King Arthur Flour Sponsors The Kneading Conference in Maine

America’s Oldest Flour Company Supports Hands-on Baking Education

The King Arthur Flour Company is proud to sponsor The Kneading Conference, July 29-30, 2010, and the Maine Artisan Bread Fair on July 31, 2010, in Skowhegan, Maine. The conference features two days of intensive hands-on workshops covering topics such as sustainable grain cultivation, bread baking, baking as business, and earth-oven construction.

“Education and commitment to quality are cornerstones of our business,” says Tom Payne, marketing director at King Arthur Flour. “We are committed to improving grain quality whether it’s with our family and cooperative farmers in the Midwest or regional grain growers in New England. Education is a cooperative effort and that is why we are happy to add The Kneading Conference to the commitments we make to baking education, including our membership in the Bread Baker’s Guild of America and being a founding member of the Whole Grains Council.”

According to Wendy Hebb, The Kneading Conference coordinator, “It’s the quality of the presentations, the opportunity to immerse in hands-on learning, the easy camaraderie, and the delicious locally grown food at every meal that past participants cite as the reasons why the Conference is such a success.”

This year’s conference will be held at the Skowhegan State Fairgrounds, with plenty of room for setting up wood-fired ovens and building clay ovens. Campsites are available at the Skowhegan State Fairgrounds, as well. Conference admission is $300, or $250 for those who register by June 15. Work-study scholarships are granted each year to those interested in the field of wood-fired baking and/or local grain growing; applications are still being accepted from those who need help in meeting the expense of the two-day Kneading Conference. Admission to the Maine Artisan Bread Fair is free.

The Kneading Conference spans the spectrum from seed to loaf. “The revival of regional grain is a win-win for us as a company and the communities in which we do business,” according to Tod Bramble, national sales manager for King Arthur Flour and a Maine resident. “The Kneading Conference is an excellent model of a community coming together to teach its farmers about which wheat varieties will thrive in the northern New England climate, how to mill grains, as well as how to create bread from their crop of locally grown wheat.”

Jeffrey Hamelman, who directs the King Arthur Bakery and teaches professional-level classes at the King Arthur Baking Education Center, will present a keynote speech about the challenges and rewards of working with local grains. Hamelman will also talk about opening a successful bakery. “The introduction of our Vermont Grains bread to our bakery line-up - sourced exclusively from Vermont grown grains - only came about because of the time spent working with local farmers. As a result, we as bakers have a better idea of the challenges facing Vermont grain growers and the farmers have a better understanding of the performance requirements of bakers who are seeking to make good bread.” Hamelman is a Certified Master Baker, the highest rank available to American bakers.

The Kneading Conference brings professional and home bakers, grain farmers and millers, as well as wood-fired-oven builders to Skowhegan to learn the artistry and science of artisan bread from seed to loaf. Now in its fourth year, the idea for The Kneading Conference began with a group of Skowhegan residents, oven builders, millers and bakers who were motivated by the critical need to address wheat production in light of a growing local food movement. The first Kneading Conference was held in July 2007 in the heart of Somerset County, Maine, where historically wheat production fed over 100,000 people annually in the mid 1800s. More information about the conference can be found online at kneadingconference.com.

About King Arthur Flour

King Arthur Flour is America's oldest flour company and premier baking resource, offering ingredients and inspiration to bakers everywhere since 1790. The company's high-quality flour is available in supermarkets nationwide. More than 3,500 tested and trusted baking tools, ingredients, and recipes are available online at kingarthurflour.com. Headquartered in Norwich, Vermont, King Arthur Flour became 100% employee-owned in 2004, a founding B (Beneficial) Corporation in 2007, and sponsor of 1% for the Planet in 2014.