• Cake Is A Part Of Life

    An Interview with Stephanie Gasinski

    By Sara Whipple, Zingerman’s Bakehouse

    Meet Stephanie Gasinski, one of our dedicated and creative cake designers. She’s been part of the Bakehouse team for 12 years, but still remembers the details of her first day of work vividly. It was a Sunday in 2005, happened to be Mother’s Day actually. She arrived at 4am to shape and bake bread and was welcomed from the start. “I liked the training. The expectations were clear and that helped me a lot. And I liked the people. They were great people, like an instant family.”

    Stephanie’s path to the Zingerman’s was one of determination and luck. Or maybe some would call it fate. It began after graduating culinary school, while working at another bakery and then a short stint as a restaurant pastry chef. She didn’t know what was next for her, but knew she wanted to bake. So she boldly made a list of bakeries to walk in and ask if they were hiring. Zingerman’s Bakehouse was furthest away from her home, so the plan was to start there and work her way back.

    “I got lost. I came in the back door looking very confused. Todd was cleaning, but kindly took me to Amy the bread manager. I asked if they we were hiring and got an interview and tour on the spot. I felt so accomplished with my first day of job hunting I went home! A couple days later I did a trial shift with Frank and was hired.” Just like that the journey began.

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  • Steadfast Soul

    An interview with Amy Berger, 20 year Bakehouse staffer

    For Amy Berger, it all began when she was back home in Michigan for a short visit. She had been living in Alaska with her family since the early ‘90s, but decided to make a trip back home to visit her family.

    Having lived in Michigan for much of her life, she was familiar with Zingerman’s Delicatessen. But, when she left for Alaska, the Bakehouse was not yet a reality.

    During her stay in Michigan, she stopped by the Deli and visited the bread box for the very first time. She remembers buying a loaf of bread, a memory that has stayed with her over the years.

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  • Putting His Passions To Work

    “We Zingerman’s Bakehouse are passionately committed to the relentless pursuit of being the best bakery we can imagine.”

    The mission of the Bakehouse has always been twofold. Of course we are committed to making the best-tasting breads (and pastries and cakes). But we are also committed to challenging ourselves and our recipes, limiting ourselves only to our imagination.

    How do we do that? We taste and evaluate. We try new methods of baking, different ingredients. We are constantly moving. Because it’s hard to get better if you’re sitting still.

    With that in mind, let us introduce you to a new addition to our Bakehouse team- Hazim Tugun. His passion for bread baking and his long history with the craft is what led him to the Bakehouse. And here, he is putting those passions to work, helping us fine-tune recipes and try new methods of baking and continue living our commitment to excellence.

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  • Purim: The Rowdy Jewish Holiday & Time to Enjoy Hamentaschen

    As a child I went to Shabbat services twice every weekend for many years, Friday night for about an hour and Saturday morning for a good two and a half hours. Wow! That’s a lot of sitting and being quiet for a child. Practically 40 years later it’s a little difficult to remember what that young Amy thought about this and what I took from being there. I think probably each week was a little different – some day dreaming with the familiar Hebrew prayers being softly chanted in the background, some nice moments sitting with my Nanny holding her hand and leaning on her, talkative weeks when my friends and I got shooshed by the contemplative adults and plenty of face making at the boys who sat on the other side of the synagogue from us. Oh yes, and some energetic singing of the songs which marked the end of the services!  Attending services was a ritual. It structured the week and I accepted it as what we did. I don’t remember ever asking not to go. Must have been appealing in some ways.

    Celebrating Purim was a different story. It was almost like having a party in Synagogue and I remember enthusiastically anticipating it every year and vividly remember the celebrations. Purim typically lands in late winter or early spring. It celebrates the foiling of a plot to commit genocide against the Jews of Persia. Hamen was a vizier of ancient Persia who plotted to kill all the Jews in the empire. His plan was stopped by the Persian (and Jewish) queen Esther. Go Esther, hurray for a female heroine! 

    Zingerman's Bakehouse Hamentaschen Purim



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  • Off the Beaten Pastry Path

    Growing up, I remember my mom taking me to Zingerman’s Deli Next Door. They were our special mother-daughter outings. She would get her afternoon cup of coffee and I picked out a sweet treat. Usually, I went with a Funky Chunky Chocolate Chip cookie. A standard kid pick.

    That desire to pick a cookie or a brownie over something more adventurous stuck with me for quite some time. It wasn’t necessarily that I didn’t want to TRY something new, but when a big chocolate chip cookie and an unfamiliar pastry sat in front of me waiting for me to pick just one, I found myself leaning toward the cookie. Why? Well, I knew what to expect. And as silly as it sounds, there was no guarantee for the unknown.

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  • Gumption & Grilled Cheese: The Saga of Sourdough

    Better Than San Francisco?

    Now, I suppose I can start back at the beginning of the story. We have been baking Sourdough bread since we opened the Bakehouse, back in 1992. But, back then, we called it “San Francisco Sourdough,” in honor of the well known naturally leavened bread tradition out in California. Fitting, right?

    As the Bakehouse started to grow in popularity and recognition (both locally and nationally), we had our first run in with the law. A lawyer for a San Francisco company contacted us to state their opposition to us using that name. Mind you, this was almost a decade after we started baking it. Rather than mucking through any legal complications, we decided to change the name. Zingerman’s Founder Paul Saginaw only half seriously suggested to the lawyer that we’d call it “Better than San Francisco Sourdough”. Remarkably the lawyer and the company he represented were fine with that.

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  • Local Favorite, Local Flavor: MI Chestnut Baguettes

    Here at Zingerman’s Bakehouse, we have taken the phrase “eating local” to heart with the dawn of our Michigan Chestnut Baguette (among other things). The history of chestnuts at the Bakehouse goes back nearly 50 years. Bakehouse Co-Founder, Frank Carollo, has been eating chestnuts for many years. It was a common food at the holiday table for Frank as he was growing up in an Italian-American family.

    But, let’s start at the beginning of the journey- of how Frank’s history with chestnuts, his passion for local food and the exploration of Hungarian food culture led to the birth of the Chestnut Baguette.

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  • The Gateway Bread: Rustic Italian

    Growing up in Ann Arbor, I have always had really great bread right at my fingertips. Well, at least by the time I started eating bread (and having bread preferences), it has always been a short drive away at the Bakehouse.

    In fact, some of my earliest memories are of my mom, with me in tow, stopping in at Zingerman’s Delicatessen to pick up a loaf of bread. Of course then I was not nearly as adventurous, so I rarely tried the loaves of Rye and Pumpernickel and, yes, even Sourdough my mom bought.

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  • A Crazy Love: Cranberry Pecan Bread

    If there is one thing that makes my mouth water, stomach grumble and gets me thinking of the holidays… It is our Cranberry Pecan bread.

    Yes, seriously. I am a crazed, obsessed lover of cranberry pecan bread. And I know I am not alone. This bread is an absolute favorite of long-time Zingerman’s customers, as well as the ones who have had the opportunity to try this incredible loaf at one of the three points throughout the year we bake it.

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  • Patti's Pastries (now say that 10x fast)

    It’s not every day you have a pastry named after you. And it is definitely not everyday you have TWO pastries named after you. Unless you work at Zingerman’s Bakehouse.

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