Come bake with us: a virtual visit to King Arthur Flour.

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So what’s with the piece of initialed masking tape on this lovely loaf of rising bread?

Well, when you have 12 bakers mixing dough, shaping loaves, and setting them on racks to rise – all at once – things can get a little hectic. In the nicest of ways, of course.

We like to call it creative energy: the energy and spirit of bakers at work, connecting and bonding with one another over bread, pie, fancy cakes, scones, sticky buns, or…

Take your pick, from the hundreds of classes given every year at King Arthur Flour’s Baking Education Center. People from all over the country – from “I’ve never baked anything in my life” to seasoned pros with their own bakeries – gather for sessions ranging from 2-hour demos to week-long “intensives.”

I recently visited the final afternoon of a 4-day course, “Bread: Principles and Practice.” Come along with me and see what it’s like.

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Bob is learning that when we say baguette dough should be REALLY sticky at first – we mean it! After a minute or so of kneading, Bob’s dough becomes much more cooperative, and shapes up nicely.

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Sharon O’Leary (center), one of our long-time artisan bakers, is the chief instructor for this day’s class. Here she discusses with students some of the finer points of rising.

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Watch and learn…

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Here Sharon is drawing different types of slash patterns the students will try on the tops of their round loaves.

Watch and learn…

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…now try it yourself.

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Everyone takes turns slashing loaves that are about to be rolled into the bakery’s French steam-injected oven, an enormous brick oven constructed on site – by a fellow who flew over from France solely for that purpose!

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A few final loaves are readied…

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…then into the oven they go.

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Later, the class bakes their baguettes. Beautiful crumb, eh? Check out those holes!

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With class nearly finished, Bob gathers his loaves into a bag.

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Finally, our education center director, Susan Miller, honors every student with an apron, a certificate, and an honorary “royal name” in the “knighting” ceremony that concludes this particular class.

Trust me – a fine time was had by all. At the BEC, it’s miles of smiles. Always.

Want to make baguettes at home? Follow our step-by-step directions.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Becky

    That looks like such fun. I would give my left arm to go to a class… no wait… kneading would be to hard then. Guess I’ll just continue to dream. Maybe one day I’ll make it up to your neck of the woods. :)

    Reply
  2. YDavis

    I would love to attend one of your baking classes. I have baked breads before and have made your baguettes before but I know I still have a lot to learn.
    Speaking about the baguettes, when I made it, I didn’t get as many holes. Is there a special technic to get those holes? Did I not knead it enough? A good rule of thumb to remember is ” The wetter the dough, the bigger the holes “. Baguette dough is usually so slack that you can’t knead it in the traditional manner, but the kneading occurs as you fold it.Mary @ KAF

    Reply
  3. Joyce from NC

    I took the Principles and Practices class a couple of years ago. It was wonderful!! I highly recommend attending. Now I bake every loaf of bread we eat in our house. In fact I am making French bread on Saturday to have with cheese fondue.

    Reply
  4. susie

    These pictures bring back good memories of the KAF class I took last year with Susan Miller. Can’t wait to come back this fall for the bakery class. I’m so glad I live in New England!

    Reply
  5. Memoria

    You all are too lucky for words. I would love to work and live there haha. That store! The café! The bread-baking class!! The baking in the early hours…well, 3:45 am doesn’t appeal to me, but handling all those loaves of dough does! Like someone above me stated, I wish VT were closer to TX. I may have to make a special trip to Norwich. Thank you for sharing this amazing video, blog, website, recipe, and services.

    Reply
  6. Rosa

    I would love to attend one of your classes, buy all that I need from your store and drink a coffee at your café… Unfortunately, I live in Switzerland :-(! Thanks for sharing!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    Reply
  7. Kathy

    Enjoyed the video. Would love to attend a class!! I love baking breads and anything with yeast. And I imagine the smell there to be wonderful. Maybe some day I’ll get to visit that part of the country.

    Reply
  8. Ellen

    I visited the Bakers Store last year and WOW…seeing the video was just another magical moment for me. Thanks so much!

    Reply
  9. Mike T.

    Nice video, but I had to wait until today to see it on my computer as it is in Flash (yuck) and can’t be viewed on either an iPhone or iPad…

    Reply
  10. dorothy martin

    Attended a class years ago in AnnArbor , mi Any dates available for returning to Michigan- will not miss coming.

    Check our fall catalogues for the fall/winter schedule, Dorothy – not sure yet where we’ll be… but thanks for asking! PJH

    Reply
  11. Gloria McCrae

    I live on a ranch here in Eastern Oregon. My love for baking breads is inherited as my Grandmother cooked on cattle ranches in Southern Oregon. I have several of your recipes that I use and sour dough is our favorite and I make 8 loaves at a time, so even though I have a lg kitchen bread day doesn’t leave much room for anything else. I even froze and vaccum bagged loaves and sent to our son when he was stationed in Afghanistan. I too would love to have you closer not only for products, but learning new techniques.

