King Arthur Flour, America’s oldest flour company, has opened a new baking school at Washington State University’s Bread Lab in Skagit Valley, Wash. The baking school is part of a new 12,000-square-foot Bread Lab facility that also includes bread and milling laboratories, a professional kitchen and meeting areas for collaboration and experimentation.
“The work of The Bread Lab is inspirational to King Arthur Flour,” says Susan Miller, director of baking education at King Arthur Flour. “Their commitment to rebuilding regional grain economies through breeding wheat varieties for flavor and nutrition gives us a wonderful opportunity for continued growth and discovery in the field of baking. Teaching bakers how to bake with both new and ancient whole grains and how to adapt recipes to new varieties is really exciting to us. The King Arthur Flour baking school at The Bread Lab welcomes the added benefits this close collaboration will bring to our instructors and students alike. While we will continue to teach our traditional offerings, we look forward to incorporating what we learn from The Bread Lab’s work.”
Four free classes on pizza, biscuits and scones, autumn pies and tarts, and bread, will be offered in October. Classes begin on Nov. 5, and registration is open online. Topics focus on bread and pastry baking, with instruction from notable guests and King Arthur’s own certified master baker Jeffrey Hamelman, board chair for The Bread Bakers Guild of America Jeff Yankellow, and several instructors from its Baking School in Norwich, Vt.
The Bread Lab began as a 600-square-foot room at the W.S.U. Mount Vernon Research Center, giving bakers and millers an opportunity to work with thousands of types of wheat, barley, buckwheat and other small grains to identify lines that perform well in the field for farmers and that are most suitable for craft baking, cooking, malting, brewing and distilling.
“From the start we have partnered with King Arthur Flour,” says Stephen Jones, founder of The Bread Lab. “They were the first sponsor of The Bread Lab and Grain Gathering, and that connection continues to build through the bakers, the school and the leadership that they show. As breeders, bakers, scientists and cooks, we look to help develop food systems that are innovative and equitable — providing increasing access to good food to as many people as possible.”
Future plans for The Bread Lab include a professional kitchen overseen by James Beard Best Chef Northwest Blaine Wetzel, and a malting, brewing and distilling micro-lab led by Matt Hofmann, chief executive officer and master distiller of Westland Distillery, and Will Kemper, co-owner of Chuckanut Brewery and Kitchen.
In addition to its school at W.S.U.’s Bread Lab, King Arthur offers a baking school in Norwich, Vt. The Vermont school is connected to King Arthur’s bakery and retail store.