Ari’s Pick: Apple Rétes

Special Hungarian Apple “strudel” from the Bakehouse

In Hungary, what Germans and Austrians call strudel is known as “rétes” (pronounced “ray-TESH”). If you go to Hungary, you’ll find that rétes holds near-religious significance and is a regular item in pretty much every bakery and cafe. Chef Helen Czégény & Clara M. Czégény, co-authors of Helen’s Hungarian Heritage Recipes, called it, “the ‘King’ of pastries in Central Europe.” Thanks to the skilled pastry crew at the Bakehouse, over the last ten years or so, rétes has become a regular item to enjoy here in Tree Town too!

slices of apple retes

Author and renowned restaurateur, George Lang, gave credit for strudel’s origination to the Ottoman Turks and said that the strudel was a legacy of the Turkish influence on the region. While strudel’s delicacy might reasonably be taken as a mark of something that started in high society, Lang let us know that, “In Hungary strudel is a village specialty, and even in luxury restaurants it’s always a farmer girl from the provinces who’s hired to make it.”

All the strudels that the Bakehouse is making are exceptionally good. Ultra-thin, hand-done dough wrapped around a variety of fillings—as George Lang wrote, “so thin and light one can blow it away with a puff of air.” Amy Emberling, co-managing partner at the Bakehouse said of the strudel making process: “The dough is one of those wonders of the baking world that is rewarding to make. It’s like a magic trick!”

While the work of making the rétes dough stays the same, the fillings can be changed out with the seasons. We do a great series of savory rétes (bacon and potato; or, on occasion, my favorite, cabbage and goose fat) and also some superb sweet versions, like apple.

Big thanks to the talented pastry crew at the Bakehouse for making it so the rest of us can simply stop by, buy a slice or two or three, and enjoy it after dinner or even as a morning snack or lunch with a salad. They come out at the Bakeshop every morning. Pick up a slice and head over to the Coffee Company to get some of that Tree Town blend. Imagine you’re sitting in a café in Budapest. Better still, while you’re sipping and snacking, snag a spot on one of our Hungarian Food Tours for next year.


  • Sign up for Ari’s Top 5 enewsletter to hear more from Ari every week!
  • Buy rétes in frozen form from the Bakehouse. Simply pop in your oven at home (instructions are on the package) and in under an hour you’ll have a house full of wonderful smells and a great sweet treat to take your day to the next level.
  • If you want to make rétes at home, the recipe is in the lovely Zingerman’s Bakehouse cookbook – check out page 236!
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Ari Weinzweig
Co-Founding Partner at Zingerman's | + posts

In 1982, Ari Weinzweig, along with his partner Paul Saginaw, founded Zingerman’s Delicatessen with a $20,000 bank loan, a Russian History degree from the University of Michigan, 4 years of experience washing dishes, cooking and managing in restaurant kitchens and chutzpah from his hometown of Chicago. They opened the doors with 2 employees and a small selection of specialty foods and exceptional sandwiches.

Today, Zingerman’s Delicatessen is a nationally renowned food icon and the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses has grown to 10 businesses with over 750 employees and over $55 million in annual revenue. Aside from the Delicatessen, these businesses include Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Coffee Company, Creamery, Roadhouse, Mail Order, ZingTrain, Candy Manufactory, Cornman Farms and a Korean restaurant that is scheduled to open in 2016. No two businesses in the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses are alike but they all share the same Vision and Guiding Principles and deliver “The Zingerman’s Experience” with passion and commitment.

Besides being the Co-Founding Partner and being actively engaged in some aspect of the day-to-day operations and governance of nearly every business in the Zingerman’s Community, Ari Weinzweig is also a prolific writer. His most recent publications are the first 4 of his 6 book series Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading Series: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business (Part 1), Being a Better Leader (Part 2), Managing Ourselves (Part 3) and the newly-released Part 4, The Power of Beliefs in Business. Earlier books include the Zingerman’s Guides to Giving Great Service, Better Bacon, Good Eating, Good Olive Oil, Good Vinegar and Good Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Ari regularly travels across the country (and world) on behalf of ZingTrain, teaching organizations and businesses about Zingerman’s approach to business. He is a sought-after Keynote speaker, having delivered keynotes for Inc. 500, Microsoft Expo Spring Conference, Great Game of Business Gathering of Games, Positive Business Conference at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, American Society for Quality (ASQ), and the American Cheese Society. Most recently, Ari and Paul Saginaw were invited to address an audience of 50,000 for the University of Michigan 2015 Spring Commencement.

One of Zingerman’s Guiding Principles is being an active part of the community and in 1988, Zingerman’s was instrumental in the founding of Food Gatherers, a food rescue program that delivers over 5 million pounds of food each year to the hungry residents of Washtenaw county. Every year Zingerman’s donates 10% of its previous years profits to local community organizations and non-profits. Ari has served on the board of The Ark, the longest continuously operating folk music venue in America.

Over the decades, the Zingerman’s founding partners have consistently been the recipients of public recognition from a variety of diverse organizations. In April 1995, Ari and Paul were awarded the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County’s first Humanitarian Award. In 2006, Ari was recognized as one of the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” by the James Beard Foundation. In 2007, Ari and Paul were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from Bon Appetit magazine for their work in the food industry. Ari was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Cheese Society in 2014. And Ari’s book, Building a Great Business was on Inc. magazine’s list of Best Books for Business Leaders.

Notwithstanding the awards, being engaged on a daily basis in the work of 10 businesses and 21 partners, writing books on business and in-depth articles on food for the Zingerman’s newsletter, Ari finds time to be a voracious reader. He acquires and reads more books than he can find room for. Ari might soon find himself the owner of the largest collection of Anarchist books in Ann Arbor outside the Labadie collection at the University of Michigan library!

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