Turkey Urfa Chili—A Little Spice is Nice

Posted on Wed, 11/13/2019 - 11:03am

There’s something rather romantic about really good chili powder: Chilies from far-reaching regions across the globe, perfectly dried and ground to make a fragrant, flavorful concoction. A smoky, spicy, slightly sweet aroma rising from the jar as soon as you twist it open. A deep, saturated burnt sienna hue, red and fiery to match its flavor.

overhead shot of turkey urfa chiliIt’s easy, though, to feel disconnected from the little jar of red powder sitting in our spice cabinet when we pick it up at a big-box store. All too often it’s filled with flat-tasting dust from nondescript peppers. It’s there; it’s vaguely reddish; it’s been there to flavor many a pot of chili. But a good chili powder, thoughtfully sourced and artfully blended, is a complex work of art.

Our Turkey Urfa Chili gets its smoky, spicy flavor from Urfa biber, a dried Turkish chili pepper from the Urfa region of Turkey. It’s truly something to behold: a deep burgundy, almost black, with a surprising, unique flavor that strikes a perfect balance between smoky, salty and sweet. It begins with the Isot pepper, a bright red chili that looks a bit like an elongated red bell pepper. After harvest, the pepper is partially dried in the sun, then left under tarps to oxidize and ferment. 

Just picture it: rolling hills blanketed with bright white tarps and deep red chilies drying in the low autumn sun. We could wax poetic about this spice all day. We get ours from our friends at Épices de Cru, and we’re smitten with its fruity, chocolatey heat. It’s similar to Aleppo pepper in many ways, with raisin-like notes that start singing upon first sniff.

Maybe we’re biased, but one of our favorite ways to enjoy Urfa biber is in a big, steaming bowl of our Turkey Urfa Chili. We make it with a heaping scoop of those purpley-red chili flakes, plus some green chile powder to add some complexity. We serve it up in our Bakeshop every Thursday, and it’s a guest favorite for good reason. But if you find yourself craving it on any other day of the week, you’re in luck, because we’re sharing the recipe with you! Take one bite of that Urfa-perfumed chili, and you’ll be transported to the hills of Turkey.

urfa turkey chili with spoon


Turkey Urfa Chili
 Canola oil  2 Tbsp  25 g
 Diced onion (1/4 inch [6 mm])  1 ½ cups  170 g
 Ground turkey  16 oz  454 g
 Minced garlic (3 cloves)  1 Tbsp  25 g
 Ground cumin  2 ½ tsp  7 g
 Green chile powder  2 ½ tsp  7 g
 Urfa pepper flakes  1 ½ Tbsp  13 g
 Sea salt  1 Tbsp  13 g
 Ground black pepper  1 tsp  2 g
 Kidney beans, drained  3 (15-oz) cans  1,275 g
 Diced tomatoes (canned)  1 (28-oz) can  795 g
 Crushed tomatoes (canned)  1 (28-oz) can  795 g
 Sour cream for topping    
 Sour cream for topping    


  1. In a large stockpot, heat the oil and sauté the onions over medium to low heat until they are translucent. Add the ground turkey and minced garlic. Stir frequently and actively break up the turkey to avoid clumping. Cook the turkey completely. Add the cumin, green chile powder, Urfa pepper, salt, and pepper. Stir to incorporate the spices and cook over low heat for 2 minutes.

  2. Add the beans and both kinds of tomatoes. Mix well. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid scorching. Serve hot in bowls with sour cream and chopped green onions as tasty garnishes.


By Emily Hanka, Bakehouse Marketing Manager

Recipe from Zingerman's Bakehouse by Amy Emberling & Frank Carollo, Chronicle Books (October 3, 2017)

10 Tips for Baking with Kids

Posted on Thu, 11/07/2019 - 12:44pm

Teaching children has long been a passion of mine. I knew in high school that I wanted to go to college to become an elementary school teacher. In 2002, I was about halfway through my schooling when my other passion, baking and cooking, started to call out to me, so I decided to switch gears and go to culinary school.

nikki teachingSince I graduated in 2004, I’ve worked in restaurants, convention centers, and universities. But there was always this lingering feeling of “Did I make the right choice?” “Should I have stayed with getting my elementary education degree?” “Why am I working summers in hot kitchens when I could have been off for 3 months?!” I loved sharing my culinary knowledge with the student assistants I had in the bakeshop at Eastern Michigan University, and after years there, I realized that what I really wanted to be was a chef instructor. Having a job that combined both of my passions was a dream.

In the summer of 2011, I saw a job posting for a baking instructor at Zingerman’s BAKE!. I grew up in Ann Arbor and, of course, knew about Zingerman’s. I didn’t even know about BAKE!, but when I looked at the schedule online, I knew I NEEDED to get the job. Luckily, I got the call from Shelby Kibler, former BAKE! Principal, at the end of August, and joined the BAKE! team the following month.

There were so many classes that it was a bit overwhelming, but I was excited to learn them all. What really energized me the most, though, were the family classes. I love getting to work with kids (and their parents) and teach them my favorite subject: baking and cooking! Their excitement for mixing, kneading, shaping, and tasting brings me such joy. Now, I’ve been here so long that kids I taught in family classes in my first few years here are now taking adult classes, and several are even in college now! 

In early 2015, the BAKE! staff decided that our next adventure would be kids’ baking and cooking summer camps. With shows like The Great British Baking Show and Food Network’s kids’ cooking challenge shows, along with the rise of YouTube cooking shows and food blogs, many kids in family classes were already pretty accomplished home bakers and wanted to expand their knowledge. We knew that with our extensive recipe collection, our already great reputation, and our passion for teaching, we could create something great.

decorating cookies


Overall, our kids camps have been amazing and we have so much fun teaching them every summer. Their enthusiasm is infectious, and we laugh all the time at the things kids come up with in class. It’s fun for us to see the same kiddos each year, although I have to admit that when I haven’t seen them for a year and they are suddenly taller than me and looking so grown up, it makes me kind of sad! Still, it’s such a joy to have them come back excited to learn new recipes, meet new friends, and help us engage the brand new students.

