Shopping at King Arthur Flour

Hi!  Alex and I have been running around and away from our computers most of the week.  We have a couple posts coming for you soon, but in the meantime here’s a quickie.

Today we visited King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vermont.  Their on-site store had more baking products than I knew existed.  Not surprisingly, they have a lot of flours.  I mean a lot.  King Arthur has been milling flours since 1790, making it the oldest company in the US that’s still creating the original product it started off with.  I was excited about their high-gluten flour (good for bagels, I think) and their pumpernickel flour.  I was amazed by their European-style, French-style and Irish-style flours (wow…they’re all different?).

They also had their signature Special Flour in 100 lb bags, which is apparently the secret weapon behind a lot of professional bakeries.  I’m not certain what makes it “special.”  Maybe because its blend is patented?  Mind blowing that there are patented flours. (*Update: see the comments below for a correction and more info.)

They also had a lot of yeast, though in their on-site bakery they seem to swear by the Saf instant yeast.  The yeast measuring spoon was probably the most absurd item in the store, second to the onion goggles (designed to protect your eyes while cutting onions).  Alex wouldn’t let me post the picture of him wearing the onion goggles, but I can assure you he looked really cool in them.

I was excited about their dried whole milk.  I’ve only seen non-fat before.  This would be great for one of my ice cream recipes…and backpacking.  (Anyone know what non-diastatic malt powder is??)

I was also totally smitten by their amazing selection of chocolate chips, their Vietnamese cinnamon and the endless varieties of vanilla extracts and pastes.

I was a little mystified by the gummy Blueberry Jammy Bits, though.  Are they like putting gummy candies in your baked goods?  I can’t picture too many things I would use these for.  The color of the lemon ones scared me a bit.  Any ideas out there?

Alex’s favorite product in the whole store?  Not the amazing and never-before-seen baking products.  No, it was the Fluff (but, hey, at least it’s vegetarian!  No gelatin).

More on our pizza making class at King Arthur next week!  Have a great weekend!


6 thoughts on “Shopping at King Arthur Flour

  1. Hey, thanks for this great post. Much appreciated! Glad you enjoyed your visit. Just to clarify, “special” is our bread flour. It started out being called “Special for bread machines,” then was shortened to “special for bread,” and now it’s just “special.” And the word “patent” you saw actually doesn’t have anything to do with the patenting process… it’s a milling term referring to a certain part of the wheat berry. Diastatic malt powder helps yeast convert starch to sugar, so it can eat (yeah, we’re getting a little deep here!) And the lemon flavor bits – coincidentally, I had the MOST delicious lemon pudding cake using them last Friday… recipe to be posted soon. Thanks again for visiting – PJ Hamel, King Arthur Flour baker/blogger

    • Thanks so much for the correction on the Special Flour! Lots of people use it that don’t have bread machines, right? Or no?

      Also glad to know about the malt powder. I guess the non-diastatic malt powder gives bread a malty taste without feeding too many sugars to the yeast?


  2. Um, this looks like the best store ever. I would have died and gone to heaven! In all of my serious baking books, they tell how important the flour is, especially in bread making. Thanks for posting!

    • Megan, you would have loved it! I was totally overwhelmed. I needed an interpreter, or something. Maybe a guidebook. You should have seen me waffling back and forth between buying a whole bunch of flour and realizing it would be totally absurd to carry 5 lb bags of flour from Vermont to California. Ha!

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