Sweet Tooth: Wonder Bread production facility in Waterloo - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Sweet Tooth: Wonder Bread production facility in Waterloo

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

People in downtown Waterloo often enjoy the sweet smell of cinnamon thanks to the Wonder Bread plant on Commercial Street.

Wonder Bread was started in 1921 by Taggart Baking Company. The Waterloo facility opened six years later in 1927.

Since opening, the mission is still the same, baking fresh, quality bread for customers.

"We operate seven days a week. Baking bread five days a week, and two days for sanitation and preventative maintenance of the equipment," said plant manager Todd Brown.

Waterloo specializes in cinnamon bread and raisin bread. Raisins get added to the dough, then the dough gets dumped into a bin where it comes out in rounds and takes a conveyor belt ride to get shaped in loaves and put into bread pans. Once in the pan, it's baked in a giant oven for about 20 minutes. After baking, another conveyor belt ride takes the bread out of the pan and into a cooling section. Once cooled, the bread gets sliced and bagged.

It's an incredible process that goes on 24 hours a day -- five days a week. The Waterloo plant produces between 80 and 90 loaves a minute. There are 38 Wonder Bread bakeries across the country. About 25 specialize in bread, like the Waterloo facility. But this plant is a stand out for the Wonder Bread company.

"Although it may be remotely located in Waterloo compared to some of our larger bakeries in more urban areas, this bakery is very proud. It always turns in the highest numbers as far as quality. Efficiencies are superb. It's one of the best bakeries in the country," said Brown.

Between the facility on Commercial Street and a distribution site on Newell, there are about 150 employees. Some employees are even third generation workers. It's clear, Wonder Bread in Waterloo takes a lot of pride in its work.

"We want to grow with the people, and what they want is what we want to produce that's what we're all about," said Brown.

The plant also does its part in helping out the community, providing assistance after the tornado in 2008 and sending bread to our troops in Afghanistan.

As part of its 90th anniversary, Wonder Bread is launching a "7Wonders of the USA Teacher Tour." Seven teachers will win trips around the U.S., and get 25 tablet computers for their schools. You can nominate a teacher by clicking here.

For every teacher nominated, Wonder will make a donation to "Teach for America," up to $10,000.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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