We hope that, whether or not your child has already taken a cooking and baking camp with us, they are learning to bake and cook at home, and that they’re engaging with food in a meaningful way. Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way for successful baking and cooking with kids. 

10 Tips for Baking & Cooking with Kids:

1. Start introducing kids to working in the kitchen as young as possible. There are many ways even a 2-year-old can get involved in the kitchen. Have them add chopped vegetables to a salad. Let them dump ingredients into the mixing bowl. Let them taste ingredients.

2. Teach them about safety in the kitchen—why washing their hands is important, how to use oven mitts to remove a hot pan from the oven (when they are old enough), how to check the temperature of chicken with a thermometer, what to do if they get a cut or a burn, etc.

toddler smiling in front of food


3. Involve your child with menu planning for the family. Let them help choose the main dish, side dish, and dessert; and research recipes that they can easily help with.

4. After menu planning, have your child help write the shopping list. At the store, let them help pick out produce, have them read the aisle signs to look for ingredients, or let them pick out a fun, new tool from the kitchen equipment section that they can use to make the next meal. 

5. Choose foods to make that kids find appealing and interesting. Since they already like a food, they’ll likely be more interested in helping to make it.

kids decorating cookies6. Get picky eaters to help make foods that they aren’t a fan of and try new ways to cook them. Your kid doesn’t like steamed broccoli? Try roasting it. Your child doesn’t like beans? Try making a veggie burger patty with them. Many times, if they are involved in making a recipe they’ll be more likely to at least try it.  

7. Choose recipes that kids will be able to create without too much assistance after they learn the recipe. Start with easy recipes like cookies, brownies, or muffins. As they get more comfortable with the baking process, their confidence will increase and more challenging recipes can be tried.

8. Choose recipes that others in the house will want to enjoy. Kids will love the feeling of making their friends and family happy by making something delicious and homemade. Baking or cooking something really shows someone that you care!

9. Be patient with them! It can be easy to want to take over cracking the eggs or scooping the cookies but they need the hands-on experience to gain confidence.

10. Have fun with them! Get in the kitchen with your kid. (Or try a family class at BAKE!—no cleanup!) Your enthusiasm and excitement will create the same in your kid. The more fun they have, the more likely they will be to want to continue learning to cook and bake.

By Nikki Lohmann, BAKE! Instructor

Images credits: (2) Pixabay, (3) Alexander Dummer, (4) cottonbro, all from Pexels

Bringing a Joy of Cooking to New Generations

Posted on Mon, 11/04/2019 - 10:12am

Still sparking joy after all these years: Nearly 90 years and 20 million copies later, Irma S. Rombauer’s self-published Joy of Cooking is a kitchen staple for generations of home cooks and professional chefs.

Cover of Joy of CookingThis month, the 12th edition of the iconic cookbook Joy of Cooking will be released after undergoing a thorough revision and expansion by Irma’s great-grandson, John Becker, and his wife, Megan Scott. They developed more than six hundred new recipes for this edition, tested and tweaked thousands of classic recipes, and updated every section of every chapter to reflect the latest ingredients and techniques available to today’s home cooks. Their strategy for revising this edition was the same one Irma employed: vet, research, and improve Joy’s legacy recipes while introducing new dishes, modern cooking techniques, and comprehensive information on ingredients now available at farmers’ markets and grocery stores. This latest version will be a great addition to cookbook collections for Joy of Cooking fans and budding cooks, just in time for holiday gift-giving. 

Inspiring Joy

Here at Zingerman’s, where hundreds of people are living out their dreams of working with food every day as a career, it turns out that the Joy of Cooking has helped inspire some of those dreams.

“It was the first book I cooked from. I'd come home from school when I was in 5th grade, read the recipes and pick some to try, always something baked. I used my mother’s copy, which was printed in 1953. She got it as a sophomore in college when she got married and moved into her own apartment. She still has that book. When I visited her last week it was right above her refrigerator with a couple of her other favorites. This made me laugh. At 83 she doesn't cook much anymore but there it was, Joy of Cooking, right within her reach in case she needed it. I continue to use it as my tried and true resource book for basic information. I have a much newer copy that I bought in 1988 when I moved into my first apartment after college.”
-Amy Emberling, Zingerman’s Bakehouse baker, author, and co-managing partner

“Reading this book in junior high is part of what inspired me to be a chef. My favorite section of my 1960’s edition was ‘know your ingredients.’ I think it’s a foundational cookbook everyone should have.”
-Rodger Bowser, Zingerman’s Delicatessen chef and co-managing partner 

“It has changed my life. I go there first for nearly every recipe. I love the pancake recipe. I’ve also made the doughnuts, and it felt so good to have done this thing that seemed so hard, but was actually pretty easy! The descriptions and depth of ‘why’ put into the book is what is missing from most recipe books.”
-Gary Mazzeo, Zingerman’s Web Designer

black bean soup from joy of cooking


“The Joy of Cooking version my mom had included recipes for ostrich and alligator. As a child, this brought me a tremendous amount of joy (ha!). I never tried making them though.”
-Sara Molinaro, Zingerman’s BAKE! principal

“I grew up with this cookbook as a child. My amazing mother sent me a copy for my 20th birthday (37 years ago). I made my first Hollandaise sauce when I was probably 10 years old assisting my mom with a dinner party. To this day I still use the recipe for quick tapioca custard.”
-Amy Berger, Zingerman’s Bakehouse bread mixer

Joy Comes to Zingerman’s

When asked about his desire to visit Zingerman’s, John Becker said, “We met Zingerman’s co-founder Ari Weinzweig eight years ago at one of the first food-industry events we ever attended. Knowing next to nothing about said industry, we asked him what Zingerman’s was all about, and his answers really piqued our interest. One of the things Megan and I first bonded over was cheese, and we vowed to make it to Zingerman’s if circumstances ever took us through Ann Arbor. Since then, we have befriended Ann Arbor expats where we live who have nothing but glowing things to say about the Deli—and the community of businesses that have grown from it.”

