Did you know that springtime in Vermont is roughly equivalent, temperature-wise, to deep winter in south Louisiana? Despite highs of 45 and lows below freezing, I ventured to Norwich, VT, last week, home to King Arthur Flour. In a tiny, historic town along the Connecticut River, America’s oldest flour brand (since 1790) operates a corporate headquarters & warehouse (boring) and a baking education center/retail bakery/store (fascinating and fun).
Visiting the KA Baker’s Store feels like walking into the KA catalog: flour in every protein strength all the way up to 50-lb sacks, many grain varieties (nongrains, too), baking tools, books, ingredients from almond flour to yeast. The inventory includes chocolate in bars, feves, chips, and bulk, holiday-themed cupcake papers, flavorings and extracts, and King Arthur’s custom-crafted line of baking mixes.
Adjacent to the retail space is a first-rate bakery, with made-on-site pastries, savory baked goods, a rotating array of breads, and a full menu of coffee and tea choices. My chocolate croissant contained not one but two bars of chocolate. (Over several days, I managed to sample the ham & cheese croissants, currant scones, raspberry bars, sugar cookies, as well as savory turkey and ham sandwiches on housemade bread.)
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about the “baking in a wood-fired oven” course with KA head baker Jeffrey Hamelman.