Ari's Picks

Dinkelbrot from Zingerman’s Bakehouse

from Zingerman's Bakehouse. 
German-style spelt bread
makes for some marvelous eating.

German-style spelt bread
makes for some marvelous eating

Dinkelbrot isn’t Zingmerman’s 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!

While 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.

Order your loaf

P.S. Want to make Dinkelbrot at home? The write-up is on pages 199 and 200 in the Zingerman’s Bakehouse cookbook.

P.P.S. Want to ship it to San Antonio or South Carolina? You bet!

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