One of John and Megan’s few midwest stops on their national book release tour brings them to Ann Arbor and the Zingerman’s community of businesses. In fact, it will be their only Michigan appearance! The authors’ visit in January 2020 includes three events: a talk, a demonstration, and a plated dinner. Copies of the new edition of Joy of Cooking will be available for purchase and to be signed by the authors. Tickets for each event are available a la carte.

photo of authors John and Megan


First up is an interview with John and Megan, moderated by Zingerman’s Bakehouse managing partner Amy Emberling, with time for questions from the audience. A meal will be served upon arrival, featuring four recipes selected from the book: keftedes (Greek meatballs), shaved fennel and white bean salad, Megan’s pumpkin seed brittle, and yogurt and honey panna cotta. This is part of the “Brown Bag Talk” series hosted by BAKE! at Zingerman’s Bakehouse in the ZingTrain speaker and meeting space.

The interview will be followed by a cooking and baking demonstration. Head to the BAKE! classroom at Zingerman’s Bakehouse to watch the authors create four recipes chosen from the book: olive oil flatbread crackers, spicy chickpea soup, frico eggs (with crispy cheese), and chocolate swirl halvah (a sesame butter fudge). After the demonstration, there will be generous samples to share, and you’ll go home with the recipes.

miso glazed eggplantThe visit culminates with a plated five-course dinner prepared by Zingerman’s Deli chef, Rodger Bowser. He designed the menu around his personal favorites from his childhood edition and recipes from the brand new edition. Dinner might include roasted cauliflower soup with khachapuri, kale and lentil salad, crispy fried tongue, kimchi macaroni and cheese, and Joy of Cooking pot roast. The feast will be served at Zingerman’s Greyline, an art deco-themed event space in downtown Ann Arbor.

To continue the Joy of Cooking tradition of inspiring cooks and bakers, Zingerman’s Deli will be inviting local youth to participate in the food preparation for the dinner. Rodger will host a ZingPath student from Zingerman’s work partnership with Ann Arbor’s Pathways High School. 

Get yourself inspired in the kitchen again. Pick up a copy of the new Joy of Cooking for you and for the cooking curious youngsters (or adults) in your life. And be sure to grab a seat at one of these special Zingerman’s events before they sell out!

Reserve Your Seats:


Demonstration & Tasting

Interview & Light Meal

The new Joy of Cooking will be available for purchase and signing at all Zingerman’s events, or order your book now


By Sara Hudson, Marketing Coordinator for Zingerman’s Community of Businesses

Photo credits: Sarah and John by Anika Toro, black bean soup and miso-glazed eggplant by Heidi's Bridge

State St. Wheat—Our New Soft, Sliced, Sandwich Bread

Posted on Mon, 10/28/2019 - 2:00pm

We’ve developed a new bread here at the Bakehouse, State St. Wheat—soft, sliced, and packaged in plastic. It’s very different from the breads we usually make, so we wanted to explain why we’re doing it, and why we’re excited about it!

Here in the United States, a bread revolution unfolded in small pockets of the country, beginning as early as the late 70s and then more extensively in the 80s and early 90s. People began to relearn the art of baking naturally leavened (sourdough), hearth-baked breads—often round and crusty, very different from grocery store bread.

slices of state st. wheatToday, a loose collaborative of bakers is trying to start another revolution. We are calling ourselves The Bread Lab Collective. We’re a national group of craft bakers, millers, teachers, students, and wheat breeders inspired by the work of The Bread Lab of Washington State University to work together to make nourishing sandwich bread available nationwide. Together, we’ve set out to create pure and simple whole grain sandwich breads that have broad appeal—familiar flavor, familiar texture, familiar shape—but are healthier than mass-produced, grocery-store bread because of our ingredient choices and artisan baking techniques. 

Our goal is to bring nourishing bread to more people in our communities and to inspire other artisan bakers to join us so that Bread Lab Collective sandwich bread is available in every state. We’re excited to be teaming up with more than a dozen other bakeries from across the country, including King Arthur Flour Bakery (Vermont), Barrio Bread (Arizona), Seven Stars Bakery (Rhode Island), Breadfarm (Washington State), Prager Brothers (California), and Elmore Mountain Bread (Vermont), as founding members. 

Each bakery in the Collective has made something a little different, in keeping with local tastes and ingredients and with their bakery’s flavor and process preferences. The Collective wants some degree of consistency, so we’ve agreed upon a set of specific criteria to bake by; here they are:  

  • The loaves need to be reminiscent of what many of us are used to on the grocery store shelves: bread that is sandwich shaped, soft, sliced and packaged in plastic, with at least a one-week usability, and is good for all the typical things Americans make with sandwich bread (grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, basic toast).

whole loaf of state st. wheatAs artisan bakers, we customarily make crusty breads in many different shapes, sold unsliced in paper bags, so this was a significant departure from our typical approach.

  • The Bread Lab Collective loaves boast short and understandable ingredient lists—seven ingredients or fewer is the agreement! This was normal for most of us, so less of a challenge. Check out the label on some highly manufactured breads and you’ll see a much longer list of ingredients, many of which will be unrecognizable as food. 

  • Loaves made for the Collective are mostly naturally leavened, meaning that they’re made with a sourdough process, and are good to eat for a full week. Making a naturally leavened bread in a pan and achieving the texture and loft many of us are used to from grocery store bread takes some skill and experimentation. We were all up for it. The naturally leavened process actually lends itself to a longer shelf life so that was to our advantage. Freshly milled whole grain also has longer keeping qualities.

How is our loaf different from typical grocery store bread? Most grocery-store bread is made with a considerable amount of commercial yeast, which allows it to be made quickly and cheaply. Furthermore, typically added fats, sugars, preservatives, and other dough conditioners give grocery-store bread its workability to achieve a lofty look as well as its desired texture and flavor. By keeping our bread naturally leavened (sourdough) and using the right artisan baking techniques, we don’t need to rely on heavy quantities of commercial yeast or multiple additives to create an appealing and nutritious loaf. 

  • Finally, at least 50% of the flour used in the loaves must be whole grain. The Bread Lab Collective wants the bread to provide nourishment. Having it taste and look familiar with at least this much whole wheat was also a challenge to our baking skills.

