Those who frequent the farmers’ markets in Corvallis and Albany have likely waited in line for a loaf of hot, fresh organic sourdough bread from Wild Yeast Bakery. On Saturday, November 19, April and Craig Hall Cutting moved their bread making business from their home to a physical location at 648 SW Second St. Suite 120 in downtown Corvallis.
The Hall Cuttings learned to bake as children and baked fresh bread for their two daughters growing up. In 2013, they noted the lack of local bakeries that emphasized local grains. They read Portland author Ken Forkish’s book “Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza” and decided to put their own spin on some of his recipes.
Baking in Dutch ovens, mixing bowls, and a wire rack borrowed from friends, they signed up a few neighbors for a weekly bread delivery and gradually began selling at farmers’ markets. They went from baking eight to 16, to 24, to 48, and then to 250 loaves per week.
“I said, ‘Maybe we’re bigger than I think,’” April Hall Cutting said. “So that was part of the change: we had to move.”
Before the Hall Cuttings were extraordinary, they were full-time ministers. April Hall Cutting was a pastor of United Methodist Churches in Sweet Home, Halsey and Harrisburg, and her husband was a chaplain at juvenile correctional facilities.
“It was time for a change,” recalled April Hall Cutting.
The couple signed the lease in September 2021 for the brick-and-mortar building, with the construction and design phases beginning shortly thereafter. Saturday’s soft opening provided an opportunity to work out the kinks, knead, if you will, that any new business owner goes through in the beginning.
Customers will be greeted with the familiar aroma of drip coffee and espresso and will be able to choose from a weekly rotating menu of breads. Always prioritizing local products, the naturally fermented artisan breads are made with 100% sourdough, without added yeast.
“We don’t have fluffy cinnamon rolls, we have a sourdough cinnamon roll,” said April Hall Cutting. “We don’t have a fluffy pretzel, we make traditional sourdough pretzels. People come to us for that.”
Espresso baguette, whole wheat sourdough, blueberry cardamom, and toasted pecan breads are just a few of the bakery’s fan favorites.
“Breads are all about flavor,” April Hall Cutting said. “People eat what we would call supermarket white bread, and the bread is actually tasteless. But when you start to leave most or most of the grain, you get this whole palette of flavors.”
April and Craig Hall Cutting also offer bread-making classes, where students learn how to make loaves from start to finish. Those who are available to learn the basics can sign up for a class at https://wildyeastcorvallis.com/product-category/baking-classes/.
While store hours are still finalizing, April and Craig Hall Cutting plan to open at 7am every day to catch some of the hungry morning commuters.
And they will continue to be present at farmers markets, as they now have enough employees to run both the booth and the store.
“To feed billions of people on earth, we need to use every approach we can,” April Hall Cutting said. “But if we can have the option to do it in a way that is healthier for us and for the earth, we want to do it.”
Joanna Mann (she/her) covers education for Mid-Valley Media. She can be reached at 541-812-6076 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @joanna_mann_. ___(c)2022 Corvallis Gazette-Times, Ore. Visit the Corvallis Gazette-Times, Ore. at www.gazettetimes.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.