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The North Bend Eagle


Wackadoo bread
Al Ott started baking bread for friends last winter and has turned it into a business.

Morse Bluff aire lends flavor to Wackadoo breads

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 8/18/10

San Francisco sourdough bread is made from yeast grown in the air of San Francisco. Morse Bluff sourdough bread comes from yeast grown in the air of Morse Bluff.

“If you have real discerning taste buds you’ll be able to tell the difference,” Alvertus “Al” Ott said.

Ott has been growing her Morse Bluff sourdough starter for more than six plus now. She uses it to make sourdough bread, one of her offerings of her upstart company, Wackadoo Bread Company.

There is also farmland oatmeal, cinnamon raisin, jalapeno cheddar, stollen, challah, black olive/asiago pugliese, German potato, and ciabatta breads on her order form.
It all started eight years ago when Ott took an artisen bread class at Metropolitan Community College.

“I learned a lot about the workings of bread, the science of bread making,” Ott said.

As a child she made bread with her mother, but this was something different.

“Artisan bread is crafted, rather than mass produced,” Ott said. “It is baked in small batches rather than on a vast assembly line, with the return to the fundamentals of the age-old bread-making tradition. Artisan bread uses no preservatives or artificial additives of any kind. Flavor is enhanced by natural ingredients only.”

At first Ott would make the bread and give it away. But soon friends insisted upon paying her for the bread, so her gifts became a business. The name just came from a gag name the Otts had given their gifts years earlier.

“I’m the ‘wack’ and she’s the ‘doo,’” husband Butch Ott said.

Using notes from her class, and two other books, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart and Baking Bread - Old and New Traditions by Beth Hensperger, Ott worked on her bread making skills.

“I am always putting together recipes,” Ott said. “I like feedback from my customers so I know what is good and what can be improved.”

All of Ott’s breads are yeast breads. She said her goal it to have four or five great breads. She is really excited about her stollen, a Christmas bread.

“It’s is a wonderful bread,” Ott said, “with dried fruit (soaked in Butch’s peppermint schnapps), eggs, sugar, flour, with a coating of powered sugar that soaks in.”

Ott said that she is happy with the size of her business for now. She does plan on advertising at Christmas and making more of the of the stollen bread.

“It takes me two days to make the bread,” Ott said. “That is about all I want to do. I start at 6 a.m. making four kinds of bread each week.”

It is a family effort. Butch does the delivery. He is also her best customer, enjoying her oatmeal bread as necessitated by his health. Daughter Tracy Swanson works at a printing shop and does the labels and business-ordering cards. Other family members enjoy being testers on her new recipes.

Together the Otts work their mini-farm, 40 acres they own south of Morse Bluff.

They have egg-laying chickens, beef, market lambs and three llamas, who aren’t good for anything, they say. They have lived in the area for 20 years and have become active participants in the community, Butch with veterans’ activities and Al with her baking and quilting.

“We’re dong it for the love of the task,” Ott said. “The biggest joy is from those who like it - the feedback is what keeps me going.”

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