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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.

 

FUN FACTS:

- 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 https://www.bakewithzing.com/special-events 

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

Cream of Wheat: A Local Take on a Classic American Breakfast Porridge

Posted on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 9:11am

…Porridge is ready
Delicious and ruddy
With pleasure, I relished
That my hunger has perished.

From Porridge Nursery Rhymes by international poet, Goodness Lanre, 2013

With whole grains at the forefront of our mission, it seems only fitting for the Bakehouse to delve into the world of porridge. And what a fascinating world it is!—with its long culinary history stretching back to the Agricultural Revolution of the Neolithic Era (between 8000 and 5000 BCE), and the countless variations of the hot, whole-grain cereal that people all around the world have been concocting ever since.  Throughout history and within every culture, porridge has been a dietary staple. As one historian of early human history, Alistair Moffat, proclaimed a few years back, “The great invention, the greatest revolution in our history was the invention of farming. Farming changed the world because of the invention of porridge.” 

For many around the world, porridge (also historically spelled porage, porrgie, parritich), represents nourishment: whole-grain goodness, healthy nutrition, and ultimate comfort, served up in a bowl. An added bonus is that it’s easy to make—simply boil or bake ground, crushed or chopped whole grains in water or milk. As food writer, Mary Luz Mejia, notes,  “A big bowl of porridge can rev your internal motor at breakfast, help you unwind after a late night, or ease the previous night’s excesses. It can be made sweet, savory, thin or thick, with toppings or without. The only rules for entry into the ‘porridge club’ are that it needs to be made with a grain and it’s usually a dish best served warm to hot.” 

cream of wheat with toppings

 

The most humble and universal of dishes, porridge was our first and simplest way of cooking grains to release the arsenal of nutrition and burst of flavor locked inside. Grains, served up as porridge, fed our earliest civilizations and “sustained empires because they were powerhouses of nutrition, relatively quick to plant and harvest (unlike fruit and nut trees), easily stored in cold, drought, or rain, and capable of feeding armies,” so notes Rachel Laudan, author of Cuisine and Empire—a sweeping chronicle of the rise and fall of the world's great cuisines. “The early Romans built their empire on barley porridge,” she says. In Asia, “the Chinese built theirs on rice porridge, the Indians on rice and lentil porridge.” The list of grain porridges throughout world history is prolific and global: in Scotland and Ireland, barley and oats; in America, oats, wheat, and corn grits; in Asia, rice; in Russia, the pseudograin, buckwheat; in Norway, rye; in Africa, millet, corn, and sorghum; in Italy, corn and millet polenta, to name but a few.  Within the rich, diverse histories of food in every culture, almost everyone eats porridge; it has been and continues to be the everyday food of everyday people. 

Wheat Porridge in the American Midwest - A Brief History

From babyhood to old age CREAM of WHEAT brings a smile of welcome.
Palatable, wholesome, nourishing, good at all times for all people.
Served in many tempting forms, -- dainty breakfasts, delicious desserts.
CREAM of WHEAT CO., Minneapolis, Minn.

Cream of Wheat print advertisement, 1909 

...When was the last time you cooked your old friend Cream of Wheat?
...Remember the mornings you woke up to a light new taste that lets the flavor shine through. It’s as good as you remember, Cream of Wheat

Nostalgic Cream of Wheat television commercial jingle, 1970s

Here in the United States, porridge has been a nation-wide breakfast staple since the late 19th century. Among the hot breakfast cereals to take America by storm in this period was farina, a form of milled wheat made from the germ and endosperm of the grain, which is milled to a fine consistency and then sifted. The porridge, branded Cream of Wheat® in 1893, was created by a group of enterprising millers based, initially, in Grand Forks, North Dakota and, eventually, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Cream of Wheat started in a very small way, but with a sound idea and the vision and determination to build a successful and worthwhile business. 

