Recap: BAKE! Celebrates 10 Years

Dorie Greenspan demos her famous Jammers at BAKE!

Dorie Greenspan demos her famous Jammers at BAKE!

“It’s very sweet and surprising and fulfilling. I can’t believe it’s been 10 years!” says Amy Emberling, co-founder of BAKE!

This summer marked a decade in business for the hands-on teaching bakery at Zingerman’s Bakehouse. To celebrate the anniversary, BAKE! hosted special events and welcomed some exciting guests, including James Beard Award-winning cookbook author Dorie Greenspan, who demoed her famous Jammers among other signature treats, and Alejandro Ramon, a beloved instructor who was instrumental in designing the original programhe taught a Mexican Dinner class, where he shared his family’s mole recipe and lead a group in flan and enchilada making.

When BAKE! first began, the vision was simple: take the mystery out of baking and inspire people to do it at home. The goal was to provide rich learning in a fun, informal environment that encouraged students to engage with each other and, by extension, grow a community of home bakers.


Alejandro Ramon shares family recipes

“It’s really special because we did it totally from our hearts because we thought it could contribute to people’s lives, and we wanted to engage with customers in a more personal way,” says Amy. “We had no idea if people would come. We didn’t run any numbers, and we didn’t even think about the money and the investment. Then, it was sort of amazing—people liked it.”

While attendance was light in the beginning, the feedback was positive. As word got out, BAKE! attracted more and more new students and regulars (some of whom have taken as many as 100 classes!). “It kept on going, and it’s really become what we made the mission statement to be,” explains Amy.

To salute those who’ve come to learn over the years, the celebration included two installments of “Open Mic Night.” For the events, BAKE! turned the stage over to student teachers, who gave half-hour demonstrations while telling their own stories. The volunteers whipped up everything from New York cheese cake to Chinese steamed buns. Many brought family and friends along, making for a lively time. Admission was $10, and all proceeds went to benefit the Ann Arbor chapter of  Les Dames d’ Escoffier International, an organization of women leaders in food, beverage and hospitality whose mission is education and philanthropy.


So, what does the next ten years hold for BAKE!?  “To expand the community, and give people the opportunity—both customers and the chefs and bakers—to be in touch with one another,” says Amy. A big part of that will be to bring in more local professional chefs and bakers to teach and connect with their customers. To facilitate this, building a proper demonstration space that’s comfortable for students and effective for presenters is being considered

You can be part of  the next chapter. BAKE! currently teaches classes a wide variety of classes in pastry, cakes, pies, bread and more. And it’s not just all about sweets—there are also plenty of sessions that cover pizza making, savory baking, and pasta. International cuisines are on the roster, too. Think breads from Transylvania, stews from the British Isles, Southern brunch, risotto from Sicily. There’s also the closer-to-home Detroit Classics session that covers Detroit deep dish pizza and coffee cake. You don’t need any experience, just a desire to learn and eat!

Classes are offered daily. See the full list and calendar on our BAKE! website.