    Reply
  12. Liliana Szachury

    Hello:
    I love make bread, when I watched this video I wanted to take a course!!! , how I know when the course start? it’s only in summer or all the year round? and if my grandoughter can go? she loves it too!!! she is 11 years old, we some times make bread here in my home and she would like to take this course too, so, could you tell me please where I can get all the information about it? and the cost and if is an Hotel close to it?, and congratulations!!!! you are the best!!!!

    Hi – I’ve sent this comment to the director of our educaiton center – she’ll send you an email answering your questions, OK? Thanks for your enthusiasm! PJH

    Reply
  13. Mina Mullins

    Loved the virtural visit to KA and all the good instructional info. Hope someday to visit Vermont and KA store. Thanks for your wonderful e-mails and catalogues.

    Reply
  14. Sue Hansen

    Seeing a bakery like this brings tears to my eyes, and shivers. There is something awesome about creating, from the grain that grows in the earth, a loaf so nourishing and beautiful.

    Hope to go someday!
    Sue in Tallahassee

    Reply
  15. Gina

    You’ve just given me a great idea for my vacation this year! I have been racking my brain for where to go…Vermont it is! It will probably be early October…please please please would you schedule a class to make whole wheat breads like that?

    Check out our fall schedule sometime mid-summer, OK, Gina? We do offer whole grain classes regularly. PJH

    Reply
  16. Georgia

    I’m with Becca! Vermont is too far from Texas. It’s really NOT nice to tempt us southern girls this way!

    Reply
  17. Barb

    Dear KA
    I have always enjoyed your emails, this was no exception. I only use King Arthur flour in my house for years now, l make cakes of all kinds for friends
    and family Wedding etc. Love my bread maker from you. Wish my store
    carried your Cake Flour (Meijer) could you influence them? Keep up the good
    work, a loyal customer for life.
    Barb Cox
    babs101@fuse.net

    Barb, ask Meijers to carry cake flour – it’s probably available to them, but they won’t order unless they think their customers (you!) want it… Thanks for being an advocate! PJH

    Reply
  18. linnie

    aside from all the usual compliments – why are people preparing food with their hair all a-flutter. Isn’t a part of food safety keeping your up or covered or at the least in a pony tail?

    The people preparing food, as well as our bakery front employees, wear hats – fully approved by the state of Vermont. Our bakery and café are inspected regularly by state officials; and we meet all food safety regulations. So, hope that helps answer your question? PJH

    Reply
  19. Pat in TX

    It is wrong, just WRONG, to post a video like that to people who are starting to wonder how much longer they can make it without air conditioning in TX, and from the comments above we can see that we are not your only TX followers!! First I watched it, then eight of my children crowded around to watch it more than once. We calculated it is 1850 miles from our house to you:-/ We are wrong to covet your circumstances (and yes, we do so in the winter too:-), but alas it is also a sin to lead us into temptation… Great video – keep up the good work!!

    Reply
  20. Maggie

    Loved the video and post! I don’t have the time to bake as much as I’d like right now and so this blog often acts as virtual baking for me. The virtual tour of the KAF bakery and store is very fun! Hopefully someday I’ll be able to visit in person. Thanks!

    Reply
  21. Peggy

    Just love this video! I’m nearing retirement and we’re trying to decide where to retire to. Have been looking south, but KAF is making me think seriously of north! :)

    Absolutely love your products…

    Reply
  22. KimberlyD

    Please come to Saginaw MI, Ann Arbor is to far for me to drive. You could use the Dow Event Center or the Horizon Center.

    Reply
  23. Susan Dunker

    Great video….. and to me it looks like another day in paradise! Love your work and products. Keep it up!!!

    Vermont is too far away from Indiana!

    Reply
  24. linnie

    I should have been more clear in my question – I have no doubt of your employees standards – I was thinking about the people taking the bread class – well at least that’s what my brain thought but it did not make it out my fingers.

    Ah, gotcha. Sorry I misunderstood. Since the food they’re making isn’t for sale; and they take it home themselves, students aren’t required to wear hats or plastic gloves. (I totally understand about what goes on in your brain vs. what comes out your mouth or through your fingers, too! I’m with you there.) : ) PJH

    Reply
  25. Daniel

    I love the lames these students are using… why aren’t these sold on your website? The metal handle version with the replaceable blade looks much nicer than the plastic disposable one you currently sell. Who do I need to bug to get those on your website? You obviously have them in the building! :)

    thanks
    daniel

    Daniel, I’ll absolutely pass this comment along to our product development team. Thanks for the suggestion- PJH

    Reply
  26. Terri A.