The story goes that Emery Mapes (b. 1853), a former newspaper publisher, printer and editor, decided in 1889, with his partner George Bull, a Grand Forks farm manager, to go into the milling business in Grand Forks by purchasing the milling machinery from the Diamond Flour Mill, after a fire destroyed the company’s milling facility near Mankato, Minnesota. Knowing nothing about the milling craft, the two partners hired Tom Amidon, an experienced miller, to supervise the operation of their facility as head miller.

As the Grand Forks Diamond Flour Mill struggled to find its footing in the dark days leading up to the Economic Panic of 1893, Amidon came up with the idea of producing for profit, a “breakfast porridge,” made from milled farina, the whitest part of the wheat, which he had taken home and cooked into a cereal for his family, much to their liking. The milling partners, Mapes and Bull, loved the porridge’s delicious taste and creamy smooth texture, prompting them to name it, “Cream of Wheat.” 

cream of wheat red box with bowl of the porridge

 

Confident they were on to something, the partners then agreed to let Amidon pack some of the cereal and ship it to their New York brokers, Lamont Corliss & Company. With the milling company barely afloat, financially, at this time, Amidon was left to his own devices in preparing the cereal for shipment; he cut the cardboard for the cartons by hand, labeled the packages himself, and crated them in wooden boxes he made up from waste lumber. With no money to spend on package design, Mapes, a former printer, drew upon his stock of old printing plates for an appealing illustration to brighten up Amidon’s makeshift cereal cartons. The image he settled on, which he ended up creating himself, happened to be a figure of an African American chef holding a saucepan over his shoulder, the precursor to the present-day, widely-known Cream of Wheat trademark personage. 

In October 1893, the Diamond Flour Mill sent 360 boxes of Cream of Wheat to New York, along with a carload of milled flour. Within 3 hours of the shipment’s arrival, the New York brokers sent a telegram to the Grand Forks mill stating, “Never mind shipping us your flour. Send us a carload of Cream of Wheat.” To fill this order of nearly 2000 boxes, and even larger shipments in the future, the Mill came up with a strategic plan that entailed renaming their enterprise the Cream of Wheat Factory and packaging the cereal in assembly-like fashion so as to maximize the number of boxes they could churn out daily. They also enlisted Melvin Brannon, a biology professor at the University of North Dakota, in developing an electrolysis treatment to eliminate contaminants and provide longer shelf life for the cereal.

1893 also saw Cream of Wheat making its manufacturing debut, to great popular fanfare, at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. To generate further national interest in their new cereal, not to mention market share, Mapes began running ads for Cream of Wheat in the Ladies Home Journal in November of 1896, promoting an image of wholesomeness, family, home, and security; this message, published as illustrated print ads in scores of national magazines, went on to become one of the most successful and transformative cereal advertising and marketing campaigns of the early 20th Century. The demand for the new cereal was extraordinary, so much so, that by 1897 it had outgrown the producing capacity of the small plant in Grand Forks. The company thus relocated the Cream of Wheat Factory to Minneapolis, which had become a major grain hub and distribution center for the growing cereal market. Cream of Wheat had arrived, giving oatmeal a run for its money as America’s favorite hot breakfast porridge! 

Wheat Porridge - Some Local Michigan History

On a more local note, a perusal of the Ypsilanti Daily Press in August 1909 reveals that the Ypsilanti Milling Company, located on Cross Street along the east side of the Huron River, sought to tap into the extraordinary success and popularity of Cream of Wheat with their own take on the creamy wheat porridge, which they branded as Wheat Hearts. 

To promote the venture, which ended up being very short-lived, the flour mill ran the following advertisement in daily issues of the paper over the course of a week in August 1909 (August 9-16), never to be seen again:

advertisement for Wheat Hearts

 

Around the same time that the Ypsilanti Milling Company was pitching their Wheat Hearts, in the daily paper, George Parker, in Ann Arbor Township, was transforming his father’s 1873 stone grist mill on Fleming Creek, off Geddes Road, from a family farm-based operation into a commercial flour mill. Beginning in 1910, following his father’s death, George milled, packaged, and sold to area grocery stores pancake mix, graham flour, buckwheat flour, cornmeal, and cracked wheat breakfast cereal, similar to Cream of Wheat, all under the brand name,  “Parker’s Fleming’s Creek Mills.” The wheat cereal was packaged in 2-pound bags that bore a printed illustration of a couple of sheaves of wheat as the backdrop for the insignia and preparation instructions:

cracked wheat breakfast food

                                              

