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Economy and Business


Reinecker's Bakery in Macedonia is keeping it Old World
For more than 50 years, the family-owned bakery has offered a taste of old world breads and desserts to Northeast Ohio.
by WKSU's MARK URYCKI


Senior Reporter
Mark Urycki
 
Vienna bread cooling at Reinecker's Bakery in Macedonia
Courtesy of MARK URYCKI
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In The Region:
There appears to be no shortage of specialty food joints opening up every other day around Northeast Ohio. Fancy chocolates and cupcake shops have been trendy the last couple years.

But there’s one family-owned bakery that's still strictly old school. Or maybe “Old World” is a better term. Reinecker’s Bakery in Macedonia has been baking German-style breads for more than 50 years using recipes that go back centuries.
LISTEN: Reinecker's old-school bakery

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It all started with Richard Reinecker, who moved to the U.S. from Germany in 1957 with his mother.   He had already become a master baker or “baeckermeister” in the old country.  In Cleveland, the 27-year-old began working at Sowinski’s bakery on East 82nd Street.  His daughter Caroline says she and her siblings learned the business early. 

“We were in our walkers of high chairs sitting right next to mom and dad while they were making wedding cakes or baking bread and now it’s the same here except we live behind the bakery instead of above it.” 

Reinecker bought the bakery, and in 1973 moved it to Macedonia where today, three of his five children, Rick, Caroline, and Heidi run it.

“Caroline has a degree in culinary arts, I have a degree in pastry arts and a degree in food service management, and Rick has an accounting degree.”

Their father sold to local Germans and Eastern Europeans and today it’s a favorite for military people and travelers who picked up a taste for the dense bread or poppy-seed and nut patica (strudel) in Europe. Rick says it’s not hard to market.

“People who grew up with these products…when they see it they are excited to see it so it sells itself because you can’t get it everywhere.”

Reinecker's even Fed-exes their breads, says Heidi, to fans in other states.

 “We shipped 4 nut patica to a man in Hawaii yesterday.  And the man orders 4 nut patica about every six weeks.”

The Reinecker children haven’t messed with the recipes and they keep the old German names like “vollkorn brot”  too.

Health conscious Americans may be attracted to the lack of any artificial ingredients.  The rye flour they use has more protein and less gluten than the wheat flour used in American bread. The Reineckers are still using the same active culture to produce sour dough that their father used in 1959.  Caroline calls the sponge and sour fermentation process a natural probiotic.

German machines and schedule

Step into their bakery and it looks like stepping into Germany.   Almost all the major machines from there. Even the slicing machines are German.  The ovens are Michael Wenz’s MIWE brand says Heidi, “it’s the same company my dad bought the original ovens from in Germany. He bought German ovens because that’s what he knew.  He knew Michael Wenz and he got the ovens from him. 

One curious sign you may see on some local bread aisles states “The Reineckers are on vacation.  There will be no bread for the next two weeks.” 

Rick explains “my father started that when we were very young.  He had 5 young children and he never got to spend time with his family so probably for 30 years or better we’ve been closed for two weeks in July and two weeks in January and most of our customers know that we’re going to be closed at that time and they stock up before.”

Their father’s plan from the beginning was to sell their breads to grocery stores, and today their products are available in some 200 retail stores in the region.   He died 8 years ago and their mother died last month.  Rick Reinecker says they will carry on.

“We’re as loyal to our customers as they have been to us so we’re going to keep at it as long as we can afford to and health-wise can do it. “ 

Listener Comments:

One of the best things about the Reineker's Bakery was not just the bread, but the Reineker's themselves!! I was so very blessed to have grown up visiting the Reineker family (lived in California) and they were the most loving, generous down to earth people you could ever meet! I owe my absolute addiction to bread to them!!! Lol
Thank you Reineker Family, for everything!


Posted by: Alexia (cuyahoga falls) on September 15, 2013 8:09AM
I literally grew up in the bakery alongside the Reinecker children. My father was a long-time friend and delivery driver for the Reineckers. Our home was side-by-side to the bakery and the Reinecker family. I loved listening to this story, as it brought back so many memories. I could hear the pride in their voices as they talked about their father's dedication to his life-long business. Today, you rarely hear of a family business that continues to thrive as a family. Reinecker's Bakery is a real "American Dream" story. You'll never find more delicious bakery products! Great story, Mark!


Posted by: Becky Stone U (Cuyahoga Falls, OH) on September 14, 2013 8:09AM
LOVE REINECKER'S BAKERY!!!
LOVE THE REINECKER'S!!!


Posted by: jOYCE B (MACEDONIA) on September 12, 2013 12:09PM
I used to drive from Kent to Macedonia to buy German bread from Reinecker's when I taught at Kent State. Imagine my delight when I retired, moved to Columbus, and found Reinecker's bread at Weiland's Gourmet Market (itself a local tradition). I remember how smug I felt when I had stocked up in preparation for the July hiatus, and everyone else was asking, "Where's the Reinecker's?" That was 20 years ago, and I'm still enjoying my Vollkornbrot, Bauernbrot, and European Rye. And their Russian Rye is awful, just like the stuff you get in Germany. Hooray for Reinecker's! They are truly authentic!


Posted by: Emil Sattler (Columbus, Ohio) on September 12, 2013 10:09AM
you will never find a better bread anywhere else. what do you expect from a fantastic family!


Posted by: james (parma) on September 12, 2013 8:09AM
Their beehive kuchen is to die for!


Posted by: Kim (Northfield) on September 12, 2013 3:09AM
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