The Bread Lab Collective is passionate about supporting the work of the Bread Lab at Washington State. To this end, we’ve also all agreed that ten cents from each purchase of State St. Wheat will go to the Bread Lab to fund further research designed to make projects like this possible.

state st. wheat


We’re done with our experimenting at the Bakehouse and are ready to introduce State St. Wheat. We’re using just five ingredients in all, including local wheat and rye, along with Michigan honey, olive oil, and sea salt—that’s it! And, of course, we’re also adding in some extra attention to detail. 

Hazim Tugun, who works on recipe development and grain milling at the Bakehouse, describes our process, clearly showing the care we take: “Our team freshly mills Michigan-grown, organic soft white wheat and combines it with stone-ground, high-extraction, Michigan-grown hard red spring wheat flour we get from our miller in Traverse City.  We take the extra step to lightly cook (scald) a portion of that freshly milled soft white flour for added sweetness and moisture. All of that goes into a naturally leavened dough with a touch of Michigan honey and olive oil for a same-day fermentation to keep the flavors mild. The loaves get a gentle bake in our convection ovens to achieve a thin, relatively light-colored crust. The result is a flavorful sandwich loaf where you can taste the grain, with the added bonus of a tender and moist crumb, and a relatively long shelf-life.”

Ready to taste? Stop by the Bakeshop and ask for a sample of State St. Wheat (or any of our breads!), and watch our bread bakers in action while you’re here. Maybe you’ll even get a little sneak peek of State St. Wheat headed into the ovens! State St. Wheat will also be available at some of the other locations where our breads are sold. It will be the only Zingerman’s Bakehouse bread sliced, in a plastic bag with a bright label, so you won’t be able to miss it. 

Our goal is to sell State St. Wheat so that shoppers in many stores will have access to this familiar yet different, more flavorful and nourishing loaf.

By Amy Emberling, Bakehouse managing partner

Living Bread with Daniel Leader

Posted on Tue, 10/22/2019 - 2:13pm

BAKE! welcomes baking visionary and first-time Zingerman’s guest

cover of living breadIn his just-released groundbreaking book, Living Bread: Tradition and Innovation in Artisan Bread Making, Daniel Leader, owner of the iconic Catskills bakery Bread Alone, offers a comprehensive picture of his sought-after baking philosophy for the enthusiastic home baker. His book, inspired by a community of millers, farmers, bakers, and scientists in New York, provides a fascinating look into the way artisan bread baking has evolved and continues to change—from wheat farming practices and advances in milling, to sourdough starters and the mechanics of mixing dough.

On November 21st, BAKE! at Zingerman’s Bakehouse invites you to meet Dan for over two hours of baking fun. He will demonstrate several recipes from his newest book: 4-hour baguette, Baguette au Charbon vegetal, Domberger rye, and Pane Altamura. He'll also tell us stories about his life and sign books. We'll cap it off with a tasting, so you'll go home with a full belly and a full mind.

We sat down with Daniel ahead of his upcoming visit to talk about his new book, the role of curiosity in preserving traditions, balancing tradition and innovation, today’s baking landscape, and his advice to novice home bakers. 


Congratulations on your new book! It looks stunning. Why were you interested in writing such a multi-faceted book?

I’m interested in baking from the wheat field to the table. I love history and people as well. I did, after all, study philosophy in college!  

What role do you think curiosity plays in preserving traditions? 

The scope of my professional training is two weeks. There wasn’t a baking program at the culinary institute—the baking curriculum only took two weeks. Everything I've learned is because I'm curious. In my book, I talk about my backdoor baking education, which involves being polite, nice, and asking for a baker’s time. My whole career is based on curiosity.

Why was it important to you to capture stories from your “backdoor baking” education? 

daniel leader on a bridgeIt’s the people and my experiences that helped me become who I am. It’s the reality of my life.

How do you balance tradition with innovation? 

It’s interesting—I’m sure at Zingerman’s you have the same challenge. We’re making a traditional product, honoring traditional techniques, and trying to stay true to tradition, but we don’t live in a traditional society. We have to make bread hip and cool, in a modern way, and in some ways, without the tradition. More people are into the words ‘artisan’ and ‘sourdough.’ People like that it’s a fermented food, people like that it's a whole grain. People aren’t really tied into the fact that it's a traditionally healthy food.

How are people responding to your book? 

There are whole sections on tradition in the book, and I’m getting emails from people saying they can’t wait to try certain recipes. It’s interesting how people are focused on recipes, the here and now, and things they can do. That’s the opposite of what I expected. I thought people would read the book first and do the recipes second. Even some of the baking blogs that have interviewed me go right to the recipes, and I wasn't prepared for that. 

Because there have been so many bread books the last few years, I asked, “what do I want to say that hasn’t been said?” In addition to baking history and interviews, I included 60 recipes that are new and different; many have never been published before. It’s an eclectic assortment of recipes, including breads like Curry Tomato Ciabatta, Vegan Brioche, and Chocolate Sourdough Babka, as well as traditional recipes.

Why do you think people are attracted to the recipes first? 

I’m just guessing that, because we live in a very complicated time, a very controversial time, with economic stress, political stress, environmental stress, educational stress, people want to do simple, fulfilling activities. There’s something so satisfying in putting the world aside for one moment to focus on making delicious bread. The world needs more of that. We’ll have much more productive discussions in life if people do things that are satisfying.

What are you excited about in today’s baking landscape? 

That people are excited about bread again! I think we’ve come through the peak of people saying wheat is bad; I think it’s waning now. We’re getting a real push back from people who enjoy good bread, who want to make good bread, who are supporting bakeries, who want to support artisanal bread. It’s an exciting time to be baking bread because people are interested. 

To support that, there are a lot of nutritionists and agronomists who are making solid scientific arguments about why wheat is good for us and why we should be eating it. There’s a Cornell scientist in my book who talks about the anti-wheat hype. The truth is, 20 percent of the world has been eating wheat for their primary source of protein for the past 9,000 years. 