George continued to run the mill as a commercial enterprise until his death in 1956, at which point his son, Fred Parker, and other family members took over, but only for a few more years. By 1960, the mill had ceased operation and was sold, along with the family farm and other buildings on the property to the Frederick Mattael family. In 1983, the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission purchased the Parker Mill property and restored the mill back into full operation as the primary feature of Parker Mill Park, which opened to the public in 1984 and is still running to this day.

cream of wheat with toppings

 

Now that we’re milling some of our own wheat at the Bakehouse on our stone mill, we decided to try freshly milled whole grain (FMWG) cream of wheat. It’s as comforting as the red box version and more flavorful because it contains the entire wheat berry. We are using coarsely milled, soft white wheat from Ferris Organic Farm in Eaton Rapids, MI and cooking it with local Guernsey Dairy milk. Come in and try some—it’s delicious with toppings or just on its own. But if embellishment is your thing, we currently have on hand Michigan dried cherries, California walnuts, Michigan maple syrup, muscovado brown sugar, milk, and cream to top your creamy whole wheat porridge.

Watch for new porridges and more porridge history in the coming months.

 

By Lee Vedder, Bakehouse Historian

Cream of Wheat photo via their Instagram, Wheat Hearts ad via YpsiNews.com, Geo. G. Parker packaging via HMdb.org

Green Olive Focaccia: the Whole Grain Snack We're Hooked On

Posted on Wed, 08/28/2019 - 12:38pm

When I find Hazim, Bakehouse bread baker and expert conceptualist, in the Bakehouse courtyard, he’s unshakably focused on his work. I often find him in this state—dusted in a light layer of flour, scribbling in a notebook I can only assume contains endless delicious ideas waiting to be brought to life. He is relentlessly dedicated to the development of new, innovative, and delicious breads, and his Green Olive Focaccia is no exception.

Those who’ve tried it know what craveable secrets the humble slice holds. A bounty of fruity Castelvetrano olives crown a crisp-crusted, chewy, bubbly slice of deeply colored whole grain focaccia. A single bite unlocks innumerable layers of flavor. Warm, twangy raw and roasted garlic! Bright, poppy lemon! Fruity, herbaceous coriander! It’s a celebration of simple ingredients inspired by Hazim’s upbringing on the island of Cyprus. 

Intrigued by the story behind my new favorite midday snack, I sat down to talk with him about how this savory treat came to be.

green olive focaccia

 

Can you tell me a bit about the process of coming up with this focaccia? It’s really such a unique bread.

We went to the Grain Gathering at Washington State University last year and tasted lots of wonderful stuff, and one thing that stuck out was this whole grain focaccia. It was more like a flatbread, not quite focaccia—it’s kind of a blurry term—but it tasted great. I’d tasted things kind of like that before, but it was a good reminder. Here, we’re always talking about what new breads to work on, and when we came back, Amy (Bakehouse managing partner) said, “I think I want a whole grain focaccia.”

I love working with naturally leavened doughs and freshly milled grain, so this was just perfect. I also tried to base it on what we had in-hand. Hard red spring wheat is strong and very flavorful, and spelt is also very flavorful. It’s an ancient grain, but it also has this extensibility that you don’t get with the hard red spring, meaning it’s great for stretching a dough into a flatbread.

I had the formula in my head: a wet dough that gets fermented overnight with a very little bit of starter in it as the jumping-off point. A bit of olive oil, because that’s what focaccia is typically associated with. But the other part of the equation was the sheet pan, which is what we typically bake our focaccias in. I’d tried that once, but I knew these breads would require a lot of heat and our sheet pans don’t necessarily work that way. 

