Blog & Bake: food, photos, and friendship at King Arthur Flour

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What’s this? A food photography class? Brick Oven Baking 101?

How to use an EXTRA-long baker’s peel?

All of the above, plus much, much more. The first 2-day Blog & Bake conference here at King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vermont, which wrapped up yesterday, included 11 food bloggers from around the country.

Writers/photographers all, they baked, talked, took classes, shot pictures, made what we hope are lasting connections and, of course, collected some great experiences to share on their blogs.

It’s all about the food – of course! Day one began with breakfast, then a 3-hour bread class, followed by lunch…

…and the opportunity to share experiences.

Some tales were serious, such as that of a hostile manager who asked this blogger and her family to leave his restaurant when she requested permission to photograph her meal…

…and some were much more lighthearted.

After lunch, King Arthur test baker and Baking Sheet editor Susan Reid offered a comprehensive class on flour, including baking the same muffin recipe with 8 different flours. The results were quite interesting.

Bloggers then started the overnight dough for brick oven pizza.

The day concluded with a demonstration by Sara Moulton, long-time chef of the executive dining room at Gourmet magazine, and a chef-host of television shows on both PBS and the Food Network.

The bloggers watched with rapt attention as Sara prepared an imaginative dinner menu featuring flavors of the season…

…prepared with local ingredients.

The group then traveled to beautiful downtown Norwich for dinner at the Norwich Inn…

…featuring the menu Sara had demonstrated, prepared by the Inn’s chefs.

Wine and candlelight…

King Arthur Flour ciabatta rolls…

A salad featuring local arugula and a warm goat cheese mini soufflé…

The entrée: chicken breast stuffed with spinach and chicken forcemeat, bound with heavy cream, with wild mushroom sauce.

And sides: a spicy dish of fresh garden peas and onions, and herbed spaetzle.

Ah, dessert… Fresh buttermilk cake doughnuts, shaken in spicy ginger-sugar, and accompanied by brandied hot chocolate.

Speaking of doughnuts – next day, the bloggers went out of the frying pan…

…into the fire – the wood-fired brick oven at King Arthur’s Baking Education Center.

The flaming logs, burning down to embers preparatory to baking pizzas on the hearth, proved quite enticing to those with a camera.

“How did it come out?”

Instructor Michelle Kupiec gave some last-minute advice, before the group tops their crusts and tries their collective hand at wood-fired baking…

…from making and topping their own crust…

…to loading it into and out of the wood-fired oven…

…to tweeting the results!

After lunch, everyone made delicious savory tomato pie and sweet strawberry-rhubarb tarts, with the first strawberries of the season from the farm stand next door.

Pies safely out of the oven, most of the group ended their time at King Arthur with a tour, including the test kitchen. As happened throughout the 2 days, there was much kibitzing.

King Arthur blogger MaryJane Robbins talked about using gel paste food colors mixed with vodka to paint her stunning cookie creations.

As the group prepared to depart, event organizer Allison Furbish thanked everyone for coming – and the attendees assured Allison they’d had a blast.

Even the sometimes fickle Vermont weather cooperated beautifully!

Interested in more on Blog & Bake? Check out the blogs of those in attendance:

Maryellen Apelquist
Weathersfield, VT
Love & Scraps
Recipes, Rantings and Ravings from a Vermont Kitchen

Kelsey Banfield
Fairfield, CT
The Naptime Chef
Fitting great food into family life

Casey Barber
Clifton, NJ
Good. Food. Stories.
A chronicle of delicious conversations

Amber Bracegirdle
Scotch Plains, NJ
Bluebonnets & Brownies
Tex-Mex and Southern comfort food

Fiona Coxe
Boston, MA
A Boston Food Diary

Donna Currie
Longmont, CO
Cookistry

Glenda Embree
Seward, NE
Busy-at-Home
Living abundantly on a frugal budget.

Corin Hirsch
Burlington, VT
Seven Days
Vermont’s Independent Voice

Jean Kerr
Kittery Point, ME
Northeast Flavor
for all things delicious!

Jennifer Leal
Westerly, RI
Savoring the Thyme

Aimee Seavey
Boston, MA
The Apron Archives
vintage traditions in today’s homes and kitchens

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. Aaron Frank

    Do any men blog about baking?

    Guess I shouldn’t complain since I quit writing my blog.

    Thanks
    Hi Aaron,
    Actually, we did invite some guys to our first Blogger event, but they weren’t able to attend this year. Hopefully it will become an annual event for us. If you do start blogging again, be sure to let us know!!! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  2. "Edie Luce"

    MaryJane, I hope you will blog about using gel colorsand vodka. I like to paint cookies as well and would be very interested in learning how you do it.

