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Bloomington Man Builds Community Bread Oven

Community bread oven

Keith Romaine says it takes an entire wheelbarrow full of wood to fire up the oven. (Seth Tackett, WFIU/WTIU News)

A Bloomington man is hoping to build a sense of community through something a lot of people love: bread.

Keith Romaine’s dream of building a community wood-fired bread oven started with a kickstarter campaign six years ago. He's spent years building a porch and landscaping his yard, in addition to building the oven from the ground up. 

Now his dream is closer to becoming reality. Romaine recently finished building the oven in his backyard and fired it up for the first time to make some test pizzas. 

Romaine says the bread oven is a place where neighbors can come together to bake, and he hopes to eventually sell some of his loaves to the public.

"The bread part I was hoping to have a CSB, a community supported bakery, where people would buy shares and maybe once a week they would get a loaf of bread," Romaine says.

He could also sell at the farmers' market or have a farm stand where he sells bread. Those are the two ways people can sell homemade food in Indiana. 

He also hopes the oven will someday become a place where people gather to share pizza. But, it wouldn't be the same experience as a restaurant. Romaine is limited by what he can offer without a commercial kitchen. 

"I would supply the dough and people would supply their own toppings," he says. 

Romaine says he needs to figure out the logistics first, so he isn’t sure how soon he could start offering his baked goods to the public. The best way to keep up with his progress is through his Facebook page

The oven is located in the McDoel Gardens neighborhood.

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