Normally, when you bake in a wood-fired oven, you can use sheet pans to cool down the stone hearth. If you imagine putting something in a sheet pan and then putting it on the deck ovens, it’s not going to get as much heat as if you put it directly on the hearth. I tried that and it didn’t really work. I needed really high heat, not the heat that we have going on in these deck ovens. I’d use my little Rofco oven in Cyprus, and when I was making pizzas, I’d just crank it all the way up to 300°C. As I was thinking about that, it just immediately clicked that I should use Detroit-style pizza pans—they have higher sides than a sheet pan, plus they’re made out of cast-iron so they retain heat more efficiently. So you plop the dough in there, let it relax, stretch it out, proof until it gets super bubbly and light. That’s what I really like—you can really push the proof, so the flavors explode and the texture becomes super-tender. The more you ferment, the softer and more tender it gets. Then, when you bake it in a super-hot oven, they’re ready in 15 minutes.

A bubbly pan of proofing focaccia dough

Once we figured out the dough piece, I had to figure out what we were going to top it with. Immediately, the first one in my mind was the combination of halloumi, raw onion, and fresh mint, which we use in Cyprus a lot. Back home, we prepare this dough in round metal pans. It’s not quite focaccia; it’s just a plain dough that’s usually a little yeasted, with a lot of olive oil, and then topped with raw onions, mint, and all that. I had a lot of it when I was growing up. So I ran with that idea, baked it, and we all tasted it and said, “oh… this is GOOD. It’s very good.”

Definitely. I don’t think a lot of people around here are familiar with halloumi or that flavor combination, but it’s really delicious. It’s often only available seasonally though, so how did you land on the winning combination we currently have at the Bakeshop?

Initially, I wasn’t sure what to do. I remember trying a roasted broccoli-sausage thing, and it just didn’t work. But then I thought, “I’m using halloumi, so why don’t I try another thing we make a lot in Cyprus?” Something that’d typically go along the same breakfast table: marinated olives. If you came to our house for breakfast, there’d be a little bowl of cracked green olives with coriander, garlic, and lemon, sitting in olive oil, and you could just nibble. And then you’d take your bread and dip it in all the juices at the bottom of the bowl. We don’t have cracked green olives here, but we do have Castelvetrano olives. I love them; we buy them a lot for my daughter.

A stack of three slices of green olive focaccia

They ARE so delicious. I love olives, though; I’ll eat them like candy.

Right? The cool part of this bread is that even people who don’t like olives think it’s really good. Beyond the olives, raw garlic was a given, but then I remembered we have roasted garlic, too. That’s just another flavor explosion. And then great olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and crushed coriander seeds. We tasted it, and... that was that. When Amy and Frank tasted it, they were both like, “Yep!” I’m used to going back to the drawing board a little bit to rework things, but these two combinations got the thumbs-up right away.

Awesome. So you had mentioned that it would be part of a breakfast spread. Do you envision the focaccia as part of a breakfast spread? What are some other serving ideas?

I think that would be great. You’d have to have super fresh, in-season tomatoes and cucumbers, the focaccia, a little bit of cheese, a little bit of coffee or tea. What more do you need? Or, if you want, you can fry up a sunny side-up egg and put it on top of the green olive focaccia. But I think they can be a snack during the day, too. The cool thing about this focaccia is, even if you take it home and take it out the next day at room temperature, it’s still great on its own. If you warm it up it’s even better, but it’s not like a bread that dries out that much for the first two days. After that, though, it would be better if you warm it up. Just snack on it as-is.

Two pans of dough, side by side, one with halloumi focaccia and the other with green olive focaccia

Agreed. I’ve only ever eaten it as-is, and I’ve never wanted for anything. I think that it’s super-satisfying, largely because of the whole grain. 

I agree. But even though it’s whole-grain, the crust is very mild-flavored. You can taste the grain, but it’s very subtle and the toppings just sing. Recently I’ve tried making it with a whole-wheat starter that we have in-house, and then the crust flavor is amped up even further. And then you can just eat that on its own! Bread so good you just want to eat it plain!

Hungry to taste our Green Olive Focaccia for yourself? Find it in our Bakeshop Friday-Sunday, or meet us at the Westside Farmers Market on Thursdays!

