the traveling bakers

by Stacy

My pantry currently contains over 20 pounds of King Arthur Flour. Half of that is whole wheat, a little over five pounds in bread flour, and their all-purpose flour makes an appearance as well. The Vermont-based company is employee-owned and takes great pride in its programs and products. They even have a bakers’ hotline to call in case of baking fiasco!

As a long-time follower of their blog and user of their recipes, I was excited when I saw that their traveling baking demonstration was making a few stops in southern California. The last city on their trip was San Diego, so I went.

They offered a morning session on yeast breads, but it started at the same time my husband had to go to work (we share a car) and was half an hour away. Instead I just attended the afternoon session, “Perfect Pies & Tarts.”

So did over 200 other people.

king arthur flour ladies

(Sorry for the terribly-lit, slightly blurry photo. The ladies were kind enough to pose for the photo after the session before cleaning up and getting ready to head back to Vermont. I was trying to be quick.)

After a brief introduction to the company, the “show” was turned over to Robin who demonstrated how to make a flaky pie crust (small pieces of butter for tenderness, larger flattened pieces for flakiness) and roll it out (in one direction, turning often, rolling away from yourself like “the rays of the sun”). She also demonstrated a tart crust with several filling and decorating options.

With the amount of reading I do I’m not sure I learned anything mind-blowing, but it was fun to attend.

Plus, the demo was only most of the presentation. They also gave away prizes!

First up: five-pound bags of their various “standard” flours. Next were two-pound bags of specialty flours, then scone mixes. A cute flour sack apron went home with an attendee, and another apron had an accompanying instant-read thermometer!

I was a little bummed that I didn’t get any flour, and it would have been really nice to get the thermometer. I had almost given up hope when they called my ticket number.

the cookie companion

The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion: The Essential Cookie Cookbook came home with me. I’ve only flipped through it briefly as it is a substantial tome. I’m hoping to test a recipe or two this weekend. Most exciting? The measurements are given by both weight and volume (many cookie recipes are volume-only).

It also came with a plastic bowl scraper ($1.95 value!) which is one of my favorite kitchen tools. All the attendees got coupons and a booklet containing 10 recipes (the featured demonstrations plus some variations and more).

I definitely came out ahead! If you see a notice for a King Arthur baking demo near you, try to go. You’ll probably learn something, and you might even win something!

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