In the kitchen with the King

My love affair with King Arthur Flour started back in the early 80s, when a dear friend—the one who introduced me to the sublime taste and creamy texture of real Cuban-style black beans—took up bread baking. I’d been using unbleached, non-bromated flour for a decade at that point, but after Jorge raved about KAF, I switched. I have never, repeat never, looked back. And I still have, and use, the worn KAF souvenir dough scraper he gave me.

About eight years ago, my husband’s brother and his wife—my beau-frère and belle-soeur, as the French so elegantly say—moved to Vermont. Needless to say, I was beyond excited when we made our first visit to headquarters in nearby Norwich. My sister-in-law is an avid baker, so we were well-matched partners in crime. Since that first visit, our KAF pilgrimage is an annual event.

In between those trips, there have been countless mail orders to keep the pantry full. Just about everything in my baking cupboard bears the King Arthur label (except, maybe for Bakewell Cream®, which I purchase from KAF and about which you will hear more eventually). In fact, I call the KAF catalogue “my wish book”, which is what the original Sears-Roebuck catalogue was called before most of us were born. In the cabinet that holds my baking equipment,  you will find dough buckets, bread pans, sheet pans, and cake pans,  purchased from King Arthur. I have always found these products among the most reliable on the market; it is obvious that care goes into the product selection process.

With #retired time on my hands, I’ve spent much more time baking. In the last three months, we have purchased only one loaf of bread. I’ve experimented with many different KAF flours and blends for bread, pizza, and pastry. The pizza flour blend is terrific. The white whole wheat is a great way to add whole-grain fiber and nutrition to quick breads, muffins, and substantial cookies (oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, for example), for which I typically use half white whole wheat and half unbleached all-purpose. For pies, KAF makes a nice whole wheat pastry flour; but I still prefer unbleached all-purpose. The buttermilk and baker’s dry milk powders are great staples to keep on hand. I could run on and on, but this post already sounds like shameless commercial promotion.

Taking a class at KAF is on my #retired bucket list. Occasionally, their baking educators hit the road; the website has that information. I attended a session near my home about a dozen years ago. Classes are now available online if you can’t get to Vermont or find one in your area.

If you like to bake, and you haven’t visited the KAF website, please treat yourself. The recipes are sensational, and if you have a question or problem, there’s a Baker’s Hotline as well as online recipe reviews. Did I mention, by the way, that KAF was founded in 1790??? Who else can claim that kind of success? Plus, in 1995, owners Frank and Brinna Sands, contemplating being #retired, sold the company to their employees. See www.kingarthurflour.com/about/history.html for a complete history. What’s not to like?

9 thoughts on “In the kitchen with the King

  1. Nancy McLeod Carter says:

    KAF is the BEST! I agree that their recipes are easy to follow and the results are predictably scrumptious. I haven’t tried any of the specialty flours, though, so I’ll check out the website as I make pizza frequently, and would like to see how the pizza blend affects my longtime recipe. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rebecca Garcia-Pons says:

    It’s been lovely getting to see him through your memories over the past years; thank you. Not sure if it was on purpose, but his birthday was yesterday, too.

    I must have been too young to have an awareness of KAF, but I’ll definitely be giving it a try on my next grocery store run. Wonder what it’ll do for my empanadas..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Helena says:

    About the KAF hotline, they are amazing. I don’t remember what I was baking, but one of their bakers spent almost an entire afternoon holding my hand as I struggled with a very difficult recipe. I called twice. After the second call the baker gave me a phone number so I would not keep getting a different person. When I finally got it in the oven, before I had a chance to call back to say thank you, the phone range. It was the baking angel checking to see if I was okay. So, do not hesitate to call them. BTW, I was never asked if I was a KAF customer.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Helena says:

    BTW, dear Sis, we have actually been up here in the North Country for a little over 11 years. I have idea where the time has gone, but a lot of good baking has happened.
    ❤❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

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