Blog & Bake 2012: building community through baking, a baker's dozen bloggers at a time

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Who are all those happy bakers? Well, you might recognize the lady in the middle, our friend Mary Ann Esposito of Ciao Italia fame (if you don’t recognize her, you clearly aren’t watching enough PBS!). A visit with Mary Ann was one of the highlights of this year’s Blog & Bake, our second-annual gathering of food bloggers for a three-day immersion in baking with us here in Norwich. (I’ll tell you more about everyone else in a minute!)

We held our first Blog & Bake last year and decided it was an event worth making an annual happening.

The purpose of Blog & Bake is twofold: First, to further our mission of supporting and expanding all aspects of baking – in this case by giving a select group of food bloggers the opportunity to be immersed in baking with our experts and, we hope, share some of what they learned with their readers and friends.

Second, of course, we hope to raise awareness of King Arthur Flour – of the resources we offer to all bakers (including recipes, publications, a hotline, classes, and more!), and of why “flour matters.”

Courtesy of Regan at The Professional Palate

Along the way we all made many new friends – a nice way to bring people together around baking and help build lasting relationships, both for us and among the participants – and lots and lots of delicious bread, scones, pies, palmiers, empanadas, and more.

We started our 3-day journey with a course in recipe writing with cookbook author, high-altitude baking expert, and guest instructor Susan Purdy. The class broke into two teams, each writing and preparing its own recipe; then they swapped and had to make each others’ recipes. Let’s just say it was an eye-opening experience even for the seasoned recipe writers among us!

After an informal gathering that evening, everyone rested up for the baking – and photographing, and eating – ahead, which started bright and early the next day.

Day 2 featured instructions in yeast breads and whole-grain scones; a flour demonstration (which kind of flour do I use where and why?), and a special afternoon with Mary Ann Esposito, who prepared a delicious dinner menu (Chicken Cutlets in White Wine, Sweet Potato Gnocchi, and Mom’s Chiffon Cake with Lime Curd) and filmed it as an episode to be aired on Ciao Italia next year.

We also got to enjoy Mary Ann’s menu at a special dinner prepared by the chefs at the Norwich Inn, where our guests stayed during the event.

Did you know that Mary Ann has the longest-running TV cooking show in the country? We’re proud to have been a sponsor right from the beginning and were especially happy to enjoy her expertise at Blog & Bake 2012.

Day 3 featured “portable pies” – pop tarts and empanadas born from instruction in a simple and delicious pastry crust – plus a nectarine tart and savory pesto palmiers that star in our blitz puff pastry course.

Matt from Thyme in Our Kitchen had this to say: “Our class on Tuesday was titled Blitz Puff Pastry and I admit that I doubted King Arthur Flour could pull it off. With my love of pastries I have spent days and hours rolling and laminating butter and dough to create the layers required for croissants among other things. It takes a long time but the end results are pretty spectacular. Could you really get similar results in less time? Apparently you can!”

How’s that for a ringing endorsement?!

After a tour of our test kitchen, contact center, and fulfillment operations, our new friends did a little shopping in our new store and got on the road.

Having enjoyed 3 jam-packed days of baking together, I was glad to hear that many were feeling inspired, energized, and ready for more!

Megan at Stetted made my day with her comments: “Even though I had called myself a baker before this weekend, the skills I learned are going to stay with me for life and continue my growth not only as a baker but as a food writer as well… I already feel weird not covered in flour…”

Blog & Bake is a fun event for me, especially; most of my interactions with the bloggers we work with are by email, so this once-a-year chance to meet and get to know some of them is like a breath of fresh air. Reading all their great posts is equally as exhilarating. I encourage you to visit all of their blogs to see their great photos and read more about the details of Blog & Bake 2012.

Regan – The Professional Palate

Julie – Mommie Cooks

Megan – Stetted

Matt – Thyme In Our Kitchen

Carolyn – Whisk. Write. Repeat.

Carrie – Bakeaholic Mama

Lisa – Fork On The Road

Astrid – Lunches Fit For A Kid

Mark – The Manly Housekeeper

Rashmi – Primlani Kitchen

Tara – Smells Like Home

Nikki – Art and Lemons

Winnie – Healthy Green Kitchen

Allison Furbish
About

Allison Furbish is a native of the Upper Valley, where King Arthur Flour is based, and an avid lifelong baker especially enthusiastic about anything chocolate.

comments

  1. Matt ~ Thyme In Our Kitchen

    Allison, you and the KAF team pulled together an amazing event and I was honored to be there. I had an amazing time and can’t wait to come back and visit!
    We’re so glad you enjoyed your time here, Matt. I had fun in the kitchens with you on Susan Purdy’s recipe development and writing day! Happy Baking! ~Mel

    Thanks Matt! I’m glad you came – and I’ve enjoyed reading your posts! -Allison

    Reply
  2. "Lacey O"

    Wow, that looks like great fun. I use your recipes often and would love to take part in a King Arthur Flour class. KAF is on my list of places I want to visit.

