27 March 2010

Weekend Cooking: Say Hello to King Arthur

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.


If you paid attention to my cookbook shelves, then you saw that I own several King Arthur Flour cookbooks. I also get their Baking Sheet newsletter and buy many, many of their products.

Let me say right up front that I am just a happy customer and have no vested interested in the King Arthur Flour Company. Weekend Cooking, however, is all about foodie topics--from cozy culinary mysteries to recipes to great products--and today I'm happy to feature this fabulous employee-owned business.

I've been ordering from King Arthur for almost two decades, and I use KA flour exclusively in my kitchen. When I started to get serious about baking bread, I experimented with a number of flours and yeasts and tools, and almost every time, KA came out the winner. I do use a different bread machine from the one they sell and a different stand mixer (old-time customers will remember the "mixer wars" that KA used to print in their catalog), but I don't think you could go wrong following their advice.

I have even visited their store in Vermont. I was spending so much time shopping that Mr. BFR ended up going back to the car to take a nap while waiting for me. The staff was unbelievably friendly and helpful, and I ended up chatting away with the clerk and even struck up a conversation with a customer who was buying equipment to make her first loaf of bread. It was so much fun. One of these days, I'll have to take another detour to or from Maine to stop by the store again. Yes, a baking store is a vacation destination for me.

Nowadays, I can buy my KA flour right from the grocery store, but I still order cool gadgets and pans, grain mixes, and special ingredients from the catalog. They have the best plastic bread bags!

Here's a short video about their grain production:

Now on to the recipes! The first comes from their Baker's Companion, which is a great all-round baking book that covers breakfasts, desserts, flatbreads, crackers, cookies, quick breads, and yeast breads. There are how-to sections and information about ingredients and tools. The book also contains nutrition information, a feature I always look for. This is a solid baking book you'll turn to again and again. The second recipe comes from their latest "Baking Sheet." I tried it out last night and we both deemed it a keeper. You'll notice my great love of all things maple syrup in these recipes.

King Arthur Baking Companion at Powell's
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Maple Cornbread
  • 1 cup (4¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (4¾ ounces) yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) milk
  • ¼ cup (2¾ ounces) maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick, 2 ounces) butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease an 8 by 8-inch square or 9-inch round pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt until thoroughly combined. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and serve warm.

Beth Fish's notes: I use a stone-ground cornmeal.

Banana-Maple Oat Breakfast Cookies
  • 1½ cups (12½ ounces, 2-3 fruits) mashed bananas
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces) plain or vanilla low-fat yogurt
  • ¼ cup (1¾ ounces) sunflower or vegetable oil
  • ½ cup (3¼ ounces) light brown sugar
  • ½ cup (5½ ounces) maple syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon maple flavor
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups (10½ ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1½ cups (6 ounces) KA White Whole Wheat Flour
  • ¾ cup (3 ounces) chopped dried fruit
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) chopped nuts
  • ½ cup (2½ ounces) sunflower seeds
Mix all the ingredients in the order listed. Cover the bowl and refrigerate 1 hour to let oats and flour absorb liquid.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

Spread the batter in prepared sheets into two ½-inch thick by 2½-inch-wide by 10½-inch-long bars. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes until light golden brown at the edges. Remove from oven and let rest on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Cut cookies into pieces, about 3 inches long. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Beth Fish's notes: I use grade B maple syrup, which has a stronger flavor than most syrups you buy in the store, so I left out the extra maple flavoring. I used pecans for the nuts.

EDIT: I don't know why Mr. Linky is acting up with duplicate links. Just link on up and I straighten it all up on Monday.


caite 3/27/10, 7:53 AM  

I too am a fan of KAF. I first found them because they were the only source I could find for an Irish, soft whole wheat flour (which I see is currently unavailable! what is with that?)that I need for my Irish brown bread.

