Ari’s Pick: Potato Dill Bread from the Bakehouse

A super special Special Bake

two halves of a loaf of Potato DillPotato Dill, one of my long-time favorites from the Bakehouse made a rare special appearance this past weekend. I hope you heard and picked up a couple loaves for your house, same as I did for ours. A sourdough base (made with organic wheat flour) that takes about 18 hours to rise is bucked up with broken-up pieces of roasted potatoes, then seasoned with a generous bit of fresh dill and scallions. The loaf has a great lively, full flavor.

I like to eat it ripped right off the loaf on the way home from the Bakehouse. Of course, you can also slice it and use it for toast or sandwiches. It is great with the Mackerel Salad recipe I’ve shared, with the Creamery’s Cream Cheese or Goat Cream Cheese, or just a bit of good butter.

The History of Potato Breads

For many people, potato bread evokes images of comfort and familiarity, but a few hundred years ago, the idea of putting potatoes into bread was rather provocative. Back then, this was a cutting-edge culinary “innovation” advocated by a French pharmacist and agriculturalist named Antoine-Augustin Parmentier. In Europe in the 18th century, potatoes were not well accepted. Having come back from the Americas as part of the Columbian Exchange in the early 16th century, they were dismissed by scientists (who believed potatoes led to leprosy), the church (which argued potatoes provoked lust), and chefs (who thought they were bland). Parmentier became the potato’s biggest advocate in Europe. Potatoes, Parmentier preached, could help to cut costs (wheat was more expensive) and add flavor. Clearly, his work worked out—today potato breads are staples in the cooking of Ireland, France, Germany, and Scandinavia. And the Bakehouse! The anniversary of Parmentier’s birth (on August 17, 1737) makes this a particularly good month to celebrate his boldness in introducing this new approach to baking.

Swing by the Bakehouse this weekend and score a few loaves. They freeze well, so if you’re a fan you can put a few away to break out later. Reheat in a 350°F oven until they’re hot in the middle and the crust is crispy, and you’ll be very happy you did.


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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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