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Book Review: Zingerman’s Bakehouse

December 2017/January 2018 Issue
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Zingerman’s Bakehouse
By Amy Emberling and Frank Carollo
(Chronicle Books; $29.95)

For those unfamiliar with this Michiganbased treasure, Zingerman’s began as a deli in Ann Arbor back in 1982. In the ensuing years, it has expanded to include a host of food and food-education businesses, including the lauded Zingerman’s Bakehouse. This new cookbook celebrates the 25th anniversary of the bakehouse, which began with bread and expanded into pastries and even, for the retail
store, pizzas, stews, chilis, and soups.

Fans of the Zingerman’s catalog (in print and online), with its quirky illustrations and uniquely engaging voice, will be happy to know the baking book is similarly fun. Zingerman’s has a team spirit that comes through loud and clear in the book’s text. Stories relate how some of the shop’s most treasured baked goods came about through collaborative efforts. I particularly liked the chapter called Setting the Stage for Successful Baking. Other chapters illuminate such topics as holiday baking, fads and obsessions, unexpected successes, and even some flops.

The recipes themselves, some with such whimsical names as Hunka Burnin’ Love Cake, are presented clearly with ingredients in bold type accompanied by both volume and weight to guarantee success. Instructions are numbered, straightforward, and easy to follow. I was happy to try some new techniques, too. For instance, the Tunisian Orange and Olive Oil Cake calls for an entire orange to be quartered and processed into pulp. It made my kitchen smell great, and the cake was delicious, too. By the time I finished perusing the book, I felt as though I had been on a tour of the bakery, and I enjoyed that very much.

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