Weekly Mix: King Arthur Flour Blog & Bake

This week, I was a very lucky girl indeed. I was one of thirteen food bloggers invited to King Arthur Flour‘s Blog & Bake™ in Norwich, Vermont. For three days, we baked and baked and then baked some more. We also visited farms and ate some amazingly delicious food. And, all the while, I got to know a very talented and generally awesome group of people.

I took literally hundreds of photos, but I will try not to overwhelm you with them. But, I do so want to share as much as I can about such an incredible experience. If you would like to see more photos, see my Facebook page or click here to got to my Flickr set.

Hogwash Farm with King Arthur Flour | Bake or BreakThe first thing on the schedule was a tour of two farms in the area. First was Hogwash Farm, a family farm that focuses on heritage breed animals. We saw Jacob sheep, Belted Galloway cows, and Tamworth, Large Black, and Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs. (Notice that those pigs are eating King Arthur Flour bread!) Of course, we all loved the baby pigs!

Killdeer Farm with King Arthur Flour | Bake or BreakNext, we visited Killdeer Farm, which specializes in organic vegetables and flowers. Rows of greenhouses are filled with all of those plants in various stages of growth. We got a great look inside all of those greenhouses to see how they nurture and grow tomatoes, artichokes, potatoes, herbs, beautiful flowers, and more.

Pizza Dough at King Arthur Flour | Bake or BreakThen, we got busy baking. We started by making a preferment of pizza dough. Quinn has always handled the pizza dough making around here, so this was relatively new territory for me. We worked in two teams to make plenty of pizza dough for all of us.

That evening, we were treated to a demonstration and dinner by Cabot. We heard from one of their farmers from Liberty Hill Farm. That place sounds like an experience, and I must visit someday! Chef Jimmy Kennedy, who is from my home state of Mississippi, demonstrated some great cooking, which we gladly sampled. We also got an entertaining and delicious lesson in cheese grading from Craig. All of that was followed by dinner and drinks, courtesy of Cabot and Harpoon Brewery.

Bread and Scones at King Arthur Flour | Bake or BreakDay 2 started off with breakfast at King Arthur. Let’s all just think about that for a minute. Breakfast. King Arthur Flour. Yeah, it was just as good as you might imagine. Then, we dove into baking bread and whole-grain scones.

If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you know that I’m not much of a bread baker. I learned a lot, but I still need practice. The scones, on the other hand, were right up my baking alley. They were quick to make and so delectable.

Muffins and Flours at King Arthur Flour | Bake or BreakWe then visited the amazing Susan Reid at the KAF test kitchens. If you’re a subscriber to The Baking Sheet, then you are familiar with Susan and her recipes. We talked a lot about differences in flours among KAF brands as well as other brands. As a very telling demonstration, we sampled muffins made from the same recipe using different flours. It was so interesting to see and taste the differences.

Pizza Party at King Arthur Flour | Bake or BreakThat evening we finished our pizza crusts, topped them with fresh local ingredients, and baked them in KAF’s wood-fired oven. As you can see, we made more than enough and sampled as much as possible.

Pie Baking at King Arthur Flour | Bake or BreakOn our last day, we had a little fun with a pie competition. After getting some valuable pie crust tips, we divided into three teams and were given a bowl of ingredients. Within an hour, we had to make a pie using all of the ingredients in the bowl and write our recipe. Then, we moved to another team’s station and made their pie using their written recipe. Pictured above is my team’s second pie. Not bad for an hour, huh?

Blitz Puff Pastry at King Arthur Flour | Bake or BreakWe also learned to make Blitz Puff Pastry, which is an amazingly easy and versatile recipe. Much like puff pastry and croissants, it’s made up of layers and layers of dough and butter. Using that dough, we made both savory and sweet baked goods. I was amazed at how quick and easy this recipe is. I have plans to make it this weekend and try some variations.

Simon Pearce Chef Demo at King Arthur Flour | Bake or BreakWith all our baking done, we were treated to a demonstration by Chef Jerod Rockwell from Simon Pearce Restaurant. After learning about spaetzle, chutney, gnocchi, and more, we were treated to all of those dishes and more at Simon Pearce. Plus, we watched wide-eyed and amazed as their glass blowers made their beautiful glass products.