    Edie Luce
    Hi Edie,
    I’ll definitely add it to the list to do around holiday time. I really love the look you get, it’s like watercolors or tole painting, and it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. Thanks for the suggestion. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  3. "Scrap Lover"

    Awesome photos. Thanks for sharing! We all had such a great time. Thank you so much, King Arthur Flour peeps. You’re the best! ~ Maryellen
    Right back atcha! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  4. Astrid (Lunches Fit For a Kid)

    How do I get invited to something like this? (I’m even in Vermont, though up in Colchester…)
    :D

    http://lunchfitforakid.blogspot.com

    HI Astrid,
    Personally, I’m hoping this will become a regular event here at KAF. Plus once our new facility is done, we’ll have more room and I’d love to see many more new faces. I love reading your blog and your Facebook posts. The rainbow bread is still one of my favorite pics. Definitely keep in touch, and let us know anytime you are nearby! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  5. donperley

    Mostly I just drop photos on your facebook page. Maybe I should start blogging!
    Go for it! Blogging is such a wonderful, creative outlet and blogging about baking is the best blogging out there :)
    ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  6. Aimee from The Apron Archives

    I cannot tell you how bizarre and amazing it is to see myself in the KAF Bakers’ Banter Blog – which I have been faithfully reading for years now! What a thrill!

    Spending two days with such fantastic bloggers and the talented KAF staff was a memorable experience in more ways than one. I had so much fun, learned so much, and ate so many yummy things! You guys are THE BEST. Hope I can visit again soon for another class!
    Oh, Aimee I’m sorry I didn’t get to say a good-bye to you and Fi and Jen. I do hope you all will come back, it was a delight to meet you. We hope to hear from you on the blog and community site and can’t wait to read more of YOUR blogs too. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  7. Aaron Frank

    Reading my comment it sounds snarky and rude to me. I’m sorry. I didn’t intend it that way. I love you folks at KAF. You’ve taught me and encouraged me quite a bit over the years.

    Sorry,

    Aaron
    No worries at all Aaron. You’ve always been a very pleasant and helpful voice here and it was a genuinely good question. Now, if you had commented on our hair, shoes or nails, you might have had troubles. ;) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  8. trericha

    This looks like so much fun; I would love to attend something like this with my fellow food bloggers!!
    This event was so wonderful, I’m hoping we’ll host many more in the future. Tell us about your blog, we’d love to check it out! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  9. Jen @ BeantownBaker.com

    Looks like a great trip! I know I had fun last fall at KAF and I can’t wait to hear all about it on these ladies blogs.

    Reply
  10. bonniekay68

    I posted this morning that my face still hurt from so much smiling over those two days – very true!

    It was an experience I’ll never forget. All of it – the Wonderful people and teachers at King Arthur Flour Company, the fantastic classes where I learned so much, to the great people we met at Blog & Bake, to the fabulous products I got at the store that I can’t wait to try! It was truly a stellar time all around. Thank you so much KAF!!
    It was a delight for us too. So many new friends. Can’t wait to read all the blogs myself. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  11. mbhunt

    If you do a “tweet-up” I’d love to be included!
    I want to learn about those ovens, and learn more about bread-baking, and eat that great food, and go to a real farmstand, and meet a celebrity chef, and shop AT your store instead of ordering and waiting for the box to arrive and EAT THAT ROLL!~~~
    Sweet! We’re becoming more active on Twitter, so you never know what the next year will hold. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  12. GoodFoodStories

    I hope we didn’t freak everyone out too much with our constant photography – but we have to show the world how incredible everything is at KAF. Thank you ALL for hosting us so warmly!
    You guys were terrific! We’re already talking reunion :0. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  13. glendaembree399

    P.J., these are great! (We really did have our cameras in hand, all the time, didn’t we. lol ) You did a great job of capturing all our fun! It was so fun to meet all of you at King Arthur! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and making us feel so welcome.

    Glenda, I’m glad you enjoyed it – it was very enjoyable meeting you, too, and your fellow food scribes and photogs… Always nice when we birds of a feather can flock together! :) PJH

    Reply
  14. bskipton

    It looks like everyone had an amazing time. I’m sure all the non-bloggers are green with envy. Any chance you’ll post any of the recipes? Especially the stuffed chicken breast with the wild mushroom sauce and the warm goat cheese mini souffle? Looks amazing!

    That would be up to our teammates at the Baking Education Center… You might try contacting them and asking, OK? PJH

    Reply
  15. amber219

    Such great photos, guys. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed Monday and Tuesday. I learned so much, and you very much cured my yeast and pie crust anxiety.

    I made the mistake of launching my redesign as soon as I got home, and fixing all the bugs in that has taken over my life. I haven’t even had a chance to look at my photos yet! I can’t wait to post about our experiences and share with the world what I already knew – Everything that makes King Arthur Flour amazing is down to one thing: each of the people that make up King Arthur Flour are amazing.

    Love you guys, and can’t wait to visit again. The hubs and I are already talking Norwich Inn as our Fourth of July destination!

