Not in my Job Description: Lyrical Baker
If you've seen a play in Bolton Theater any time over the past nineteen years, you've gotten a taste of Andrew Reinert's talent. An associate professor of drama, he's the stage designer, creating a visual landscape for every faculty-directed production. But local audiences have also come to know the Reinert aesthetic through his extracurricular vocation as an artisanal baker, who sells delectable breads and pastries—and advertises them on Kenyon's e-mail network with rich confections of prose.
"I call myself a bread evangelist," says Reinert. "I'm stamping out Wonder Bread, one loaf at a time."
Several times a week, he stays up late baking, drawing on a repertoire that includes sourdough boules and rolls, ciabatta loaves, pains de campagne, baguettes flavored with blue cheese and walnuts, apricot and currant scones, herb-encrusted fougasses, and brioches filled with chocolate and almond paste. They sell out at the Village Market and, during the summer and early fall, at the Saturday farmers' market in Mount Vernon. Occasionally, Reinert also sets up a table on Middle Path.
Reinert has adapted his recipes from classics and uses top-notch ingredients, including his own sourdough starter and eggs from his own pampered hens. (The eggs, also for sale, are another, equally evangelical-lyrical story.)
His e-mail ads enthuse, extravagantly. He describes his cinnamon rolls as "sublime, chic, and perfectly golden spirals of buttery brioche dough ... glazed with home-made vanilla fondant—you can catch the sharp, warm fragrance of cinnamon and the heart-stopping scent of vanilla right through the bag." These are not, he says, "the grotesque, over-sized, under-baked, grub-like blobs sold by pimply clerks in shopping mall kiosks ... Bad cinnamon rolls come coated in a vinyl-like topping reminiscent of old shower curtains."
The prose springs from his passion for the bread, he says. "I see it when it's nothing but promise, and then I see the metamorphosis. As a baker, you transform humble ingredients into something gorgeous that you can eat." The e-mails "express my affection. They're love letters, addressed, really, to the bread."