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This Cle Elum oven has never cooled in 112 years

The bread is always fresh, but it's been baking for more than a century.
Credit: KIN 5
Ivan Osmonovich uses a 112-year-old oven to bake bread at the Cle Elum Bakery.

CLE ELUM, Wash. — EDITOR'S NOTE: The above video originally aired in October 2018.

The bakers rise early so the dough can, too.

"I'll wake up about 1:15 or 1:30 a.m. and be here by 2:00," said Nick Osmonovich, a baker at the Cle Elum Bakery.

It's been that way here in central Washington for more than 100 years. The big brick oven at the bakery was first fired up in 1906. If you were to cut the gas supply, it would take days to lose its heat and it never has. Not once in 112 years.

"It's never cooled down," said Nick's dad, Ivan Osmonovich, the bakery's owner.

Ivan keeps on cooking, too. He started working here at the age of five.

"Cookie tester," he joked about his earliest job.

He took over the bakery when he was 20, just after his father passed away.

"We've rearranged a few things, but not much," he said.

Now Ivan, his wife Claudia and their son, Nick, run the family business together. Like clockwork.

"We call it the dance," Ivan said. "We each know what the other person's gonna do. I don't think we've ever argued, have we?" he asked Nick.

"No, we've got it pretty good," Nick responded. "Gotta see him the next day, so why stir the pot?" he laughed.

Every week, they create hundreds of perfect pies, lovely loaves, and palatable pastries.

"Donuts, cookies, danish," Claudia said.

They do it using original equipment, such as bread pans that Ivan's dad worked with back in the middle of the last century.

"Oh, they're probably 70, 80 years old," Ivan said.

Half of the bakery's customers are just passing through town, making a quick pit stop off the I-90 exit. The rest never plan to leave. For both customers and owners, this place is a habit that can't be broken.

"There's just a lot of history here," Nick said.

He briefly considered breaking the chain and setting off on his own.

"It's a tough lifestyle," Nick said. "Living in a small town, working odd hours."

But something keeps drawing him back.

"It's in my blood. Three generations."

It could be the pull of this special place in this little town, and the warm embrace of a very sweet family.

"You feel good," Claudia said. "Even though we're dead tired at the end of the day, it's a good feeling to know that we're making people happy."

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