a whole different experience, I think, for people who have never eaten bread like this before. . “

Vitale keeps her dough recipe simple, she said, using only the necessary ingredients: flour, water, salt and microbes, which are needed for fermentation.

The flour, which is imported from a stone mill in North Carolina, is whole-grain, easier to digest and tastier than mass-produced breads, she said. All products used by Vitale are organic and come from regional or local suppliers, such as Hani Honey Co. to Stuart and Sutton Milk dairy farm in Okeechobee, she said.

“Supporting other local producers and regional producers, for me, is the best way to have a healthy food system,” said Vitale, who cooks on her own. “It’s very difficult to compete in a convenience, one-stop-shop food economy, even if your product is great. “

Jackie Vitale had been baking bread for several years.  So in April, she launched a subscription bakery, Otto's Bread Club, in the kitchen of her Stuart home.  All the products used are organic and come from regional or local vendors.  The flour used by Vitale comes from a stone mill in North Carolina and is whole grain.

Otto’s Bread Club Bakery Menu

Bakery products which are still available include:

  • Biscuits
  • Biscuits: Flavors change weekly and include Snickerdoodle, Pistachio Oats and Chewy Chai Molasses
  • Sourdough breads: Homemade blue bread, rye with seeds, oat sandwich or garlic and herb focaccia.

There are also a variety of “extra” options each week, including a bread of the week, bagels, granola, or hand pies.

Vitale, former co-owner Ground floor farmhouse in Stuart, sold the business in 2019 and found itself unemployed about a year later due to COVID-19, she said. Starting a subscription bakery had always been a dream, so Vitale got to work.

Today, Otto’s Bread Club – named after Vitale’s father – now has around 40 members, Vitale said, and she spends 16-20 hours making weekly products to order.

Bread Subscription Rates

Subscriptions include:

  • One article per week: From $ 5
  • Two articles per week: $ 12
  • Three articles per week: $ 19
  • Bi-monthly: $ 24
  • Monthly baker’s choice: $ 30

Bakery products can also be ordered à la carte. The prices vary.

Members can customize orders each week and special accommodations can be made for people with food allergies or dietary restrictions. Orders must be placed before noon on Monday and picked up at Vitale’s home on Wednesday afternoon.

The best part so far, said Vitale, has been the manual labor behind cooking food for others and promoting a sense of community.

“There’s that relationship where you get to really know these people, and feeding someone for me is very nourishing,” said Vitale.

Jackie Vitale (right) interacts with the client of the old farmhouse on the ground floor in November 2016 in Stuart.  The farm hosted a farmers market featuring baked goods from Vitale.  The urban farm was sold to Colab Farms and is renamed Colab Kitchen.

Otto’s Bread Club

Catie Wegman is TCPalm’s community and real estate reporter. You can follow Catie on Twitter @Catie_Wegman, on Facebook @ catiewegman1 and send him an email [email protected]

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