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Community Highlights: Meet Joanna Costello of Kneaded Distraction

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joanna Costello.

Hi Joanna, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I have always enjoyed being in the kitchen but mainly cooking/baking for family. I never considered it as a way to make money but that all changed in 2020. Like many people, on March 13th, 2020 I went home from work as an Event Director thinking quarantine would be a two week “vacation”…which it was NOT! After about a month and waaayyyyy too many Friends reruns, I “kneaded” something to do. At the time, social media was flooded with pictures of everyone making sourdough bread at home. I figured, how hard could that be and decided to grow a starter. Well, it is harder than YouTube makes it look and a starter definitely takes longer than two weeks. Once the kinks were worked out, I posted pictures and enlisted family and friends to be my taste testers. The responses were all the same- This is great, when can I get more? You should sell this! So I thought, why not? I came up with my name, got a logo designed and applied for my Cottage Food permit and on June 26, 2020 Kneaded Distraction was officially in business.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I have been very blessed that for the most part, it has been a smooth ride so far. My sourdough starter (her name is Marge) is the trickiest part. I am essentially working with a living creature. It has to be properly fed and cared for. The weather can affect how it functions and how the breads come out. It is possible to kill it…I did that once but fortunately, I had some backup stored in the fridge so Marge lives on!

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
I make sourdough products- bread, bagels, soft pretzels, waffles, English muffins and more! Everything is naturally leavened with my sourdough starter. No commercial yeast is used making it an easier to digest type of bread. I have several customers that have various digestive issues and are able to enjoy my products.

I began selling my sourdough products by advertising on social media…mainly through our town’s group- Fallbrook has been amazingly supportive!! I’ve also had a booth at both the Fallbrook Farmers Market and the Fenton Family Farm Stand in De Luz, as well as participated in various pop up opportunities in and around Fallbrook. Last year my friend and fellow baker, Kelly Siegler (owner of Bakin it Up) approached me with the idea of opening a storefront and invited me to participate. In August of 2021 she opened the Bakin it Up Collective bakery on Main Ave in Fallbrook and now in addition to ordering online, you can find my sourdough products there.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
Flexibility! Some days the dough rises well and bakes into delightful, fluffy loaves. Other days nothing works out right. I have definitely learned to roll with things and find creative solutions to make sure orders get fulfilled.

Contact Info:

  • Email:
  • Website:
  • Instagram: kneaded_distraction
  • Facebook: Kneaded Distraction

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