In the past year I have become a voyeur of several baking blogs. As a non-adventurous vegetarian, I find it easier to get interested and excited about baking, because the results can (usually) be enjoyed by both meat-eaters and veggies alike. I also appreciate and respect the science of baking, and the artistry of the results. Ingredients must be measured carefully. Oven temperatures must be confirmed. Butter must be cold. Water must be warm. Eggs must be room temperature. Peaks must be whipped stiff. Toothpicks inserted must come out clean. Sometimes the opposite of these are true…but don’t mess it up!
One of my favorite blogs has been Baking Banter on the King Arthur Flour website. The contributors are members of the personable, reliable and capable test kitchen staff, and every few days they offer up a new recipe with step by step photo instructions and clear text. They even read and reply to comments in the comments section – which is usually my favorite part, because it really shows their knowledge and ability to offer advice and encouragement to home bakers.
King Arthur Flour is America’s oldest flour company, started in Boston in 1790 before moving to Vermont. It was family-owned and operated for five generations before switching to 100 percent employee-owned. In addition to their wonderful line of flours, they also offer hundreds of other ingredients, baking tools, mixes, and have published several award-winning cookbooks – one of which is exclusively about whole grain baking. Their whole operation, which you can truly get a feel for by visiting their website or their retail store and baking center, just makes you feel good. They want people, seasoned bakers and novices alike, to get their hands dirty and learn how to make wholesome, delicious things in their own kitchens.
I live in Boston and I spent a few days in Vermont this past weekend with my sister Courtney and my mom. We all spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen, and it wasn’t difficult at all to infect them with my excitement to include a stop at the King Arthur Flour store and bakery in Norwich. It was heaven! I had given myself a budget of $50, so I had to make some tough choices, but in the end I settled on a collection of mostly ingredients like pizza dough flavor enhancer, dutch cocoa, and espresso powder.
I don’t feel quite brave enough yet to make BREAD, so I made pizza dough using pizza yeast and the pizza dough flavor I purchased at the KAF store.
The results were good. VERY good.
Perhaps its the proud fellow New Englander in me, but KAF ranks among my favorite baking blogs and baking supply retailers, and I know I am already planning my shopping list for my next visit to the KAF store.
Total dork, I know…