    We hope you will! Our new facility is really delightful. Happy baking! -Allison

    Reply
  3. foderaro

    I would love the recipe for the scones that you show on this blog, if that is possible.
    Our BEC recipes are more “guide” than recipe, as they assume the presence of an instructor to demonstrate steps and techniques. However, check out this five-star whole-wheat scone recipe – we think you’ll enjoy it! -Matt@KAF

    Reply
  4. hockeybear

    Oh wow.. I could easily see my mug standing among those smiling faces that were lucky enough to attend. (Matt, you lucky duck you!) :0)

    I’ll stay tuned to the blog to look for the details of the 2013 event!

    So glad you enjoyed reading about this year’s activities. If you have questions or are interested in learning more about this special event, please contact Allison directly, Allison.Furbish@kingarthurflour.com Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  5. heritagecook

    I would LOVE to join you all next year! Add me to your list of hopefuls. I have used your products for many years and love everything you sell. Thank you for always delivering quality products and recipes! — Jane Bonacci

    hi Jane. Thanks for making us part of your baking life. So glad you enjoyed reading about this year’s activities. If you have questions or are interested in learning more about this special event, please contact Allison directly, Allison.Furbish@kingarthurflour.com Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  6. bjsummers43

    How do you find out when the next Bake & Blog will be? How do you register for it. I live in the South nd have to plan he’d to one that far.

    Thanks,
    Becky Summers

    Hi Becky. So glad you enjoyed reading about this year’s activities. If you have questions or are interested in learning more about this special event, please contact Allison directly, Allison.Furbish@kingarthurflour.com Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  7. "Susan in the Boonies"

    Very cool! It’s fun to see someone I e-know who attended. (Matt from Thyme in our Kitchen.)
    I’d love to do this someday!

    Matt has a great blog, doesn’t he?! One of the best things about the event for me is getting to in-person know some of the folks I’ve only “e-known” – so much fun! If you’re a food blogger, feel free to contact me for more info: allison.furbish@kingarthurflour.com. Thanks! -Allison

    Reply
  8. superreader

    This looks like such a great event! I’d love to know more, like how folks are chosen/invited and all the “deets”. Most of all, are you planning a GF blogging event??

    So glad you enjoyed reading about this year’s activities. A g-f event sounds great! I’ll pass along your encouragement. If you have questions or are interested in learning more about this special event, please contact Allison directly, Allison.Furbish@kingarthurflour.com Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  9. "Aimee S."

    Oh, how I loved being a part of Blog and Bake last year! The food blogging community is tremendous, and when the host of the party is a company as wonderful as KAF, you know the things you learn are going to forever change the way you bake! I had such a fun, educational, and delicious time last year – so glad to see the event is continuing and growing. You guys at KAF are the best in more ways than one!!

    Thanks Aimee! It was great to have you here as part of the inaugural Blog & Bake! I agree – the food blogging community is amazing, and it’s wonderful to build those connections in person and enjoy the lasting relationships that form! Thanks for commenting. -Allison

    Reply
  10. Julie M.

    Great post Allison! The blog and bake was such an amazing experience. I feel honored to have had the opportunity to be a part of it. The tips and tricks we learned have seriously improved the way I bake and the way I think about flour. Thank you again!

    Thanks for coming, Julie! It was a pleasure to work with you – and I’m glad you’re a better baker for it! Keep in touch! -Allison

    Reply
  11. toula20

    It sounds like you all had a lot of fun. How can we enroll for next year?
    I’m a gluten free baker and I would love to be able to contribute to your cause.I am going to direct your comment to Alison and she can guide you. Betsy@KAF

    Thanks for your interest! This is an invitation-only event, but if you’re a food blogger and are interested in learning more about working with us, please feel free to send me a note: allison.furbish@kingarthurflour.com. However, I must warn you, this event is in no way gluten-free! ;-) -Allison

    Reply
  12. Winnie (Healthy Green Kitchen)

    Great recap, and thanks again for a fabulous time. I learned so much, and loved every minute!

    Thanks Winnie! It was so nice to work with you. I’m glad you learned and enjoyed yourself. I look forward to our continued partnership! -Allison

    Reply
  13. carolalord

    when is the cooking class for this year, how to see agenda and sign up.. ?

    Our Blog & Bake will happen again next June sometime; it’s by invitation, and the agenda changes year to year. For year-round classes, check out our Baking Education Center, where you can find links to sign up for a class. PJH

    Reply

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