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.

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17 Responses to “Ten Baking Tips from a Professional Baker”

  1. #
    Vicki — September 23, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    My friend and I took that same pizza class with Susan Miller in April. She is so sweet and such a great teacher. So much fun. We didn’t want the class to end. Hoping to do another class at KAF this winter. Love your blog!

  2. #
    Fun and Fearless in Beantown — September 23, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Great tips!

  3. #
    Krystal — September 23, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Awesome tips, and it looks like a lot of fun at the KAF…how cool is that!!

  4. #
    We Are Not Martha — September 23, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I guess I usually cook my veggies before putting them on pizza, but I never thought that you had to! VERY good to know. Also, I need to go smell my whole wheat flour ASAP. Great tips 🙂


  5. #
    Kris @ everywhereorange.com — September 23, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    fantastic tips!!! i just smelled my flour and threw it out!!! thanks so much!!!

  6. #
    Eliana — September 23, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    What a great batch of tips! Thanks for much for sharing.

  7. #
    Megan — September 23, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Wow. You remembered so many awesome tips! It’s surprising to look back and see how much we all learned and picked up on in such a short time. I love this list.

    Did you get to watch Just Desserts last night? Drama, drama, drama!

  8. #
    theblogisthenewblack — September 23, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Wow, thanks or these great tips!

  9. #
    nutmegnanny — September 23, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Awesome tips 🙂

  10. #
    Kerstin — September 23, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    What a cute idea for a post – love it! Just voted for you too 🙂

  11. #
    meghan — September 23, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    This is a great recap. I feel like I learned more last weekend than I have in awhile. . . or maybe I was just more interested in baking than most other things! 🙂

  12. #
    Shannon — September 24, 2010 at 1:46 am

    thanks for passing along the tips!! i was bummed i couldn’t make it 🙁

  13. #
    WizzyTheStick — September 24, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    All great tips! I love the first one so simple but really useful

  14. #
    The Small Boston Kitchen — September 25, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    LOVE IT! This post was great. Such a fun weekend, great job summing it up!

  15. #
    Sarah — September 25, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    I love these tips! Thanks so much for posting them. And thanks for the info about KAF’s baking help hotline – I will DEFINITELY be using that!

  16. #
    newlywed — September 25, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    That is an interesting tip about whole wheat flour!

  17. #
    Daisy — September 27, 2010 at 1:45 am

    such a great post! very nice recap and photos of all the tips we learned.

    I’m glad you and your girlfriends enjoyed The Abbey this weekend as well! new restaurants are so exciting.

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