Ari’s Pick: Vollkornbrot

Killer combo with the Creamery’s Cream Cheese

The Bakehouse Grain Commission project has made a remarkable difference in flavor. Products that were already really great – like our Vollkornbrot – have become amazing thanks to this undertaking of on-site milling of grains at the Bakehouse.


As baker Hazim Tugun writes, “part of the Zingerman’s ethos is ‘constant improvement,’ and we believed this bread could be revised to have improved flavor and texture.” The Vollkornbrot (which, in German, means simply “whole grain bread”) is made using organic rye that we’re getting from the thumb area of Michigan from the DKB Farm in Columbiaville. DKB’s whole rye is stone-milled fresh out here on Plaza Drive. The Bakehouse mixers take that fresh rye and start a sour from rye chops, sunflower seeds, and more whole grain rye flour—the natural fermentation goes for at least 12 hours. As per German baking tradition, the crew waits 24 hours to allow the loaves to “cure” and set up after the newly-baked bread comes out of the ovens.

Vollkornbrot like this is one of the staples of everyday German baking and eating. Dense, intense, full-flavored, and delicious, sliced thinly to make for some marvelous eating. There’s a complexity, a fantastic depth of flavor that reminds me of roasted coffee or even hints at the sorts of spiced Christmas breads that are so popular in Central Europe.

Vollkornbrot is great fresh sliced from the loaf, and equally excellent toasted. My favorite thing is to spread thin slices of it with the Creamery’s handmade Cream Cheese. The dark deep flavors and dense texture of the bread are a perfect counterpoint to the light, creamy, soft, spreadable artisan cream cheese. It’s also excellent with a thick layer of butter. Great for a ham sandwich, though I should make clear that it’s a thin, German-style sandwich, not the sort of stuffed, Deli sandwiches we love so much. It’s superb with smoked salmon. If you like things a bit sweeter, try it with the Cream Cheese and maybe a bit of that Rhubarb Marmalade from American Spoon.

You can get Vollkornbrot at the Bakeshop every day, and pick it up at the Deli by ordering ahead. We’re happy to ship some, too.


Ari headshot
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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