A Trip to King Arthur Flour
This weekend I got to spend an afternoon at the King Arthur Flour (check them out on their blog, Facebook, or Twitter) in Norwich VT with 9 other Boston Bloggers: Megan (definitely check out Megan’s blog – she’s the one who dreamed up this whole trip!), Kerstin, Meghan, Alicia, Bridget, Michelle, Elina, Kristen, and Katie.
Today I’m going to let you know how the trip went and on Thursday I’ll be posting the Top Ten Baking Tips that I took away from learning from a pro – so be sure to check back then.
We started the day with lunch provided by King Arthur Flour. Their catering department whipped up some sandwiches on the most amazing bread ever. While we were eating, Allison talked about KAF’s history and their outreach programs.
Allison explained that KAF is the oldest flour company in the US and was started in 1790. Their flours are grown and milled right here in the United States. They have the strickest regulations for their flour. What does that mean for you? It means that their flour will have a consistent protein content which means it will bake the same way today that it did two years ago.
King Arthur Flour does a great deal of work with the community. The first thing they do are they’re Traveling Baking Demos - which are free demonstrations about pies and yeast breads. They are kicking off the 2010 season in the Midwest the first weekend in October. Be sure to check out their schedule!
They also do the Life Skills Bread Baking Program. This sounds like a GREAT program. The people at KAF will give a demonstration on bread baking to students in grades 4-7. Then the kids go home with recipes and ingredients to bake two loaves of bread. One of the loaves of bread is to be enjoyed with their families and the other is donated to a community organization of the school’s choice. The best part? This is all provided FREE of charge by King Arthur Flour. So if you know anyone in grade 4-7 or any teachers, let them know about this awesome program.
The last thing Allison told us about is The Baking Circle, which is their online community. You can post recipes, ask for advice, or even just start up a discussion. In conjunction with the online community, KAF has a Baking Hotline. You can literally CALL a professional baker with your questions anytime between 8am and 9 pm during the week or 9am to 5pm on the weekend. How cool is that?!? If calling isn’t your style, you can shoot them an email or even talk to someone online through their live chat!
Next we headed over the Baking Education Center for our class. They had compressed a couple classes into one for us! We made pizza dough, whole grain crackers, and whole grain brownies (recipes and photos will be posted within the next week so watch for each of those).
I think our instructor, Susan Miller (who is also the director of the Baking Education Center at KAF), was pretty shocked at the amount of pictures we all took!
The people at KAF were so generous to us all. They gave us a goodie bag filled to the top. Here’s what we got: Dough Whisk (I forgot to include it in my picture!), a box of one of their mixes – we all got a different mix – I got Lemon Bars, a 5 lb bag of Whole Wheat Flour, a 5 lb bag of White Whole Wheat flour, a box of the unbleached cake flour, a plastic scraper, the Fall 2010 issue of their Baking Sheet, and the Whole Grain Baking Cookbook!
At the end of class, we had just enough time to browse the baking shop. Here’s a picture of my booty and a list of the items I bought at the store: Baker’s Special Dry Milk, Cappuccino Chips, Fiori di Sicilia, Unsweetened Coconut, Candy Thermometer, Muffin Pan Sponge, and two cute dish towels.
Once we piled all of our goodies into our cars, we headed over to the Norwich Bed and Breakfast. We had the whole place to ourselves! We shared a few bottles of wine before heading out for dinner.
Then Alicia organized an amazing meal at Carpenter and Main. They use local ingredients as much as possible and the service was spot on. Of course, the food was amazing!
The next morning, we all went outside to snap some pictures of the beautiful view. I also bought a dozen farm fresh eggs from the owner. She said they had been laid last week. I can’t wait to use them!
Then we hit the road to come back to life in Boston. I had a blast getting to know the other bloggers who were there, some of whom I had never met!
Be sure to check back Thursday for the list of baking tips that I learned while I was in class.