"KingArthurFlour" news and stories
It's the same for me each year. I start making cookies that require rolling out, but by the time I've rolled and cut out my first sheet's worth, I'm already tired of the process and ready to quit. Happily, PJ Hamel from Bakers' Banter, the baking blog from King Arthur Flour understands my short attention span and has posted two techniques that speed the process of turning roll-out cookie dough into discs of edible deliciousness.
The first recommendation is that instead of rolling out your dough, you can scoop it into balls and let it bake into soft rounds. When those cookies are still warm, simply cut out the center with a tiny cutter for festive cookies that required far less fuss than is typically required. The second technique does require some rolling out, but offers a whole host of tips that will enable you to make gorgeous cookies with much less effort than you expended last year.
Let the baking begin! And thanks, PJ, for all the great tips!
If you haven't heard about rising food costs by now, I'm sure you must have noticed them for yourself in the supermarket. Flour prices have gone up by 15 to 25 percent, but King Arthur Flour has some good news.
Baker's Banter, the blog aspect of the King Arthur Flour website, posted a letter from Michael Bittel, Senior VP and General Manager, yesterday that announced an immediate decrease in the price of their flours. It seems that the popular flour miller made some smart buying decisions, which allowed them to buy a good supply of wheat for less, so they're passing that savings on to the consumer.
King Arthur is lowering the prices it charges to retailers on it's Unbleached All Purpose, Unbleached Bread, and Traditional 100% Whole Wheat Flours. So look for lower prices in your local supermarket, and if you don't see them you know it's not King Arthur's fault.
The lame probably originated in France, but it was quickly adopted by artisan bakers in the US. It creates a score on the top of the bread that even a very sharp knife can't achieve, which is due to the curve of the lame as well as it's razor edge. When the bread expands in the oven, the crust will split at some point, no matter what. Scoring the top not only creates an aesthetically pleasing look to the bread, it also allows the baker to control how and where the inevitable split will be.
The lame is used by holding it gently by the very end, and dragging it across the surface of the dough just before putting it into the oven. You need to use enough pressure to cut into the dough, but try not to go too deep. Also, the lame should be held at a slight angle to the dough to get a proper ear. Most doughs with a stiff enough consistency should get a good ear, but really wet doughs will not.
The best one I could find for a home baker was this lame from King Arthur Flour.com. It should stay sharp for quite some time, and it comes with the blade guard for more safety while you're not using it. Professional bakers have a lame which has a replaceable blade, while this version does not. At under $7, this lame could be a great asset to your tool kit if you're really serious about bread.
A couple of days ago, a friend sent me a direct message on Twitter that said, "My God. You should blog about this recipe. I'm drooling down to my socks." He included a link that took me to the picture you see above. It turned out to be a post on the King Arthur Flour blog from March with a pictorial recipe for Hot Cheese Bread that is so wonderful and gooey with cheese that it just begs to be ripped into.
I'm not much of a yeast baker, quick breads are more my style. I'm thinking though that I might need dip my toe into the bread baking world again in order to try out this bread (I'm already dreaming of the cheese I'd use in the middle).
Has anyone tried this recipe? Was it as delicious as it looks?
The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion is a staple for home bakers. You can never go too far wrong with a batch of freshly baked cookies for any audience at any occasion, and this book delivers more cookies than you'll never make. It features more than 400 recipes for everything from really homey, old-fashioned snickerdoodles to delicate tuiles and decorated cookies. If the sheer number of recipes seems overwhelming, the book offers up 9 "essentials" with a few variations, if you want to make a batch of crispy oatmeal cookies and chewy oatmeal cookies, for example. It also has a very thorough baking guide at the beginning of the book, detailing techniques and giving tips for troubleshooting any recipe problems that you encounter. There is even a whole page of information specifically about baking at high altitudes - something which almost all cookbooks overlook.
The recipes are very detailed and written in a friendly manner, as though a close friend were looking over your shoulder. You can get a sampling of some of their recipes, from this book and others, on the King Arthur Flour website.