Jackie Vitale has been a cheesemaker in London, co-owner of Ground Floor Farm in downtown Stuart, and chef in residence at the Rauschenberg Residency on Captiva Island. In 2020, she founded Otto’s Bread Club, a membership-based bakery service akin to a CSA program. Membership options range from $8/week to $35/month, and special workshops are open to the public.
What prompted you to start Otto’s Bread Club?
I love cooking, fermentation, and feeding my community. As I’ve explored different areas of food production, sourdough bread baking has become my main focus. The pandemic solidified for me a desire to run a nimble business with low overhead and a lot of flexibility. Being able to operate Otto’s Bread Club out of my home has been a real gift.
Where do you source your ingredients?
I love that I get to have such an intimate relationship with our regional food economy. All the flour I use comes from one mill in North Carolina, and all the grain milled there is grown on small farms in the South. Similarly, many of the other ingredients I use come from local producers, and I obsessively source what I can’t find locally with a focus on flavor, environmental impact, and workplace ethics.
What do you love most about the process of baking bread?
So much! I really like being on my feet and working with my hands. I love the magic of transforming simple ingredients—flour, salt, and water—into something so complex. I love
collaborating with the natural world. The temperature, humidity, and mood of the microbes on any given day are always changing and impacting the baking process.