The next day, we all left Vermont in our different directions. I could have stayed and baked a few more days! I wish I could adequately express how much I enjoyed my visit to King Arthur Flour. Now that I’m home, I am inspired to bake and can’t wait to use some of the valuable things I learned at KAF.

And, of course, I’m so happy to have met such fabulous people. Everyone at King Arthur flour was so hospitable and helpful. Plus, I had the pleasure of getting to know my fellow bakers. If you don’t know them already, you should.

Audra – The Baker Chick

Brandy – Nutmeg Nanny

Carole – Heirloom Meals

David – Spiced

Erika – In Erika’s Kitchen

Eva – Adventures in Cooking

Jen – Tiny Urban Kitchen

Kate – Food Babbles

Katie – Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Marnely – Cooking with Books

Rebecca – Foodie with Family

Tara – Food & Entertaining Director at Ladies’ Home Journal

Many thanks to King Arthur Flour for such an amazing few days of baking, food, inspiration, and new friends!

Jennifer of Bake or Break at King Arthur Flour Blog & Bake

Disclosure: I was chosen by King Arthur Flour to participate in Blog & Bake™ and was provided with this trip by them. All opinions are my own.

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18 Comments

  1. Kay April 26, 2013 Reply

    SSOOOOO Jealous! I love KAF products and just recently subscribed to the Baking Sheet digital version and print as well.
    I have used many of their products and love their recipes. What a great experience for you.

  2. Cathie April 26, 2013 Reply

    ^ EXACTLY what I was going to say. KAF is on my short list of day trips.

  3. Tahnycooks April 26, 2013 Reply

    All I can say is…..JEALOUS! But so happy for you and no one else that gets to experience such awesome opportunities! You deserve it for sure, I love your site! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Anna April 26, 2013 Reply

    What a fun trip! I’m jealous, too. We’re thinking about visiting them in June, but I haven’t made up my mind yet.

  5. Christie April 26, 2013 Reply

    *jealous* That’s awesome! I can’t imagine being invited to something like that.

  6. vanillasugarblog April 26, 2013 Reply

    I would not have been able to sleep knowing I was having a King Arthur breakfast.
    Oh seriously decadent.

  7. Katie April 27, 2013 Reply

    What a great overview of the trip. Terrific photographs. Especially I am melting all over again over the cuteness of the piglets:) It was so great getting to know you. I can’t wait to see what you bake up next.

  8. JEALOUSSSS

  9. Wendy April 27, 2013 Reply

    What an amazing trip and opportunity!! Its one thing to learn from experience (not a little thing at all) but quite another to learn from experts! Now to apply all of your new found knowledge and share! :)

  10. Kate | Food Babbles April 27, 2013 Reply

    It was a pleasure meeting you and baking with you! What a great recap of our time together. I haven’t even gotten to writing mine yet :) Trying to sort through the hundreds of pictures still!

  11. Carla April 28, 2013 Reply

    Well you already know how I feel (jealous!) :D I’m glad you got to experience it though and I was able to live it through your pictures. Now I’m in the mood to bake! Also, that blitz puff pastry is on my list to try.

  12. David April 29, 2013 Reply

    Awesome recap…how bad do you want to be bake in Norwich, VT right now? Just a week ago we were muching on about 46 different versions of delicious homemade pizza!

  13. It was great meeting you! And thanks for sharing all these photos, especially of the farm tour, which I missed. Kudos for getting this blog post out so quickly! Like Kate, I’m still sifting through photos too!

    Happy baking!

  14. It was such a treat to get to know you, Jennifer! I hope our blogging travels bring us together again. Thank you for sharing all these photos. I know we’re all probably pretty obsessed with our baking right now and can’t wait to see what you’re turning out of your kitchen!

  15. I’ve already reproduced the scones in my kitchen – next, the pizza dough! Although I’ll have to settle for my regular oven….

  16. Lauren May 7, 2013 Reply

    I have always wanted to go to King Arthur Flour in Vermont! My aunt also used to work at Simon Pearce and I’ve heard such great things about their restaurant. Maybe that needs to be my next trip!

  17. Kat May 8, 2013 Reply

    What an amazing opportunity! I learned so much just from the pie crust demo we saw from King Arthur Flour.

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