Whenever we have discussions of wheat and gluten sensitivities, it’s really important we talk about scientific truth and not hip headlines. In the book, there’s a chapter on heirloom grains and wheat sensitivities, where I interview experts in the field on what connects to scientific truth. If we’re going to talk about it, we should be knowledgeable. 

activated charcoal baguettesWhat advice would you give a novice home baker or someone interested in baking? 

First of all, people have been baking bread for thousands of years, but yeast was only invented in 1890. Bread over history has mostly been sourdough. Don't be intimidated by the process. There are great flours readily available. It’s easy, it doesn’t require special equipment, and you’ll make lots of friends in the process. 

What about a more serious baker who’s interested in a “backdoor” training in baking?

Luckily, it's a lot easier now; it doesn’t have to be backdoor. There are a lot of great baking schools... People don’t have to search as far and wide as I did — there are a lot of really nice facilities and great instructors. 

Also, there are so many good books! My book is only one of many good books. It's a great time to learn how to bake. 

Who should attend your class at BAKE!? 

Food lovers. People who like to have good food in their life. Simple, good food. 

I don't mean this in a disrespectful way, but I'm not a “foo foo” baker. I can do the fancy stuff, but mostly, I want bread to taste good. 

Save your spot to learn from Dan at his BAKE! Class, “Parisian Bread Baking Demo with Daniel Leader,” on Nov 21, or get a copy of his book, to enhance your home baking adventures and build your knowledge of the tradition, science and art of baking.

By Nicole Pelto, Communications Specialist for Zingerman's Community of Businesses

Baguette photo by Joerg Lehmann

Introducing Our New BAKE! Cookbook Club

Posted on Tue, 10/15/2019 - 2:07pm

We’re excited to share that we’re launching a BAKE! Cookbook Club and we hope you’ll join us.

We're kicking off the club with Shauna Sever's latest creation, Midwest Made. She’ll be joining us Thursday, November 7th for a demonstration of a few dishes from her new book and the following morning she’ll join us for our inaugural Cookbook Club gathering. We'll get to watch Shauna demonstrate Danish Kringle—the official state pastry of Wisconsin!—and enjoy sampling it while we chat about the book and share our favorite recipes. 

Sign up for Shauna’s November 7th demonstration here and sign up for the Cookbook Club event on the 8th here.

midwest made cover
I’m SO in for this! ...How exactly do I participate?

Three easy steps. 

  1. Familiarize yourself with the book. Pick up your own copy, borrow a copy from a friend or the library, find related articles online—you get the idea—and then read it! When our Club event lines up with an author visit you’ll always be able to buy the book (and get it signed) at the event.

  2. Head into the kitchen. It’s hard to know what you think of a cookbook without cooking from it, right? 

  3. Share your thoughts. 

    a). Online: In the months set for each book (see the schedule below) we encourage you to share what you’re cooking and baking in our BAKE! Facebook group*. The more information you can add into your post the better—book title, author, recipe name, and recipe page. It will help your fellow members know what you’re talking about and help us all find topics we’re interested in (for instance, long after our event with Shauna we’ll be able to easily find previous posts from her book and see what someone thought of a recipe you’re interested in making). You can also share your creations and book feedback on Instagram—make sure to tag your posts with #bakecookbookclub so we see them.

    b). In-person discussion: We’ll have an opportunity to gather together in real life for each book we cover, too. This will give us a chance to talk face-to-face about the book, try dishes from the book, and sometimes learn techniques from the book either from the author or from BAKE! staff members.

*The BAKE! Facebook Group is a private Facebook group for BAKE! students. If you’ve taken a BAKE! class, but you’re not yet a member, email [email protected] with your name, the email address associated with your Facebook account, and what BAKE! class you’ve taken. If you haven’t taken a class yet, you’ll receive an invite after attending a class or a Cookbook Club event.

Can I bring food to the Cookbook Club events?

Yes! We will always have at least one dish from the current cookbook for everyone to sample, but we know that part of the fun of participating in a cookbook club can be sharing dishes that you’ve made, too. So, you’re welcome (but never required) to bring a dish to share.

Should you choose to bring a dish, please select a dish that will travel well and that is meant to be served at room temperature. If at all possible, bring along a sign to identify your dish with the name and ingredients to help others identify potential allergens. Note that BAKE! (and the Bakehouse) are peanut-free facilities, so dishes made with peanuts or peanut products are not allowed. 

This goes without saying… but we’re going to say it again anyway. Should you choose to try dishes that other guests bring in, you’re acknowledging that they were made in a home kitchen, and that we have no way of knowing how they were prepared or if potential allergens were present.

Kachka cover


Okay, got it. I’m a planner, what’s ahead?

So glad you asked. We’re planning on having an in-person Cookbook Club event every other month(ish). 

October & November
Midwest Made by Shauna Sever
Event: November 8th from 9 - 11 am — reserve your spot here
Sign up to bring a dish here

* This is a unique case, in that you can start sharing in the BAKE! Facebook group now, but Shauna’s book isn’t out until October 22nd. (We know it can be tough to choose a dish to bring when the book isn't in your hands yet. If you head to the book's page on Amazon and click "Look Inside" you can see the Table of Contents to help you figure out which one to claim.) We’ll always try to share sources for online recipes (we always want as many people as possible to be able to participate!), but it’s especially important in this case, so here are some to get you started:  
Chocolate Bumpy Cake
Gooey Butter Cake

December, January, & February
Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking by Bonnie Frumkin Morales and Deena Prichep
Event: February 5th from 6:30 - 8 pm — reserve your spot here

March & April
Vintage Cakes: Timeless Recipes for Cupcakes, Flips, Rolls, Layer, Angel, Bundt, Chiffon, and Icebox Cakes for Today's Sweet Tooth by Julie Richardson
Event: April 22nd from 6:30 - 8:30 pm — reserve your spot here

Vintage Cakes cover


I still have questions and/or burning suggestions for future books to cover.

Send an email to [email protected], we’re all ears!

The Importance of Creating Regional Grain Economies

Posted on Wed, 10/09/2019 - 10:29am

Coming to Ann Arbor for the first time!

Amy Halloran, author of The New Bread Basket, teacher, cook, and renowned flour ambassador, shares her knowledge with us on local grain economies and teaches us how to use sourdough starter in simple quick recipes. 

