Muddy Fork Bakery is owned by bakers Eric Schedler and Katie Zukof. We started baking in 2010 out of our house, shortly after Indiana passed a new home-based vendor law. We vended at the Bloomington Winter Farmers Market, making a 10-week commitment, filling a niche for a small, artisan baking operation. We had recently purchased 5 acres of undeveloped land in northern Monroe county, and as the business took off, decided to build our bakery on the property. By August 2010, the first wood-fired oven was completed and we began baking in our new bakery.
At the beginning we had no equipment and made bread in the most rustic way possible, mixing dough by hand, chopping wood and burning it in the oven, and doing all the work ourselves.
In 2011 we obtained a food license for our bakery and began selling to the local co-op grocery, Bloomingfoods, and expanded our offerings at the farmers’ markets to include ready-to-eat foods such as pizza and drinks. In 2012 we hired our first employee to help with our growing granola production.
In 2013 we completed construction of a house on the same property, 100 yards up the hill from our bakery.
On March 21, 2014 in the middle of the night our bakery burned to the ground. For about 6 months we moved our granola production to a rented space and came to farmers’ market with a limited selection of products. Thanks in part to the enormous generosity of our community, we were able to rebuild quickly, and on September 13, 2014 resumed production of our breads in a new, larger bakery with a new wood-fired oven.
We have a weekly rhythm to our work. Thursday is a day for firing the oven, milling whole-grain flours, making dough for the pastries, and doing other prep work. Fridays Eric leads a team of bakers mixing and shaping loaves and croissants. Overnight we bake breads for many hours, and as the heat dips, pastries follow. Fresh breads and warm pastries are loaded up for farmers’ market and deliveries early Saturday. On Sundays we and the oven begin our rest. Wednesdays we are back in the bakery for granola making, capturing some of the leftover heat stored in the masonry of the oven, before heating the oven again on Thursdays.
As bakers we are mostly self-taught. We learned from experience, from books, from bakery visits, and from tireless experimentation, record-keeping, evaluation and reflection.
While we are not baking, we are busy raising our two daughters, Leda and Ruth, dancing and playing music, tending our greenhouse vegetable garden, and planning for the future. Eric is a professional piano and accordion player who regularly plays for contradances, festivals, weddings and special events throughout the United States. We hope in the coming years to establish a berry patch to supply our bakery and our household year round.