    About 10 years ago, a couple of friends and I got up at 3:30am, drove to the airport, flew up there, rented a car and spent several hours in your store and flew back that afternoon. Next time I do that, I’ll spend the night and take a class, but we had a great time on our adventure! We all brought a big carryon bag that was empty on the way up and completely full (and then some) on the way back. Great memories!

    Now that’s my idea of “road warrior,” Terri. This must have been before security screening at airports was so tight – they would have thought you were nuts! I was once coming home from a trade show with 10 pounds of Irish butter (from the Kerrygold booth next door), and they took it away from me at security. Said it was a “gel.” I was SO bummed I lost my Irish butter!! Hey, thanks for connecting here- PJH

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Now that’s my idea of “road warrior,” Terri. This must have been before security screening at airports was so tight – they would have thought you were nuts! I was once coming home from a trade show with 10 pounds of Irish butter (from the Kerrygold booth next door), and they took it away from me at security. Said it was a “gel.” I was SO bummed I lost my Irish butter!! Hey, thanks for connecting here- PJH

  27. Rosie B.

    I wish I could attend this class too. Actually, I’m very good at bread-making and own several specialty pans I ordered from King Arthur.

    Seeing this video makes me want to order a round, clay bread pan.

    Reply
  28. Marilyn

    I enjoyed the video and the shop and cafe are so impressive. I too would love to take one of your classes. My boys are sure that I single-handedly have keep you in business!! But for now being able to access “how to” cooking tips on your website is very helpful. I felt terrible reading about your butter experience. I love baking with the Kerrygold butter. I was hoping you would open a second store and it would be located here in Kansas….after all we produce the best wheat for you!

    Reply
  29. Erika

    I love the video. There is just something about baking bread that warms heart and soul. I have early memories of the smell and taste of my mothers bread. I also enjoy baking bread but I need a lot of pracitce to be as good as my mom.

    Reply
  30. Phyllis Dickler

    I would like a schedule for the rest of the summer, up coming fall and the winter. Thank you. And a belated “thank you” for the Passover recipes this year. Hope you will have some “good stuff” for Rosh Hashona and Yom Kipper, in the fall.

    I’ve passed your email along to our Baking Education Center, Phyllis – they can send you a schedule… Thanks for your interest – PJH

    Reply
  31. Frank Gerlach

    I am a Pastry chef with 35 years at the trade and when baking breads I have always used Montana flours for the best loafs of bread. I read the other day that your bakery uses wheat from Kansas. Have you ever tried Montana bread flours? Maybe you better not, as I don’t think Kansas could stand the loss of your business for bread flours. Sorry if I have offended any of your customers from Kansas but you really should give Montana hard Red Winter wheat berries for milling your bread flour a try. I bought one of those little grain mills from a company in Nebraska and grind my own whole wheat bread flour using wheat from Montana. The bread it makes is wonderful and especially using the whole wheat flour about an hour after I mill it, makes the best tasting whole wheat bread I have ever eaten. All my children told me its the best bread I have ever made. I’m guessing that its because the wheat that I grind has all the wheat Berrie in the flour with nothing taken out like the big mills do. They have to remove part of the wheat Berrie, otherwise the flour will go bad because of all the fat and oil in the whole Berrie that will go rancid. They remove this so the flour has a long shelf life
    The grain for our flour is grown in different locations in our country depending on the type of flour needed. The description of whole grain or whole wheat flour is that it contains the entire wheat berry. This means all the bran and all the oil (germ). The shelf life is shorter but when stored properly it will not become rancid. JMD@KAF

    Reply
  32. Nancy Decker

    Hi, loved the video! Have been a fan of KAF since I found your website last summer. I was lucky enough to visit your store last week, so much more fun that just than perusing the catalog!!! I too would be interested in the Baking Class schedule for September. Last week was our first visit to Vermont and we loved it sooo much, we’re coming back the middle week of September and I would LOVE to take a class, particularly bread baking. Keep up th great work…
    The schedule for September should be posted pretty soon on our site. Keep checking, Nancy! We would love to see you in Vermont again. Elisabeth @ KAF

    Reply
  33. Emily

    Now that’s my idea of “road warrior,” Terri. This must have been before security screening at airports was so tight – they would have thought you were nuts! I was once coming home from a trade show with 10 pounds of Irish butter (from the Kerrygold booth next door), and they took it away from me at security. Said it was a “gel.” I was SO bummed I lost my Irish butter!! Hey, thanks for connecting here- PJH

    Reply
  34. Anne Cohen

    This gluten free cake I made using the cake mix from King Arthur Flour is so amazing that it tastes completely like heaven! It is so easy to make and then, bake! It is also whole lot better than the one from Betty Crocker! I highly recommend it so you can see for yourself how easy it is to make an impeccable cake that a professional baker could make for a competition in the Food Network Challenge! Thank you, King Arthur!!

    Reply

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