You can meet Amy Halloran when she comes to BAKE! for a talk on regional grain economies and a demonstration class making sourdough tortillas and English muffins.  We sat down with Amy to get the scoop on her upcoming visit, her first time to Ann Arbor and Zingerman’s. 

What was the catalyst for your career in food writing?

I was inspired when I was running a local farmers market in New York. I felt compelled to tell the stories of food—not in mouthwatering words, but in the details that most of us can’t imagine. We live removed from the realities of farming. I want to illustrate the work it takes to eat.

cover of the new bread basketWhat is a regional grain economy and why do we need them?

Regional grains are the local food systems of our bread and beer, and for the other animals that eat locally, too—like chickens and cows! Grain growing and processing got centralized as America expanded west and took over grasslands to make the bread baskets we still rely upon. 

If we can create markets for farmers to feed people and other animals nearby, farmers have greater control over their economies and choices. Right now, American farmers are very tied to the dominant corn and soy system. Developing regional markets and crops can help growers step out of the constraints of commodity production and into crops and farm plans that are more ecologically diverse, and hopefully, more economically resilient.

How do you create or develop a regional grain economy?

Creating or strengthening your local grain economy all depends on where you are and your conspirators! These projects take the shape of people who want something new to happen, which could be farmers, community members, or an organization that supports regional agriculture. For example, GrowNYC, which has really developed the grain shed in the Northeast because of its mission to support the agriculture surrounding New York City. (More on this at another BAKE! special event with June Russell from GrowNYC.)

Who should attend your local grain economy talk?

Anyone who is curious about flour and bread or local farming should come and listen to my Creating Regional Grain Economies talk. They’ll hear all about the amazing people who are creating change in our most basic foods. It’s important work worth learning about.

Who should attend your tortilla and english muffin class?

My Sourdough Tortillas and English Muffins class is for the sourdough curious, as well as seasoned sourdough bakers. I’ve created this class to help combat the idea that sourdough is tricky and time-consuming; it is really easy to make these things, and a great way to get to know how natural leavening works without trying to figure out how natural leavening works in loaves of bread. These recipes are griddled breads, and they are wicked easy, tasty, and fun.

flour ambassador badgeWhat is a Flour Ambassador?

I created a goofy yet serious pledge to draw attention to the importance of small mills. I was noticing a cultural clamoring for new grains, and I knew how difficult it was to trace a loaf of bread all the way back to the ground. I wanted to help people see that if they want another bread, then mills are the tool, like farmers markets, to create connections between eaters and the people who feed us.

Get Inspired

While traveling to share her book, The New Bread Basket, Amy has been spreading inspiration to food lovers and bakers and is inspired by readers' reactions: “My book has allowed me to broadcast the stories of people who are changing our connections to grains. I never thought I’d be a flour activist! But it’s so wonderful to be spiderwebbed into the energy of this interest in new bread and new grains.”

Catch the inspiration yourself and maybe spark your path to becoming a Flour Ambassador! Check out one of these BAKE! special events or get your copy of The New Bread Basket.

By Sara Hudson, Marketing Coordinator for Zingerman’s Community of Businesses

An Interview with Archaeologist and Fermentation Fan, Dr. John Speth

Posted on Mon, 09/30/2019 - 1:30pm

In the never-ending pursuit to harness the secrets of ancient foodways, Zingerman’s Bakehouse presents Dr. John Speth, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan, to share, over a light meal, the fascinating role that fermented foods played in the successful colonization of the northern hemisphere at the upcoming event, The Power of Culture in Shaping Human Foodways, Thursday, October 10th, 6-8 pm ($45/person). Sign up here.

In anticipation of this BAKE! Special Event, I asked Dr. Speth to share a bit of his perspective on fermentation and a hint of what we can expect during his talk.

kimchi aging
Did you always love fermented foods? 

Aside from cheese and yogurt (and a beer now and then), fermented foods have never played much of a role in my diet or eating habits. My interest in fermented foods actually came about because of my career as an archaeologist. I have been interested in the evolution of the human diet and foodways, with a focus on the major changes over the last 2 million years in the way our ancestors prepared their foods.



- The control of fire and the beginnings of cooking occurred about 2 million years ago.

- The introduction of boiling technology began sometime between 250,000 and 40,000 years ago,
long before the invention of pottery, and had an impact on making starches more digestible.

- The origins of seed grinding to make flour came about 25,000 years ago,
long before cereals like wheat were domesticated.

- The first earth ovens and pit-baking happened about 10,000 years ago. 


I am also very interested in how these changes in food-processing technologies have impacted human health, both positively and negatively (e.g., the nature of our gut flora; our susceptibility to autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases; our access to omega-3 fatty acids and our ability to biosynthesize to DHA; changing rates of tooth decay; etc.). 

So why fermentation, in particular?

The development of fermentation is one of these technological introductions, with many interesting consequences. For one thing, most scholars seem to think that it originated with the making of bread and beer some 8,000 years ago or so. I suspect humans were deliberately fermenting foods at least 100,000 years ago and probably as much as 300,000 years ago. 

Fermentation, like cooking, provides a way of softening and “pre-digesting” foods before you even put them in your mouth. This means we can extract more calories and nutrients from food at greatly reduced metabolic cost (i.e., digestion is both faster and more efficient). 

The successful colonization by humans of the northern latitudes of both the Old and New Worlds may not have been possible without fermentation. As one moves farther north, edible plant foods become less and less available, and humans have to rely increasingly on meat to survive (think of traditional Eskimos or Inuit, whose diet was nearly 100% meat). But muscle meat has very little vitamin C to start with and cooking destroys much of what little there is. Scurvy, therefore, poses a major threat to life in these northerly habitats. Fermentation provided a way to preserve the precious vitamin C content of meat and allowed humans to expand into such environments without fear of scurvy. Even foods like Kimchi may originally have been developed as a way of preserving vitamin C to help stave off scurvy in environments with long cold winters.

pirate with a treasure box
Arrgh, scurvy. Did the pirates understand the value of fermentation?

