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.
Hani Honey Co.: First mead opens in Martin County
Sunny greens: Port St. Lucie woman grows up and delivers microgreens
New restaurants: Discover these 6 restaurants that have recently opened
âIt’s a handcrafted product, compared to something that’s made in a factory and filled with a lot of preservatives,â said Vitale, 34, a South Fork High School graduate. âIt’s so good and the texture is wonderful.â¦ 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.
âSupporting other local producers and regional producers, for me, is the best way to have a healthy food system,â said Vitale, who cooks on her own. âIt’s very difficult to compete in a convenience, one-stop-shop food economy, even if your product is great. “
Otto’s Bread Club Bakery Menu
Bakery products which are still available include:
- 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
- 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 Ã 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.
âThere’s that relationship where you get to really know these people, and feeding someone for me is very nourishing,â said Vitale.
Otto’s Bread Club
Read more stories from Catie, and support his work with a TCPalm subscription.