Name of business: Kneady Wife Bread Co.
Type of business: Home bakery
Location: Turlock; @kneadwifebreadco on Instagram
Hours: Accepts orders weekly; menu posted on Sundays
Contact information: 209-277-0109; firstname.lastname@example.org
Specialty: Sourdough loaves
History of business:
Nearly two years ago, Turlock resident and stay-at-home mom Megan Olson decided she wanted to try baking a loaf of bread to go with dinner. Little did she know, that one loaf would lead to her own business run from the comfort of her kitchen.
Kneady Wife Bread Co. was formed shortly after, when Olson’s friends and family tried the bread she had baked and decided they wanted more for themselves. Soon, word began to spread quicker than butter on a hot slice of sourdough. Olson now makes up to 150 loaves per week and has customers throughout the 209 area code, providing fresh-baked goods to not only Turlock but communities like Hilmar, Hughson and Oakdale as well.
Olson takes bread orders on Facebook and Instagram, where she posts menu information and details about upcoming pop-up shops she plans on attending. Online orders are typically picked up by customers from Olson’s Turlock home, and those who purchase from her in person at vendor fairs have to get there early since she usually sells out in under two hours.
“I’ve always loved to bake and cook,” Olson said. “I like feeding people and love seeing what they make with my bread.”
Olson’s menu has grown from simple, sourdough loaves to now include offerings like bread bowls, bagels and even specialty breads, like jalapeño cheddar and cinnamon swirl. She learned how to bake bread from a book, she said, and even purchased an additional kitchen oven in order to make more bread for customers — though even with the extra space she can still only bake six loaves at a time.
While Olson hopes to eventually be able to purchase a larger bread oven, for now she makes due by waking up at 3 a.m. the morning before a pop-up shop or order drop and baking until 11 p.m.
“It’s an all-day process to make bread,” she said.
To make sourdough bread, Olson has what’s known as a “starter,” which she consistently “feeds” water and flour. She has had the same starter since she first started baking bread, and the substance requires constant attention or else it will die. Olson’s starter even accompanied her on a trip to Disneyland.
“It’s like another child to us,” she laughed. “We always joke that it should be in our family photos.”
While Olson’s starter has remained a constant in her life, the success of her business has shifted rapidly. Although many locals took up bread baking as a hobby during the pandemic and made it almost impossible to find the ingredients and supplies she needed to stay afloat, she says her business has now nearly tripled over the last year.
“I think people realized how much work actually goes into making bread,” she said.
For now, Olson has no aspirations to open a brick-and-mortar shop for Kneady Wife Bread Co. She’s able to stay at home with her children thanks to her in-kitchen business and inspires others who have thought about opening their own businesses during the pandemic to chase their dreams because in the end, it’s worth it.
“As I become more and more successful, I do doubt myself but anyone can do it. You have to get up early and stay up late, but it’s possible,” Olson said. “The best part has been meeting my customers and creating friendships, and chatting it up while our kids run around in the front yard when they come to pick up their bread. I’ve made some really great friends out of it. That’s my favorite part.”
Kneady Wife Bread Co. is just one of several bakers featured in the upcoming February/March issue of 209 Magazine, out next month.