Ari’s Pick: Dinkelbrot

German-style spelt bread makes for some marvelous eating

Dinkelbrot isn’t the Bakehouse’s best seller, but it might have some of the most loyal fans. And for good reason—it’s a terrific, very traditionally made bread. As it would be in the best bakeries in Germany, it’s made using freshly milled heirloom grains! In its homeland, Dinkelbrot would likely be found in every good bakery. Here in the U.S., it’s a rare and special treat!

Most of the breads we know from French tradition are primarily made of wheat. German baking relies much more on other grains. The colder, darker, damper climate in most of what is now Germany is more conducive to rye, barley, and spelt. (Remember that Germany as it exists today dates back only to 1871—before that, it was, like most of the world, made up of a series of smaller independent and semi-independent principalities and kingdoms.) These grains typically have more fragile gluten as far as baking goes. So, breads made with them tend to have shorter fermentation times and benefit from the souring process. Dinkelbrot is a showcase for this traditional way of making bread. 

Here at the Bakehouse, we make to the specifications we learned from Elisabeth Kreutzkamm-Aumueller and head baker Tino Gierig at the Dresdner Backhaus in eastern Germany. We use organic spelt—grown in Michigan or a neighboring state—that’s milled fresh on-site and leavened with our rye starter, which also features freshly milled grain and a pinch of yeast. We add a bit of mashed potatoes for moistness, spelt flakes and sunflower seeds for extra nuttiness and crunch, honey and malt for sweetness, spices for liveliness, and dress the whole loaves in a coat of even more sunflower seeds. 

Dinkelbrot is a delicious loaf. It’s got a big, full flavor; a firm, chewy texture; and a subtle touch of sweetness in the finish. It would be terrific underneath some of the many great sardines we have on hand at the Deli. I love it toasted with Creamery Cream Cheese, then sprinkled with some of the amazingly aromatic wild cumin we get through Épices de Cru in Canada. At our house, we simply spread it with the Vermont Creamery cultured butter that’s been winning raves on the Bakehouse bread service at the Roadhouse (yes, we sell it by the piece for butter lovers who want to take it home). It’s terrific with butter and smoked salmon as well. A taste of German tradition here in Ann Arbor.

Hungry for more?

Ari headshot
Ari Weinzweig
Co-Founding Partner at Zingerman's

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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