By Emily Hanka, Bakehouse Marketing Manager

Photos by Emily Hanka & Hazim Tugun

Finding a Baking Community in a Remote Town in Maine

Posted on Tue, 08/20/2019 - 1:13pm

The 2019 Kneading Conference


Kyle, Frank, Hazim, & AmandaEarlier this summer, my coworkers, Kyle Purcell, Frank Carollo, Hazim Tugun, and I traveled to The Maine Grain Alliance’s Kneading Conference in Skowhegan, Maine. A car full of bakers, we were excited to spend two days talking, sharing, and learning about grains. Yes, we were looking for a moose on the side of the road, too, but we were most ready to pick up any tips, tricks, or facts that others wanted to share about bread making. 

Attending the Kneading Conference for the first time was a great example of a vision actualized—their goal is to bring back the grain economy through with the contributions of farmers, millers, bakers, and customers. This is also right in line with some of the goals in our Zingerman’s Bakehouse 2023 vision—we’re committed to becoming grain experts and incorporating freshly milled whole grain (FMWG) into a variety of our products to share with our community.

 

kimberley bellThe conference started off with a great speaker. Kimberley Bell is the owner of Small Food Bakery in Nottingham, England. As soon as she started telling her story, you could tell she was a passionate person who believed in what she was doing in her bakery. Supermarket monopolies are the main food source for the UK and she is an advocate for breaking them up. She believes in keeping ingredients traceable and local—that was her mission when she started her bakery and she makes every decision based on that vision. “Be more than a baker,” is a motto she tells herself, that is supported by the friendships she’s made with farmers and other vendors and the stories behind each product. That all makes the work more fulfilling for her and her team.

 

naturally leavened bagelsThe message of bringing community and thoughtfulness to one’s work was the theme that would continue throughout the next two days.  A variety of demos and presentations filled the sunny days with topics spanning from sourdough pastries and bagels to baguettes and wood-fired pizza, and, of course, grains. 

One of my favorites was given by Kerry Hanney of Night Moves Bread + Pie and Blair Marvin of Elmore Mountain Bread. Both women presented their way of making their bakery’s country loaf. One would do a step in the process and then throw it back to the other. They would compare the process they were taking with the knowledge in mind that both lead to great bread. Even while they were presenting their own method, they were just as fascinated to learn the other’s method. Not that it was going to result in a change to their current production, but for the pure purpose of learning, respect, and support. Both women are trying to make their community better with their food and it is a good lesson to remember that though we may have done things a certain way for a long time, the practice of making bread is ever-changing.

 

Kyle and Hazim with grainsTo be able to go to a bread conference is always a great opportunity to talk to both professional and serious home bakers, and hear what brought them into the world of grain. So while we spent two days in the middle of Maine taking in nuggets of information, it was also about the renewing of passion and knowing that other bakers are out there, too, turning on their ovens at 2 in the morning, just trying to create the most flavorful, nutritious, traceable loaf they possibly can. Bell really captured the feeling of bread baking and why we enjoy it so much, saying, "The overall sense of nourishment is enhanced when others are smiling at the table."

 

By Amanda Benson
Bakehouse Bread Supervisor

Photos by Amanda Benson & Frank Carollo

Gateau St. Honoré—A Dessert Made of Other Desserts

Posted on Tue, 08/13/2019 - 10:40am

Every year, on May 16, the French celebrate the Feast of St. Honoré, honoring the 6th-century French bishop who eventually became the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs. And since the French hold their corner bakery right up there with the Catholic Church, the celebration is not complete without a big bite of the show-stopping confection named for the revered saint.  A classic French torte, the Gateau St. Honoré is a tasty marriage of the fundamental elements of the pastry baker’s craft: pâte feuilletée (puff pastry), pâte á choux (choux pastry), crème pâtissière (pastry cream), whipped cream, and caramelized sugar. The torte has a puff-pastry base, topped with pastry cream and whipped cream, surrounded by profiteroles (cream puffs) of pâte á choux, which have been dipped in caramelized sugar, their sugary tops resembling saints’ halos.