Capt. James Cook, during his voyages of exploration in the Pacific in the late 1700s, carried large quantities of sauerkraut on board his ships, which he made his sailors eat. Most didn't like it, but Cook got them to eat it by allowing the sailors now and then to eat with the officers if they agreed to eat sauerkraut as part of their rations!


Which foods do you think are the most misunderstood? 

Overall, we have a poor understanding of the many potentially negative nutritional consequences of relying on foods made from domesticated plants and animals (livestock that have been grain-fed or grain-fattened). I would also add that we don’t yet fully grasp the negative impact of foods that have been produced under industrial conditions (e.g., mechanically extruded or acellular starches; the heavy use of salt, preservatives, and colorings in processed foods; excessive use of high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and other sweeteners). Many of these processes and additives were introduced on a large scale after WWII, and their negative health impacts are very much with us today.

In the course of your research, are there foods, drinks, or food preparation methods that you’ve come across that you would never eat? 

As an anthropologist, when I’ve been in the field, I’ve eaten almost anything. This was often necessitated by the fact that one’s hosts will offer you foods, often special ones because you are their guest, and it would be extremely impolite to refuse (this has included sheep brains, testicles, eyeballs, and innards of all sorts; bread covered with a spread made of a local clay; “agua miel,” the slowly fermenting sap (en route to becoming pulque) of the maguey plant, complete with dead flies afloat in the middle, etc. I have never been in a context where insects were a main course, so it would take some “doing” to coax them down (but I would if I perceived it was important to the hosts). When I’m back in Ann Arbor, my diet is far less eclectic!

A common example of fermentation is the change of cider into vinegar. Apple Cider Vinegar has long been touted as a cure-all. Any thoughts on the beloved ACV?

People are always searching for magic elixirs and 3 bottles of vinegarcures. Personally, I don’t believe they exist. I’m sure ACV under some circumstances, for certain people, and used in certain—probably moderate—amounts, may be helpful. But we each have our own unique genetic make-up, and hence we may each have our own unique way of responding to what we put in our mouth, including ACV. Thus, as a blanket prescription, I would be wary. I suspect in the long run, it would be far more healthful for those of us who can to exercise; stay away from industrialized “junk” foods; to the extent that we have any control in the matter, reduce the quantity of chemicals to which we are exposed, both at home and outside the home; and most importantly learn to “get along” with bacteria rather than trying to do everything in our power to kill them. (It is estimated that we each have within us something like 100 trillion bacteria. They are us. We’d better learn to live with them!)

What will your research focus on next? 

I have a number of research interests that are still “brewing.” One of them concerns the origin of boiling. We know surprisingly little about it, and yet boiling has had a tremendous impact on our diet and foodways, especially with regard to making starchy foods digestible. Look at any cookbook and you’ll quickly see how many recipes involve heated water at some point in their preparation. We know that humans were boiling at least 35,000 years ago, long before the invention of pottery, but how much further back in time it goes, and how it impacted our diet and health, remain largely unexplored. The same is true of fermentation. Most scholarly writing on the subject seems to stop with the invention of bread and beer, a mere 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. I suspect it goes back to Neanderthals and maybe even further (probably as much as 300,000 years ago). 

I am interested in exploring fermentation’s role in human evolution further, both to find ways to determine its antiquity, and to figure out how humans did it while avoiding dangerous pathogens like botulism. For both of these research endeavors, I need to work cooperatively with biochemists and microbiologists.

Join us to learn more from Dr. Speth at the upcoming Bakehouse talk, The Power of Culture in Shaping Human Foodways, Thursday, October 10th, 6-8 pm ($45/person). You’ll enjoy a light meal, including an assortment of naturally leavened Bakehouse breads and Creamery cheese, sausage, sauerkraut, and Hiday grass-fed vanilla yogurt with Nemeth Farms Apple Compote. Sign up at 

By Jenn Hayman, Director of Marketing, Zingerman's Service Network

Illustrations originally created for our fellow Zingerman's businesses, Miss Kim and Mail Order

Hurray for Holiday Challah!

Posted on Wed, 09/25/2019 - 11:57am

A loaf rooted in age-old Jewish tradition and laden with symbolism, the challah we have come to know and love today is a braided soft bread enriched with eggs, oil, and honey that was first made by Ashkenazi Jews in 15th-century Central Europe. The braiding was an adaptation from a local Teutonic solstice bread and its strands—resembling arms intertwined—came to symbolize love as well as truth, peace, creation, freedom, harmony, family connection, unity, and justice. Challah started out as a plain bread that over the course of the 15th century became more enriched. It was not sweetened until the early 19th century, when sugar and other sweeteners, such as honey, became more available and more affordable all over Europe. Sephardic Jews from the Mediterranean and North Africa enriched challah even further by kneading in and garnishing the bread with a customary mix of flavorful spices and seeds. Then as now, challah was used to celebrate the Jewish Sabbath or Shabbat, holidays and important life events.

The religious roots of challah, a word derived from Hebrew, meaning “portion,” extend as far back as the Bible, where, according to Jewish culinary historians, Phyllis and Miriyam Glazer, in The Essential Book of Jewish Festival Cooking, “it refers to the portion of the dough consecrated as a gift for God, and given to the priests of the Temple in Jerusalem before every Sabbath. To this day, traditional Jews consider it a mitzvah* for women, baking bread in the home, to break off a portion of the ready-to-be baked challah dough and throw it into the oven flames, as a way of both reenacting the ancient Temple rights and acknowledging that the bread—all physical sustenance—is ultimately a gift of the divine.” 

*This is an honorable task performed to observe a religious commandment.

braided challah


Challah baked for the Jewish Sabbath and holidays are made in various sizes and shapes, all of which have symbolic meaning. Braided loaves, which may have three, four, five, or six strands, are the most common and grace many a Shabbat table. On the night before the Sabbath, at sundown, a blessing is said over two such loaves, symbolizing, notes Claudia Rodin, author of The Book of Jewish Food, “two portions of the manna that was distributed on Fridays to the children of Israel during their Exodus from Egypt,” so they wouldn’t have to forage for food on the Sabbath. The loaves are covered on the table by a white napkin, which, Rodin further notes, “represents the dew that collected on the manna in the morning. Poppy and sesame seeds sprinkled on the bread also symbolize the manna that fell from heaven.” 

For Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and the first of the High Holidays, the celebratory challah takes the traditional shape of a round turban and is often studded with raisins. The spiral shape, where there is no beginning or end, symbolizes continuity and the circularity of life. The loaves are often sweetened with honey, signifying the wish for a sweet year, richness and good living, and a nod to the Biblical references to Israel as the “land of milk and honey.”

rum raisin challah turban


Here at the Bakehouse, we make our challah in the Ashkenazi Jewish tradition with organic wheat flour, fresh cage-free eggs, local Michigan honey from Gearig Apiaries Honey, yeast, and a little corn oil. The flavor is rich, but not too sweet. The texture is soft, but stands up to sandwiches, French toast, and bread pudding. It’s available in gorgeous, toasted saffron-colored braids, per Jewish tradition, or pan loaves we call “squares,” as well as in jumbo sandwich loaves.

During the Jewish High Holidays, starting with Rosh Hashanah, we pull out the stops with two rather fancy celebratory challahs, also rooted in centuries-old Jewish tradition. On order from September 26th through October 8th is our Ashkenazi turban-shaped challah studded with rum-soaked, red flame raisins, together with our more Sephardic-leaning five-strand Moroccan braid, flavored with sesame, poppy, and aromatic anise seeds and brushed with a honey syrup to give it a touch of extra sweetness. Here at the Bakehouse, we often refer to the Jewish High Holidays as “Challah Daze!,” due to all the traditional challahs we make at this time. 

By Lee Vedder, Bakehouse Historian


First photo by Antonis Achilleos

In Search of Naturally Fermented Bread?

Posted on Wed, 09/11/2019 - 10:56am

Ask for Sourdough or Naturally Leavened Loaves from an Artisan Baker

Fermentation is hot! It’s everywhere—in kombucha, kimchi, and miso; in all kinds of alcohol; in cheeses and yogurt; in coffee beans for our favorite morning beverage and cocoa beans for chocolate; in pickles; and of course in naturally leavened (sourdough) bread. There are bookshelves full of cookbooks on how to ferment all sorts of things (look up Sandor Katz, who has led the most recent fermentation revolution). For those of us who prefer to learn by doing in a social setting, there are even weekend festivals about fermentation—check out the 9th annual Fermentation Festival held in Wisconsin. The last two summers we’ve even hosted Amanda Feifer of the website Phickle at BAKE! to teach fermentation classes (they sell out in a matter of hours!).


sourdough round

What’s all the brouhaha about? Fermentation is all the rage because it seems to be great for our bodies and fermented foods taste delicious! Health and flavor together? Can’t beat that! Probiotics, created during fermentation, are purported to improve our gut health, possibly leading to better digestion, stronger immune systems, and a healthier weight. Fermentation may take care of our microbiome, which, when healthy, seems to have a remarkably positive influence on the rest of our body. 

As is often the case, the newest fads frequently have long histories. Fermentation is an ancient food preservation technique that humans have been using intentionally for literally thousands of years. It extends the life of food and can make it taste better. It’s a natural process through which microorganisms like yeast and bacteria convert carbohydrates—like starch and sugar—into alcohol or acids that give food a distinctive flavor, ranging from tart to savory. The fermentation process promotes the growth of good bacteria, known as probiotics, and their by-products, such as organic acids, keep the bad microorganisms out, which can otherwise make us sick. Fermentation can occur naturally, no human hands needed, and we can harness it ourselves in an attempt to control the outcome, giving us the level of sour or the spectrum of flavors and textures we prefer. 

As artisan bakers, we are very happy to tell you that many of the breads we bake are naturally fermented. These breads don't use any commercial yeast—the sourdough starters are kept alive and fed daily in preparation for addition to the final mix. They start with the fewest ingredients, but thanks to the fermentation time (anywhere from 14 to 18 hours, depending on the type of bread) they have the most complex flavors.

bread baskets


We’ve noticed lately that customers don’t know what to ask for when they want a bread with a long fermentation and sometimes people think the word sourdough must be in the name to be the “right” bread. So what do you ask for if you’d like a naturally fermented bread? At Zingerman’s Bakehouse, we use the terms “sourdough” and “naturally leavened” interchangeably for our naturally fermented breads. I personally prefer to say naturally leavened because sourdough implies that the bread will taste sour, and that is not always the case. 

Fermented bread can come in the full range of sweet to very sour depending on how the fermentation process is handled and what kind of ingredients are used. For example, the Italian Christmas bread panettone is traditionally naturally leavened and it is definitely sweet and milky in flavor, not sour. Our Better than San Francisco Sourdough is the tangiest of all of our naturally leavened breads, and our newest bread, State St. Wheat, isn’t sour at all, but they are both fermented breads made with natural starters. Our Cinnamon Raisin and Chocolate Cherry are certainly sweet with a slight background note of tanginess and they are also both naturally leavened. Pecan Raisin is another naturally leavened bread with a not-so-pronounced tang, but just enough to add an unmatched savor to the delicious pecans and raisins. Whether sweet or tangy, or somewhere in between, we as bakers strive for fully fermented breads to give you the best experience in terms of flavors, textures, and aromas as well as nutrition and digestibility.

A spectrum of sourness in our naturally leavened breads, from Chocolate Cherry to Better Than San Francisco Sourdough

So if you’re looking for breads made from natural starters, with no commercial yeast, and long fermentation times, we bake almost 20 different choices—with lots of flavor and texture variations whether you want to call them sourdough or naturally leavened. Need a few names to start your personal research? Farm, True North, Pecan Raisin, Cinnamon Raisin, Country Miche, Walnut Sage, Chocolate Cherry, 8 Grain 3 Seed, Vollkornbrot and Freekeh Fougasse are all naturally leavened breads.

Come in and do a tasting to experience the breadth of flavors possible from fermentation in naturally leavened breads. Feel free to ask us for samples and find your personal favorites!

By Amy Emberling, Bakehouse managing partner

Second photo by Antonis Achilleos