OTK took a trip outtathekitchen and into Vermont to visit a famous flour company founded in 1790 in Boston.
In 1984 it moved to Norwich, Vermont where it now has its central headquarters. Come along and visit the home of The Baker’s Catalogue.
On this pilgrimage to Camelot, the headquarters of the King Arthur Flour company, I visited the Baking Education Center, Baker’s Store, café and their kitchens.
This visit was particularly meaningful to me. In the early 1900′s, my grandfather Thomas Esersky used to take a train from Claremont, NH to Boston to buy King Arthur’s large bags and barrels of rye, whole wheat, and white flour for his Ward 7 Bakery. My grandmother Edith made a Russian black bread greatly favored by the local Polish and Russian immigrant populations.
The spacious retail center has an eye-popping array of every flour type imaginable, including gluten-free variations, along with packaged products such as scones and muffins, bread batters, cookies and squares, toppings, flavorings– everything imaginable for preparing baked confections. Plenty of upscale kitchen gadgetry and gifts galore at every turn, too.
There is also a new baking demo area where I met Lee who had just finished off some basic bread recipes and two kinds of scones, white and wheat flour. I enjoyed chatting with her (as well as “testing” the free samples. I could not believe how tender and rich the whole wheat scones were).
The highlight of the visit was the chance to go behind the scenes of the whole operation to see where skilled bakers make all the products for the KAF cafés and several nearby food stores.
These guys had been here since 4:00 AM and were still in a good mood. This kitchen looked like a very cool place to work. And it smelled heavenly.
KAF brags a 100% employee owned company.
Angela Fredericks, a 3rd generation baker from the midwest, works massive amounts of beautiful and elastic dough into exactly 3.5 lb loaves
Her grandparents and parents ran Frederick’s Bakery in Sheboygan.
Clouds of puffy and fragrant dough will see another rise before being baked.
These dough-rising baskets, or brotformen, are made of coiled willow and are sold for the home baker in the retail area.
Nearly 40 different varieties of bread are baked on the premises on specific days, (see listing at http://www.kingarthurflour.com/visit/bread.html ), but today featured deli rye and classic baguettes.
There is also an impressive cookbook selection focused exclusively on the art of baking.
For a listing of the King Arthur Flour series of cookbooks, see
And don’t forget to check out the handsome Commemorative edition of the Original King Arthur Flour Cookbook celebrating 200 years of KAF.
Next, it was time for a peek at the spacious education center. Courses are generally booked solid. I met guest teacher, consultant, and educator, JamesMacGuire of Montreal. He was preparing for the upcoming class on brioche and croissants– a challenging level of difficulty here. MacGuire emphasizes the importance of the artisan’s hand in making these French style breads.
When the new center was reconfigured and refurbished, the directors and staff decided to save the original bread oven. It now sits on the entrance to the property, and there are plans to develop a community oven program. It is a magnificent piece of masonry and seems to be weathering the Vermont winter well.
Before departing, I treated myself to a piece of roasted tomato pizza– fresh and yeasty crust with intensely flavored grape tomatoes and basil.
Nor could I escape the allure of the specialty raspberry and lemon curd filled cupcake. It never made it back to the car.
I am sure to return to shop and get the salted caramel glazed cupcake next time.
And I picked up a few items from the retail store as well.
No one escapes King Arthur Flour’s digs without some fond food memories and a couple of treasures from this castle of confection.
Peruse The Baker’s Catalogue and be prepared to experience a baker’s dream.
For an excellent history of the company, see
The website is terrific and there is plenty to explore.
Many thanks to my delightful tour guide, Terry Rosenstock, Public Relations Coordinator at KAF.