    Amber, it looked like you all had a wonderful, relaxing day and evening. Thank you so much for your kind words. ~Amy

    Reply
  16. sara.m

    Oh my goodness that looks like so much fun! I’ve never been to Vermont and always wanted to go and if this became available I would have to make plans :) If I was asked to come anyway! I write mainly about my weight-loss and just rounding out my life with more hobbies (sewing/baking/cooking). Even though I’m trying to lose weight I refuse to bake low-fat, no joy in that I say! If I want a good homemade cookie or some delicious brioche I’m going to have it, just eat a serving and not the entire thing :)

    My blog is Wrapped in Happiness if you are interested! click here

    Reply
  17. "Mom Spotted"

    How fun is this! I just had a reader send me your link about this and asked me to check this out! Your classes sound amazing but unfortunately most are sold out. I’d love to be included in any future events :) I’m just down 91 :)

    Jennifer
    http://www.momspotted.com
    Hi Jennifer, and welcome. We are so glad you found us. Be sure to sign up with our customer service department so that you can receive our weekly emails and keep up to date on our specials and promotions. You can keep informed of our class calendar on the education page of our website. We look forward to having you with us! ~Amy

    Reply
  18. Foodiewife831

    Oh, my goodness! What a lucky bunch of food bloggers! I live in California, and it has been one of my biggest dreams to come to KAF myself. I’m a food blogger and I have posted several of your recipes. Because of KAF, I no longer use bleached flour. I’m a convert! My pantry is a tribute to the wonderful selection of products you sell. You could say that I’m a HUGE fan! I’m going to put it out there, that I would LOVE to have a chance to attend something like this. I’d fly out there so fast, my credit card wouldn’t know what hit it! My blog is “A Feast for the Eye” (www.foodiewife-kitchen.blogspot.com).

    Glad that you are enjoying our products. Your blog and photography are marvelous! Happy Baking, Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  19. Bakery Hermosa Beach

    Have you ever considered throwing a cupcake party? Cake is so last year, Cupcakes are where it’s at! There are entire cookbooks devoted to the art of Cupcakes. Ever had a Tiramisu cupcake? Ever gotten a group together to see who can create the funkiest cupcake? Bakery Hermosa Beach is fun and where it’s at!

    Reply
  20. thelittlekitchen

    What a great event! I saw a little about it on twitter and loved following my fave food bloggers having fun. :) I <3 KAF and am so happy I can find AP flour at Sam's, now if they can start carrying your bread flour, I would be so happy!

    Reply
  21. morganautumnmoore

    While I am not solely a ‘food blogger’ I do frequently blog about food & recipes I’m cooking up.

    I would come to VT in a HEARTBEAT for your “Blog & Bake” Please, please, please let me know next time you do it- I would love to come (if you’d have me, of course : )

    xoxo
    Morgan

    Reply
  22. morganautumnmoore

    I would love, love, love to come to something like this. While I don’t only blog about food, I do often share recipes & what I’m making. I would be over the moon to come out from LA. Please let me know if you ever do this again, I would be on the first flight out! xoxo

    Reply
  23. Lillian@sweetsbysillianah

    This looks like a blast! And Sara Moulton…wow! I wouldn’t mind driving up to VT (from Long Island, NY) for this next year if you guys decide to host another Blog & Bake!

    Reply
  24. AlizaEss

    I’m in Baltimore and luckily was able to attend a King Arthur workshop hosted by Johns Hopkins in May! It was an open to the public event with delicious free brownies and cookies, a fabulous raffle, and a demo for how to make a false-braid pastry. For the people who wish they could have attended this blogger event I recommend trying to find out how to get that kind of workshop, it was a very fun foodmaking event! I’ve got some photos posted here: http://www.baltimorediy.org/2011/05/king-arthur-baking-workshop-51411.html

    Reply
  25. JenSchall

    Wow… What a great experience, and a lucky group of bloggers!

    It sounds like everyone had a fantastic time! I’d love to know more about the Blog and Bake events in the future, especially because I blog about bread baking pretty frequently!

    Reply
  26. "Burnt My Fingers"

    I’m a man, I blog, and I bake! I’m also an easy drive from you in Saratoga Springs, NY so I’d love an invite to a future blogger event.

    Check out my take on cooking and eating at http://www.burntmyfingers.com . Not much bread and baking yet… I’m trying to get the man-cave recipes out of the way…. but it’s on the way.
    “Man-cave recipes”… Love it! The best person to get in contact about it is Allison Furbish (allison.furbish@kingarthurflour.com), since she’s our Web/Media (and blog!) Relations gal. She’d be happy to chat with you about a future Blog and Bake! ~Jessica

    Reply
  27. Kate | FoodBabbles.com

    How could I get involved with Blog & Bake? This sounds like a wonderful event!
    Hi Kate! Give us a call in customer service so that we can gather some information from you to pass on to our media relations coordinator, Allison. I’m sure she will happy to reach out to you. ~Amy

    Reply

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