No gluten, a hint of taco

Fred Nicora left his corporate career to bake healthy breads in his Belgium home bakery that are not just nutritious but come in exotic flavors

FRED NICORA GETS help selling his breads and cookies from his fiance Ramona White at area farmers markets. His tattoos reflect his discovery late in life that he was adopted and his faith. Many are centered around Bible verses and his English, Scottish and Norwegian roots. Photo by Sam Arendt


Ozaukee Press staff

Scripture says “man shall not live by bread alone,” but Fred Nicora has learned through divine direction he can make a living baking and selling it.

After a plethora of professions, it was a sermon at Christ Church in Mequon that told Nicora, “you have to follow your heart, not your head.”

That, along with his job in corporate America, “really put me in a position to challenge my beliefs and even personal integrity” drove him to strike out on his own.

That was a few years ago. Fred’s Breads soon followed as a business operated in Nicora’s Town of Belgium home that caters to health-conscious customers looking to control

their diets and health conditions.

Nicora uses all-natural ingredients, offers gluten-free and vegan breads and has unique flavors such as taco.

Nicora, 63, said his own health drove some of his newfound passion. In his 50s, he fell into a sedentary lifestyle, gaining some weight and too many points on his blood pressure numbers.

“My doctor had a stern talk with me after several nudges” about going on medications, Nicora said.

“That snapped me into gear.”

He lost 60 pounds through exercise, and “I had to change the way I thought about food. I was working out a lot. I needed a lot of protein.”

Nicora always loved baking bread, but his old methods didn’t jive with his desired health goals, hence the healthy recipes.

At first, he played around with baking and selling his own bread while he held other jobs. Then he started the business near the peak of the pandemic, relying on social media and online sales.

Now he sells at farmers markets in Port Washington, Sheboygan and Thiensville.

Going out on his own has a fear factor, but Nicora is confident this is the right direction.

“I’m relying a lot on faith and having success with it,” he said.

His goal is to make nutritious breads without losing flavor. He offers the option to add extra protein in each loaf.

“People like the idea of eating healthy food but they have an emotional response to eating tasty, delicious food,” Nicora said.

He started with sweet breads such as banana and lemon, and then expanded his product line to include some exotic varieties. One of his best-selling products is taco bread, which is made with black, pinto and garbanzo beans, jalapeno peppers, cheddar cheese and avocados, along with a host of seasonings. It is moist on its own, but it would pair well with salsa, Nicora said.

He plans to offer lasagna loaf this month, and later a bread that tastes like Thanksgiving stuffing, giving people on gluten-free diets the flavor they miss.

Nicora said he his happy to appease the gluten-free crowd, especially since many of their foods are less than desirable.

“They deserve better than what they’ve got,” he said.

He has developed products for the Keto diet, and he sells homemade chocolate chip cookies with whey protein for people looking to replace high-protein breakfast bars.

He often tweaks recipes to find just the right flavor combinations while meeting the dietary standards and ensuring the bread holds together.

“I’ve eaten a lot of mistakes in the past couple of years. Literally,” Nicora said, adding they still taste good. His Akita/pit bull mix dog Duke, agrees.

“He’s had plenty of mistakes,” he said. “He will devour entire loaves.”

Nicora bakes nine loaves in the morning and nine in the afternoon in his double oven at his hobby farm. So far, he has stayed below the level that requires a commercial kitchen.

That has been just one of Nicora’s unique life experiences. He also learned he was adopted when he was 41 when a relative let it slip at a family party.

“It challenges a lot of assumptions and erodes your foundation,” he said. “To be quite honest, it did instill a fair amount of humility. It helped lead me back to a life investing in faith where I’m looking to God for help.”

He wrote a book about that experience, “Forbidden Roots,” set to be released in October.

Nicora’s careers are a story themselves. He was born in Milwaukee and grew up in Wauwatosa. He earned a degree in business management from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, then a master’s in management technology. He later earned a master’s degree in architecture from UW-Milwaukee and a teaching license from the University of Minnesota.

Nicora worked as a management engineer for health care administration and did consulting on the operational efficiency of hospitals before getting his degree in architecture.

When his wife was expecting their second child, Nicora went back to the more lucrative field of consulting, but he grew tired of the travel. He got his teaching license and taught three years in Egan, Minn., at a school where he did architecture work years before, then moved back to southeast Wisconsin and taught technical education at Cedar Grove-Belgium High School for 17 years.

After he divorced, he returned to corporate management before “coming to terms with what I really wanted to do,” he said — baking and selling bread.

He said selling at farmers markets is gratifying in that “people want to engage to figure out what I’m selling.”

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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