Gateau St. Honoré

 

The torte’s namesake, Honoré, also known as Honoratus, became bishop of Amiens, in the north of France, in 554 AD. According to tradition, a number of miraculous events occurred during his service, which spared farmers, millers, and bakers from natural disasters. After his death, processions in his honor supposedly stopped both droughts and deluges, ensuring good wheat harvests. This won Honoré the admiration of bakers across France. In 1204, a Parisian baker built a chapel (no longer extant) to commemorate him, and in the 17th century, the French baker’s guild anointed him the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs. In religious and popular imagery,  Honoré is often depicted holding a baker’s peel—the flat wooden paddle used to move loaves to and from a hot oven—often with loaves of crusty French bread nearby and with bakers at work, in the background, kneading dough and manning wood-burning ovens. 

Fast-forward to the 19th century, when Parisian pastry bakers began bringing glory to the saint's name in the best way they knew how—with a fabulous show-stopping confection. The Gateau St. Honoré was developed at the legendary Chiboust pastry shop on Paris' Saint Honoré Street, which, alas, no longer exists. It started out as a ring-shaped brioche filled with pastry cream that Chiboust lightened with an airy Italian meringue, creating a new kind of filling that came to be known as crème Chiboust, which French bakers still use. According to Parisian pastry chef, Pierre Hermé, one of Chiboust's bakers, August Jullien, came up with his own version, replacing the ring of brioche dough with a ring of little cream puffs. 

cream puffs

 

By the late 19th century, the Gateau St. Honoré had taken its present form, incorporating a disk of puff pastry filled with pastry cream, topped with a crown of cream puffs dressed up even further with a crunchy cap of caramelized sugar, and draped with swags of whipped cream. The plain version of the torte—simply flavored with vanilla and the bittersweet notes of burnt sugar—is most common, but you can find fanciful seasonal variations, showcasing everything from tropical fruits to green tea.

In modern-day France, the Feast of St. Honoré still survives as a time to appreciate all sorts of breads and pastries. French baker Dominique Geulin, who grew up in Normandy and is now based in Portland OR with his bakery St. Honoré Boulangerie, fondly remembers how bakers in France (including his parents) would open their doors on May 16 for community festivals, school field trips, and public demonstrations. The modern-day French baker's organization, Confédération Nationale de la Boulangerie-Pâtisserie Français, also takes that week as the occasion to hold its annual meeting during a full-on festival of bread.

caramel coated cream puffs

 

This fall, in October and November, BAKE!, the Bakehouse’s hands-on teaching bakery, is offering two classes on the Gateau St. Honoré, where you’ll learn all the classic French techniques—pâte feuilletée (puff pastry), pâte á choux (choux pastry), crème pâtissière (pastry cream), whipped cream, and caramelized sugar—that go into making this show-stopping dessert, a six-hour project well worth the effort! (Don't worry, we provide a great Bakehouse lunch, too.) Any dessert that is built out of other desserts is a winner in our book and the Gateau St. Honoré is sure to impress your guests! (Check out the Bakehouse’s Instagram highlights for more behind-the-scenes shots from this class!)

By Lee Vedder
Bakehouse Historian

From Kipferl to Croissant: A Brief History

Posted on Thu, 08/08/2019 - 1:15pm

The history of the crisp, crescent pastry we all know and love is quite a storied tale. People often think of France when they hear mention of the croissant, but its origins are actually Austrian–Viennese to be precise. In fact, as recently as the 19th century, the French viewed the croissant as a foreign novelty, sold only in special Viennese bakeries in the more affluent neighborhoods of Paris. The pastry’s Austrian origins and how it came to France in the first place are shrouded in legend.

croissants on a sheet pan

 

Culinary historians concur that the modern-day croissant was inspired by the Austrian kipferl, a crescent-shaped morning pastry made with brioche-like dough, which is denser and less flaky than the croissant we know today. According to popular lore, the kipferl originated in 1683 as a comestible celebration of Austrian victory over the Ottoman Turks at the siege of Vienna. The story goes that a baker, up early to make bread, saved Vienna when he heard the Turks tunneling underneath the city and sounded an alarm to the Viennese authorities. The kipferl’s curved shape, said to mimic the crescent moon of the Ottoman flag, would then seem to pay poetic tribute to the indomitable spirit of a city that resisted a powerful invading force. But the kipferl existed long before the Ottoman siege of Vienna. A poem mentions it as one of the Christmas treats that Viennese bakers presented to Duke Leopold in 1227. Moreover, crescent-shaped breads in general date back centuries earlier.

