|Bread, bread, and more bread.|
I mean, this blog is only about a year-and-a-half old, and I've been writing since before ... well ... before there was an Internet. I wrote for newspapers and magazines and trade journals and catalogs. And I wrote press releases and advertorials company newsletters and fiction. I even wrote two plays. I've spewed a lot of words into the universe.
I got around to the blogging thing a little bit late.
So when things happen because I'm a blogger, it strikes me as a little bit funny. People really read this stuff, huh? Who knew.
Apparently King Arthur Flour knew. The ever-friendly Allison Furbish, media guru from King Arthur Flour, invited a bunch of bloggers to visit the company and take some classes. How could I refuse? When the King invites, you attend, lest he send a dragon to fetch you.
And besides, I'm always interested in learning new things about floury things. And they have a store filled with all the cool stuff that's in the catalog. I love baking stuff. Even though I knew I couldn't haul 25-pound bags of flour back with me on the airplane, I figured it would be fun to see the 3-D version of one of my favorite catalogs.
|Airport food. Not bad at all.|
I opted to go to the Denver Chophouse and Brewery where I had a burger and a beer. I figured that would tide me over.
It was going to be a long time before I reached my final destination, and I knew that airline snacks weren't going to be very exciting. What I didn't realize was that there was going to be a lot of food coming my way over the next few days.
|Every seat was a window seat.|
I landed a little early and called Allison, who very graciously picked me up at the airport. It was 9 p.m. on a Sunday night, and she even more graciously took me to a nearby restaurant, the Canoe Club, for some dinner.
Okay, honestly, I have no idea how close we were to anything. We were chatting like best friends and I was paying no attention to where we were going. Anyway, I had a local brew at the Canoe Club, but I was too tired to remember what the name of it was except that it was an oatmeal stout.
|Great mussels. Pretty bad photo. Sorry.|
Besides, I was there for the baking, not the local cuisine. But did I mention that the mussels were plump and tender and really, really yummy? And the stout was great, too.
After dinner, Allison took me to the hotel - or actually the Norwich Inn, which was a lovely place. There was even a fireplace in my room. Not that I spent any time in the room, but it was cozy and comfortable, and I had enough pillows and blankets to make me a happy, sleepy blogger.
Because of my late arrival, I didn't get a chance to meet any of the other bloggers that night, but in the morning as we gathered in the inn's parlor, we started introducing ourselves. I'm terrible with names, and was pretty happy when we all got name tags when we arrive at King Arthur's Education Center.
We also were let loose on a big basket of pastries that were baked on the premises. I didn't think I was hungry, but it's hard to say no to fresh pastries. And really good coffee.
We did so much in those two days, I'm going to have to break this into a few posts. It was an amazing two days.
Meanwhile, meet my fellow bloggers and other writerly types who attended the event:
Maryellen Apelquist - Weathersfield, VT - Love & Scraps
Kelsey Banfield - Fairfield, CT - The Naptime Chef
Casey Barber - Clifton, NJ - Good. Food. Stories.
Amber Bracegirdle - Scotch Plains, NJ - Bluebonnets & Brownies
Fiona Coxe - Boston, MA - A Boston Food Diary
Glenda Embree - Seward, NE - Busy-at-Home
Corin Hirsch - Burlington, VT - Seven Days
Jean Kerr and Bonnie Cartwright - Kittery Point, ME - Northeast Flavor
Jennifer Leal - Westerly, RI - Savoring the Thyme
Aimee Seavey - Boston, MA - The Apron Archives
And here's a group photo:
What? You want a recipe? Okay, here's the bread we made on the first day:
Recipe by King Arthur Flour
5 to 6 cups (20 to 24 ounces) King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup baker's special dry milk
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups (16 ounces) warm water
|Robyn Sargent and the Shaggy Mass|
Pour the warm water into the mixture and beat to blend well. (We used a Danish dough whisk to do the beating. I love gadgets.)
Stir in the remaining flour (as much as you need - not necessarily all of it) until the dough forms a shaggy mass. See the photo there to the right? That's Robyn Sargent showing us what a shaggy mass of dough looks like.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it. (Here's the deal. I used about 5 cups to get my "shaggy mass" and another 1/2 cup during the kneading. Your dough might need more or less flour) You'll need to knead for 8-10 minutes, until the dough is soft and elastic.
After the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and gently degas it by pressing down on the dough. Form it into a square/rectangular shape. Divide it in half, and form each half into a loaf of your desired shape. In class, we each made a standard loaf in a pan, and a braided loaf.
Cover the loaves with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
|Pretty, pretty braids.|
The braids didn't need slashing, and we didn't slash the ones in the loaf pans, although typically you would slash that shape.
Bake at 375 for 25-40 minutes (depending on the loaf shape) until the crust is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
Let the cool completely before slicing.
So, this barely scratched the surface of the first day at King Arthur Flour. I've got more to come, including a few more recipes. Meanwhile, you might want to check out what the other bloggers are writing about the event. Maybe you'll find a few new blogs to follow. I know I have.
Disclosure: King Arthur Flour's classes were offered free of charge, and they covered our lodging and fed us. We paid for our own transport to and from the event.
This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.