“You never think that you can have an opportunity to make a career in baking,” Micah Dahl said. “People talk about careers in medicine or teaching, but baking is what we really want to do.” Photo: Lisa Bryan, KP News

“You never think that you can have an opportunity to make a career in baking,” Micah Dahl said. “People talk about careers in medicine or teaching, but baking is what we really want to do.” Photo: Lisa Bryan, KP News

Micah and Emily Dahl became the proud new owners of 3 Clouds Bakery in August. Although they plan to take it slow, they have big dreams for their small bakery. Located in the same building as Ravensara Espresso just off the intersection of SR302 and 118th Street NW, the independent bakery has been in business since 2009.

The couple became interested in taking over the wholesale 3 Clouds Bakery following the death of its founder Joe Rudolf in May 2017. Jody Stark, Rudolf’s wife, worked to keep 3 Clouds running with the help of family and friends. But, she said, “I am a cook, not a baker. Emily and Micah really had a desire to continue Joe’s vision and they also wanted to create something of their own. I was happy to sell the bakery to them.”

Emily had come to know Rudolf well over the last decade—she began working as a barista at Ravensara as a teenager in 2004—and admired his craft.

“We bake with Joey in mind every day,” Emily said. “His love and passion for food as well as giving back to the community was strong, and we strive to keep that continuing.”

“He was a master baker and had done so much,” Micah said. “He wrote a cookbook; we have his copy and use it now. It’s like having a mentor with us, getting to know him better through his work.”

The couple works seven days a week. They arrive at 4:30 each morning, gather their thoughts with a bite to eat and a cup of coffee, and then it’s nonstop action until noon. First, they get the bread dough rising for the small baguettes baked for sandwiches. Then they make the scones using Rudolf’s recipe for blueberry scones, a signature item which, they say, is like no other. Muffins are next, with a selection of standards along with seasonal. They have cookies—oatmeal, snickerdoodles, gluten-free peanut butter, with the addition of a molasses cookie in the fall—as well as a bacon biscuit, cheddar crackers and more. By 5:30 the oven is full, by 6 the scones are coming out, and by noon their work is done for the day.

“We live the work until we get home,” Micah said, “but once we are home, it’s 100 percent family.” From noon on, their 18-month-old son Isaac is their main focus.

Emily and Micah have known each other since they were children, with a love of music and food coming through family. Micah’s dad, Peter Dahl, a bass player and Emily’s mom, Mary Alice Salciccia, a pianist (she owns Expressions Music) played music together. Both were drawn to baking through their mothers.

The two grew up on the Key Peninsula, attending different elementary and middle schools but graduating from Peninsula High. Their true connection developed when they attended Tacoma Community College.

As they have mastered the business and worked on some of their own recipes, the Dahls have begun to think about how to expand, though they want to take slow steps. Micah has a sourdough starter he wants to use and has been mastering a pizza dough. They have begun to work with Gnosh food truck. They plan to reach out to businesses that might carry their goods and hope to go to local farmers’ markets next year. Their ultimate dream is to have a larger place where they can serve customers and sell baked items from their counter.

Micah said that the shared location with Ravensara can be confusing, but noted that the businesses really are separate. “We are a wholesale bakery,” he said, “and right now we have one main customer—Ravensara.”

For now the couple plans to stay where they are and continue offering individual orders for 3 Clouds Bakery customers with 24-hour notice; their business number is 253-853-3349. They welcome feedback and suggestions. 

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