What a weekend, definitely one of the best I have ever had! I have so many photos, recipes, and so much fun to share that it is definitely going to take more than one post.
A few months ago, I received an invitation from Megan to take a baking class at King Arthur Flour in Norwich, VT. As you many know, I was not a baker (yes I said WAS!), but a trip up to VT in the fall with a bunch of Boston bloggers sounded like fun. In the weeks leading up to the trip, Megan organized our accommodations, and Alicia organized a group dinner. With all of the planning and emails, I could not wait!
We all met in Central Square to caravan up to King Arthur, and I got to ride with Alicia and Elina. As we left the noise and crowds of the city behind, we welcomed the beautiful mountains and just-changing leaves of NH and VT, and we were at King Arthur Flour before we knew it. We spent some time wandering around the baker’s store, and then regrouped outside to meet our King Arthur hosts for the day.
Beautiful Norwich, VT
The King Arthur Baker’s Store is a home-baker’s paradise, with every type of flour and mix imaginable, plus tons of pans and other fun kitchen stuff.
King Arthur provided us with a delicious, homemade lunch, a homemade, outrageously good birthday cake for Megan, and tons of information on the history of King Arthur Flour and the magnificent resources available on their website.
King Arthur Flour was actually established in Boston in 1780, which made it quite appropriate that a bunch of Boston food writers were their first blogger group! Kept in the Sands family for 5 generations, the company was sold to the employees in 1996, and it is now 100% employee owned. Throughout our entire King Arthur experience, it was evident how invested each employee was in the company, and it was nice to see.
King Arthur’s multitude of flours are naturally pure, unbleached and without chemical additives. Because they are all natural and made the same way each time, their makeup is consistent, ensuring the delicious results that bakers want each and every time.
The King Arthur Flour website has something for everyone, and it demonstrates how dedicated they are to promoting home and professional baking. They offer a newsletter, baking blog, recipes and baking resources, an online community, and even a baking help line for live assistance!
They are also doing some great work in the community. One of my favorite things to learn about was the Life Skills Bread Baking Program, an initiative that goes into communities to teach 4th-7th graders how to make bread, then gives them the ingredients to bring home to make two loaves with their families, one to keep, and one to give away. I love how this program not only promotes real, homemade food, but it also promotes family time, giving, and helps kids build a sense of accomplishment and confidence. We need more programs like it in the world!
Once we finished lunch, we made our way over to The Baking Education Center to get our hands in some flour.
We met our instructor, Susan Miller, and had the afternoon of a lifetime.
I think we all hung on every word and movement that Susan made. There were LOTS of photos taken.
Then it was time to get down to baking business. Our first task? Pizza dough for our own wood-fired pizzas.
I caught a few shots of my fellow blogger bakers in action. Daisy and Bridget started their pizza dough by measuring flour the right way – gently shaking a scoop of flour into the cup to allow sufficient air in. Packing the flour into the cup reduces the amount of air and can add as much as 2 ounces more flour than you want. Not good for the precision baking requires.
I loved the simplicity of the pizza recipe, and I had so much fun throughout the day coming back to my bench and seeing the dough rise. Here is the evolution of my pizza throughout the day.
The end result, so delicious! I was really proud of all of us and the work we did. We came from a variety of backgrounds, from professional baker to the baking challenged, like me, but we all left with a handmade pizza (and oh so much more!).
I’ll leave off here for now, but I can not wait to share more of our brownie-baking, cracker-making, food, wine, and laughter filled weekend!