But then I started checking out all their cool gadgets and, most of all, their great recipes, complete with very useful readers comments, and I was a total fan.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) 3/27/10, 8:06 AM  

Thanks for the heads up on the flour. Grocery store choices can be so limiting. I think I will need you to make us some of that cornbread in May.

Julie P. 3/27/10, 8:20 AM  

I use KAF whole wheat flour, and I've been happy with it. I just saw this cookbook the other day and thought it looked wonderful!

Jill 3/27/10, 8:22 AM  

Oh, I'm definitely trying the maple cornbread! I'm not much of a baker, but I think I could handle this :) Thanks for hosting WC!

JoAnn 3/27/10, 8:23 AM  

The Baker's Companion may be the next cookbook added to my collection - the recipe for Maple Cornbread looks delicious. Had to look up the store address and realized I've been close to it quite a few times. Next time we head to Hanover, I'm there!!

Beth 3/27/10, 8:28 AM  

I love KAF too! It's the only flour I'll use. I just bought my first KAF cookbook last weekend--The Whole Grain Flour Cookbook. I can't wait to crack it open this weekend!

I really enjoyed the video on wheat production--I like knowing that they spend so much time on their final product.

Molly 3/27/10, 8:35 AM  

My mom used to get their catalog all the time! I should continue that tradition and see what I have been missing.

You simply must make the time to visit Kitchen Arts and Letters when you are in NYC for BEA. It is a bookstore on the upper East side totally devoted to cookbooks!

Beth F 3/27/10, 8:42 AM  

Molly, you know me so well -- I've got that store on my don't-miss list!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 3/27/10, 9:15 AM  

Ooh! That maple cornbread sounds like the perfect side for the barbeque pulled pork sandwich recipe I posted today :)

bermudaonion 3/27/10, 9:27 AM  

I use King Arthur whole wheat flour, but for some Southern dishes, I have to use a low protein flour like White Lily.

Margot 3/27/10, 10:53 AM  

I prefer King Arthur flour - when I can find it. I'm glad to hear about the catalog and newsletter. I like the look of both your recipes. I've never thought about maple syrup in my cornbread. I've sen people put it on their cornbread but not inside. I'll have to try it.

S. Krishna 3/27/10, 11:26 AM  

I don't think my grocery store doesn't carry King Arthur flour!! How frustrating. I'll have to check for sure next time I'm in there.

Lynda 3/27/10, 12:50 PM  

Maple syrup corn bread - oh my - I'll have to buy some maple syrup this week and make this ;0)

Sandy Nawrot 3/27/10, 1:30 PM  

Mmmmm...those recipes sound SO GOOD! I almost exclusively use this flour as well, but I had no idea they had the whole package going on. I guess it makes sense that if you love the product, you will love their recipes too!

Heather 3/27/10, 4:18 PM  

Very interesting post. I didn't know anything about this company and their flour. I signed up for their email newsletter. And am sticking with the maple theme this week.

porcelaine 3/27/10, 9:51 PM  

I love King Arthur's products! I swear by them for baking purposes. For those looking for it in their local vicinity, check Trader Joe's or Whole Foods.

Alice 3/29/10, 1:36 AM  

This is the first time I'm reading about KA flour. I might be able to find this in some specialty supermarkets. Not very sure about this, but I'll be on the lookout. :D

Susan 3/29/10, 11:40 AM  

I love the fact you do this on the weekends - thanks for hosting such a great idea!

Veens 3/31/10, 4:40 AM  

I just keep on thinking that I will be a baker of bread and cakes one day and enthrall my family! Till now, it has not happened though.. last time I tried something...it was such a mess that my mom literally kicked me out (that was b4 marriage LOL!) and in my kitchen I really do not want that kind of things happening.. because we have been here only 31 days LOL!

But I am sure envious of people like u... who jus are so GOOD! Darn.. i could follow a recipe to its ultimate disaster.. i know i will :D

You might think how i manage cooking at all.. I really dnt know, luckily my hubby is a sweetheart but does remind me from time to time that my dishes never taste the same the 2nd time around LOL!

Have a good day, Beth!

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