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Anna’s House

Local Partners : Michigan Bread

Back in September, Anna's House team members were given the incredible opportunity to visit our local partner, Michigan Bread. The family-owned bakery is located in Taylor, Michigan where they thrive in creating high quality breads without the use of additives. We were honored to hear heartwarming stories from the Assimacopoulos family about the growth of their business, as well as witness their labor intensive techniques and processes. We are very excited to share their story and share their delicious bread with our guests!

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Georgos Assimacopoulos (right) began a bread distribution company in 1973 out of the trunk of his car. This meant a lot of driving, loading the car with loaves and loaves of bread, in order to make a living and provide for his family. His son, Spiros (middle) and his brother began working together in their early 20's and decided to partner together. The Assimacopoulos family saw a need for high quality bread products created with the customers' needs in mind. They grew the distribution company until the opportunity to purchase a baking space was presented in 2010. One of their former suppliers needed to sell and Spiros eagerly purchased the space. The supplier happened to be a very traditional French baker and became the first major influence on the Michigan Bread products. Spiros and his team still identify with these traditional baking standards today. Spiros and his family highly value their customers' health and have maintained their mission to stay away from additives, chemicals, and preservatives.

"I want to be proud of the products we produce and feed people what is healthy," Spiros stated.

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President and CEO, Spiros is currently working towards achieving his MBA in order to continue learning and growing the business successfully. Surprisingly, he does not have a background in baking! Rather, he grows and adjusts the business and bread in order to focus on the customers' needs. This focused attention to growth and adaption is what makes Michigan Bread an extremely important partner. We are incredibly appreciative of all of the hard work that goes in to the creative baking processes.

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In order to produce hundreds of loaves a day, Michigan Bread's facility houses large machinery and incredible amounts of ingredients. Their on site silo stores over 70,000 pounds of flour! Their largest mixer holds up to 650 pounds of dough at a time.

Each bread variety uses unbromated and unbleached flour from King Arthur. Unbromated refers to flour that does not include potassium bromate, a slow-acting oxidizer that is used to quickly rise bread. The issue with bromate is its link to causing cancer within laboratory animals in the 1980s. Many countries, including the United Kingdom and Canada have banned bromate because of these scientific studies. Unfortunately, bromate is not banned in the United States, but bakers like Michigan Bread, know the importance of providing a clean, healthy product. The baking process is elongated by using unbromated flour, but knowing our guests' health is not jeopardized, makes it well worth it. Spiros, his team, and Anna's House agree that the cleaner the label, the better.

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Spiros showed our team members a fascinating ingredient called poolish. Poolish is a sponge substance that professional bakers use to help the yeast in bread spread evenly and consistently. Because of Michigan Bread's specialty of traditional breads, most recipes use the poolish as a pre-fermentation process. Every single day, their team utilizes 2,500 pounds of poolish to begin creating a variety of breads.

To make sourdough bread, the poolish is added to a two and half year old, natural yeast starter. 800 pounds of sourdough starter is used every day.

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The doughs are fermented overnight without added chemicals. This long process of bread making makes the gluten more digestible, making a delicious bread with health benefits to boot. It also creates complex flavors and textures within the bread, creating a satisfying, unique taste.

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When touring the facility, it was easy to see how hands on the Michigan Bread team is with every single product. As shown above, each pretzel twist is hand dipped in sodium hydroxide to burn and darken the bread into a pretzel. Team members check and test scale accuracy and automation every day to ensure the highest quality product. A station is even dedicated to weighing unformed, pillow-like, loaves of dough. The amount of accuracy that goes into each loaf is equivalent to how much care and pride Michigan Bread takes in their product. Each team member has a specific station and task, and each one was working hard and enthusiastically towards a shared goal: To make and share healthy, delicious breads for people in their communities and beyond. Each team member appeared driven with purpose and it was infectious!

Even with one dough base, this team is able to create several different styles of bread with their own unique flavor profile, texture, and shape. They are willing to go the extra mile by crafting specialty products for individual customers. They continuously improve processes, procedures, and flavors in order to make the highest quality bread.

Surprisingly, when Michigan Bread first began seven years ago, they worked with two employees. Today, they are proudly working with a strong team of 125 employees. As they continue to flourish, their facilities have expanded as well. The team is quickly outgrowing their 63,000 square foot building, which easily shadows the 6,000 square foot space they were utilizing in 2012. Their need for continuous expansion just shows their wonderful, evolving success within the Midwest.

As Michigan Bread continues to grow, their customer base will fluctuate with the market as people are wanting higher quality breads. With this surge of demand, they are beginning to automate certain processes to help the company keep up with growth. However, they are very careful as to where they automate, so as not to lose the human element in the bread making process. The company is committed to maintaining all quality and process standards, including human interaction, with the bread. This point of growth is where most comparable companies begin to bring in additives to cut corners, which is another reason we admire Michigan Bread's mission. Despite their bustling, bursting growth, they remain committed to serving their customers their absolute best, which in turn feeds our wonderful guests!

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Another example of attention to detail is the use of Banaton bowls, which are used for proofing and maintaining consistency, loaf shape, and design.

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Once the dough is ready to go, most loaves are baked in Thermo oil ovens. This method uses radiant heat, which is more eco-friendly and energy efficient than alternative oven styles. These ovens utilize a closed loop system which eliminates air flow to produce an even baking experience.

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The Thermo oil system expansion tank is placed in a room that reaches sweltering temperatures of 278 degrees Fahrenheit. In order to produce the most accurate and efficient system, Spiros brought in a welder from Germany for 6 weeks to construct the room and system.

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At this time, Michigan Bread is creating around 150 fresh, unique bread products each week. They are focused on providing bread for restaurants instead of retailers, making their product a real delicacy! We utilize a variety of their products for our breakfast and lunch dishes.

Anna's House is incredibly proud to stand beside and support Michigan Bread. Their longer fermentation processes, use of unbromated flour with no added chemicals, and a strong team, lead to an overall amazing product: High quality, Michigan-made, family-owned, healthy, and absolutely delicious bread. We greatly value and appreciate their mission to provide a cleaner label, even at a higher price. We value our guests' health as well as our budding local businesses. Our mission is to combine the two to create wonderful partnerships and a strong, local community over food.

If you would like to learn more about Michigan Bread, you can head to their website at michiganbread.com. We hope you will try one of their amazing products during your next visit to Anna's House!

Hours of Operation for all Locations

6am - 3pm

East Beltline

2409 East Beltline SE

Grand Rapids‎ MI‎ 49546

United States

(616) 551-0434

Plainfield

3874 Plainfield Ave NE

Grand Rapids‎ MI‎ 49525

United States

(616) 361-8500

Grandville

3766 Potomac Circle SW

Grandville‎ MI‎ 49418

United States

(616) 288-5855

Holland

12450 Felch St.

Holland, MI 49424

United States

(616) 294-1692

Kalamazoo

4700 Stadium Dr.

Kalamazoo, MI 49008

United States

(269) 372-3900

WESTLAND

6601 N Newburgh Rd

Westland MI‎ 48185

United States

(734) 228-5361