So, does the croissant’s Austrian ancestry belie its French fame? “Of course not,” says Jim Chevallier, an independent scholar and author of a book on croissant history, August Zang and the French Croissant: How Viennoiserie Came to France. “The croissant began as the Austrian kipferl, but became French the moment people began to make it with puffed pastry, which is a [17th-century] French innovation,” says Chevallier. “It has fully taken root in its adopted land.” Order a kipferl in Austria or Germany today and you’ll likely be handed a crescent-shaped cookie. 

A more romantic tale from the 18th century attributes the origin of the croissant to the French Queen and Austrian Archduchess, Marie Antoinette (1755-1793). Legend has it that the Queen, homesick for the taste of her native Vienna, would often bow out of royal dinners, only to sneak away to indulge in the sweets and coffee of her country. The story thus credits her love of Viennese kipferls and the christening of the kipferl as the “croissant” as having introduced the pastry to French high society. 

one whole croissant and one croissant cut in half

 

Legends aside, historical evidence as to the croissant’s evolution in France points instead to August Zang (1807-1888), an Austrian entrepreneur who opened the first Viennese bakery in Paris in 1838. Located at 92 Rue Richelieu on the Right Bank, his upscale Boulangerie Viennoise specialized in bread and pastries from his native Vienna, most notably the kipferl, along with pain viennois (a Viennese-style sandwich bread), both of which became widely popular in the city within ten years. Equipped with his patented steam oven, Zang made his kipferls with noticeably flakier dough than traditional brioche-based versions and the French began referring to the newfangled pastry as a croissant due to its crescent shape. 

References to croissants made with true, yeasted pâte feuilletée (puff pastry dough), however, didn’t materialize until the early 20th century.  For that development, we have the French baker, Sylvain Claudius Goy, to thank. In 1915, he wrote a recipe that specifically mentions pâte feuilletée, calling for the rolled puff pastry to be yeast-leavened and laminated with butter, a technique that remains at the core of how the modern-day, all butter, homemade croissant (croissant au beurre, fait maison) is made in France. 
And it is this traditional French croissant we are dedicated to making here at the Bakehouse. Like bread and other baked goods in America, croissants can be made with shortcuts causing them to fall short of the intended texture and flavor. There are very few places in the world outside of France where you can get a truly great, flaky, buttery croissant—Zingerman’s Bakehouse is certainly one of those places. We pride ourselves on their rich flavor, tender honeycombed interior, and crispy exterior that shatters a little when you bite into it. It’s mostly about taking the time to do it right and not using fake ingredients or pre-made frozen doughs. And we think it's well worth the time and effort to do so. Like we say, you really can taste the difference. Visit the Bakeshop to pick up our 4 variations on the French croissant: classic Butter, Juliette's Almond, Chocolate, or Parmesan and Prosciutto.

chocolate croissant with a bite out of it

 

Or, learn to make croissants yourself in one of our most popular hands-on baking classes: Ooh La La Croissant: French Pastry Class. You’ll learn the key techniques for creating a butter-laminated dough (layering the dough with butter and folding it over), filling the croissants, proofing them properly to achieve the right texture, and finally, baking them to a rich golden brown. In class, you'll make our butter croissant recipe, as well as fill them with both our rich almond frangipane (we'll give you the recipe for that, too) and bars of intense dark chocolate imported to us in Ann Arbor from renowned French chocolatier Michel Cluizel. There are few more sublime things in our book than enjoying a freshly-baked croissant that is still a little warm. We can't wait for you to try it. It's going to be life-changing. Reserve your spot now

By Lee Vedder
Bakehouse Historian