Baked Goodness

Grab a Treat at Reiter’s Bakery in Red Bluff…

When Kassie and Rich Reiter left the Cottonwood area to attend the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, they had an end goal in mind. “We went to school knowing we wanted to open up our own place. We just didn’t know where or what,” says Rich. Gratefully for those in Red Bluff, the “where” appeared in the form of a historic downtown building that had a built-in kitchen. “The price was right, the location was prime and it just fell into place,” says Kassie.

Photos by Alexis Leclair

Reiter’s Bakery opened in October 2020 with the couple’s commitment to using their education to create high-quality Old World pastries that would make their world-class instructors proud. “We keep the history of the pastry alive,” says Rich, noting that they work in a European tradition focused around nine countries. “We focus on traditional methods of the way pastries were made in the country of origin,” adds Kassie. “We don’t cut corners. We don’t buy the cheaper butter. Our ingredients are all natural and we try to do local, too. We don’t use a lot of sugar. We focus on butter.”

“Downtown Red Bluff has that old, historical vibe,” says Rich. “Which goes with what we’re doing,” adds Kassie.

November and December are the high days of holiday baking, and the Reiters are adding to their pie lists and bringing out such classics as a buche de Noel, dinner rolls, divinity, fudge, Christmas cookies and more. “Thanksgiving and Christmas are our busiest times, and we just try to bring as much Christmas spirit as possible,” says Kassie.

Photos by Alexis Leclair

The festivities include a gingerbread house competition that doubles as a fundraiser for the California Highway Patrol’s toy drive for children. “Last year we thought we were going to get more kid involvement and it turned out to be 50-, 60-, 70-year-old women and the competition was fierce,” Kassie says with a laugh. “This year, we’re going to incorporate more of the schools. It’s a fun family event and it supports local children.” Gingerbread houses are on display through Christmas Eve. Cost of entry is a toy donation for the toy drive.

The couple that delights in making delectable croissants, danishes, scones, macarons, chocolates and candies can definitely laugh when they say they met at a gym and still make time to work out together. “We discovered we both like to bake,” Rich says of their fateful meeting. Kassie was taking baking courses at Shasta College before they met and looking into other programs to further her education. When love blossomed, they were ready to commit to a school together.

Photos by Alexis Leclair

“You have to have prior experience to get accepted into this school. They are very meticulous,” Kassie says of the Culinary Institute of America. “We worked under different ethnic chefs and we learned the basics. Of course, they taught us modern trends and techniques, but we really enjoyed the fundamentals.” Kassie is partial to creating the laminations that make croissants so flaky and buttery, while Rich enjoys working with chocolate. The couple hopes to add bread to their offerings but notes that it’s time-intensive and requires its own machinery. As a two-person operation, their time is already stretched.

The couple’s baking education is rounded out by extensive travel through Europe, visiting the bakeries they strive to emulate. “We want people to enjoy the pastries as they were originally designed,” Rich says. “I enjoy telling people the history of the food items — why the pastry came about, why it’s named the way it is.”

“We have an education to back us on the science of baking,” Kassie adds. “We’re educated in our field and we’re very passionate about what we offer. We try to keep it as old fashioned as possible. You come in and you get what’s fresh for the day.” Adds Rich, “On the occasion where we sell out, we close up.”

The decision to deepen their skill set by leaving to study has paid off for this North State couple who treasures the ability to apply their efforts in a community such as Red Bluff. “We enjoy it,” says Rich. “It’s nice that both of us work at the same place.”

“It feels right,” adds Kassie. “It feels like the direction we want to go and what we want to do with our lives.”•

Reiter’s Bakery • 830 Main St., Red Bluff • www.reitersbakery.com
(530) 690-2691 • Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 6:30 am-3 pm;
Saturday, 7 am to 2 pm; closed Sunday and Monday

About Melissa Mendonca

Melissa is a graduate of San Francisco State and Tulane universities. She’s a lover of airports and road trips and believes in mentoring and service to create communities everyone can enjoy. Her favorite words are rebar, wanderlust and change.

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