A prime example of the changing world of retail bakery is happening at one of the industry’s largest and most recognized retailers, Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, Michigan. BAKE!, Zingerman's hands-on teaching bakery, just announced its baking classes are now available online, after 15 years of in-person teaching. Transitioning from in-person to virtual class offerings, initiated by COVID-19, allows bakers to enjoy personalized instruction for all levels in the comfort of their own kitchens with their own equipment.

“I never thought how we would reach so many different people from around the world,” says Sara Molinaro, principal and lead instructor of BAKE! “One thing we have learned is that people enjoy being able to bake with their families. Last week, I taught a bagel class in which there were seven different members of one family in seven different locations. We are seeing beautiful silver linings.”

She’s baked brownies with bakers in New Zealand, prompting Molinaro to comment that the “reach is really extraordinary.” She has been baking for 20 years and never seen anything like it.

“The key is being approachable,” she says. “We talk so much about community at Zingerman’s. Now we are hoping to sustain our reach and that people are happy with the experience. Going forward, this will be a component of our business.”

The full schedule of classes can be found at Zingerman's website.

BAKE!’s virtual classes are limited to 12 or fewer households per class to preserve the intimate environment BAKE! is known for. Before each class, students receive a class guide with the recipes, a grocery list and a Zoom invitation to use when it’s time to log into the virtual classroom.
“Zingerman’s Bakehouse is as passionate about starting new baking traditions as we are about preserving established baking traditions,” says Amy Emberling, co-managing partner of Zingerman’s Bakehouse. "Every day, we're committed to community, learning and full-flavored foods. Our new virtual class offerings help us share these core values with a larger audience, just in time for the holidays." 

BAKE!’s “Fancy Schmancy Holiday Cookie” class, its most popular class, and its pie-making class, will also now be available online. This holiday season, BAKE! students can treat themselves to a virtual BAKE! experience or gather their far-flung friends and family for a fun, virtual, group activity.

The year’s “Fancy Schmancy Holiday Cookie Class” class will feature Mint Spritz, Pfefferneuse, Baci di Gama and Linzer cookies. Students of the virtual cookie class will have the option to order a class ingredient kit. In its pie class, BAKE! will demystify the art of making pie crust, covering both pumpkin pie and apple pie.

BAKE! is Zingerman's hands-on teaching bakery in Ann Arbor, Michigan, offering dozens of hands-on classes on how to make breads, pastries, cakes and more, in its teaching kitchens, virtual classes and in private classes. BAKE! has earned a loyal following, both locally and nationally and has been featured in publications like Saveur, Travel + Leisure and Country Living. 

Zingerman’s Bakehouse is an artisanal retail and wholesale bakery and baking school in Ann Arbor. The Bakehouse has grown and evolved from being a bread bakery that solely serves Zingerman’s Deli. Today the Bakehouse proudly serves our Zingerman’s partner businesses, the southeastern Michigan community, and beyond, 363 days a year. The Bakehouse uses the best ingredients it can find including organic wheat flour, rye, and cornmeal and Michigan-grown grains like spelt and einkorn. For select breads and pastries, the Bakehouse freshly grind whole grain flours on the Bakehouse’s own stone mill at the Bakehouse.

The Zingerman’s Community of Businesses is a family of 11 independently operated businesses all located in the Ann Arbor area. Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig founded Zingerman’s Delicatessen in 1982. In 1992, Paul and Ari partnered with Frank Carollo to open Zingerman’s Bakehouse.