Not Martha

Bake for Good with King Arthur Flour

Recently King Arthur Flour gathered a group of PNW bloggers and we all made dinner for a shelter here in Seattle. It was part of their Bake for Good initiative to encourage and help people reach out to their communities in various ways. In addition to getting food to those in need, baking for community events and bake sales to raise money they also have a Bake for Good Kids traveling tour that helps kids learn to bake and work with their communities. In addition to all this King Arthur Flour is an employee owned company where each employee donates time each year to volunteering and helping the community. You know what? There’s been a lot of gloomy stuff going on in the news lately and being a part of the Bake for Good tour reminded me that there is plenty of goodness out there and sometimes you have to create it.

(The image above is from the King Arthur Flour website. The pictures below are all from my aging iPhone, the days were so packed with flour and butter and dishwashing that I didn’t pull out my camera.)

(My bread was a little lopsided but bascially worked. The one here looked so pretty I took a picture of it instead.)

We spent some time in commercial kitchens which was a thrill for me. On the first day we made braided white loaves, dinner rolls and apple pies.

We braided white bread dough, you start from the center and braid down, then flip it over and braid down again. Not as easy as it sounds, at least the first time.

It rose! And got brown and pretty!

I’ve never been able to get a handle on pie dough. I’d seen plenty of demonstrations on cooking shows, I’d done the vodka thing, the food processor thing but I never had any success and basically gave up on it. Turns out some hands on learning with a cheerfully helpful teacher is what I needed.

What I learned? Half of the butter bits need to be way larger than I suspected. And one of these large plastic scrapers is oh so handy. Seriously, I won’t ever make pie dough without one of these again. It’s particularly great if you don’t have cold hands because it can mix and fold with minimal contact from your hands. It’s also great for scooping up chopped vegetables, even easier to use than a metal bench scraper. There you, my new favorite kitchen multitasker.

In my notes I have VB, which stands for Visible Butter, something you want during the last stages of putting your pie dough together. When you are gathering it to chill before rolling out you want the dough to be both shaggy and crumbly, not too dry but just wet enough to hold together. Right, I’m not going to do any good telling you about it, go find a pie person and practice!

The next day we made salad, macaroni and cheese, chicken and a few other vegetable side options. I appreciated the oversized tools.

We had a tour of the shelter and it was pretty sobering. Everybody there was a good soul caught in a difficult situation. It made me feel very grateful for what I have and like I could be doing a lot more to help out in my community. I’ll be seeking out as many opportunities to volunteer as I can.

If you like to cook I do have a suggestion for helping out in your area, look up your local VA hospital and see if they are seeking volunteers to cook dinner for the caretakers of patients who are living there are on a short or long term basis. Here in Seattle the Fisher House is one of those spots, this is something my friend Fresh Picked Seattle organizes from time to time so all credit goes to her. In addition to cooking they have room for people to come and hold craft nights, garden, organize outings or teach a class.

Alright, let’s go out and do some good.

· comments [6] · 05-30-2014 · categories:food · misc ·

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Miss B // May 30, 2014 at 9:51 am

    I always had pie crust issues until I discovered what is now my big secret to success — freezing the sticks of butter, and then grating them with a box grater (like you would cheese). Use the biggest-holed side of the grater, grate it right into your bowl of flour, and then just mix it up a bit with a fork before you add the liquid. (I like to use buttermilk, but whatever you’re using is fine, I’m sure.) I also always make the dough a full day before it need it, so it can overnight in the fridge. This seems to work, as I make better pie crust than any I’ve ever had (not to brag, but…it’s totally true).

  • 2 megan // May 30, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Miss B – Great tip, I’ll give it a try. Does the coldness of the butter mean you don’t have to keep it in such large chunks? (I am new to pie dough sciences.) And the buttermillk is a great tip too! Thanks!

  • 3 Miss B // May 30, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    I guess so? I didn’t know about the bigger chunk thing, honestly. But, the coldness combined with the grating means you are definitely keeping it intact, which is maybe more important than size? All I know is, pie crust I make that way bakes up practically like puff pastry — so flaky and light. Just don’t use frozen-solid butter, because it’s like trying to grate a rock. Put a package in the freezer 4 hours or so before you want to use it, and that’s usually just right. Or, if you have a long-frozen package of butter, take it out and put it in the fridge for a bit before you start grating it. (This is also my butter method for biscuits and scones — basically anything that uses cold cut-up butter.)

  • 4 Amy P // May 30, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    My butter chunks are always too small, too. I’m always worried it won’t be combined enough otherwise!

  • 5 Amy P // May 30, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    And I definitely do the grated-frozen-butter trick for biscuits, and I make a damn fine biscuit.

  • 6 megan // May 30, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    This is great to know. I’ve grated frozen butter before but only because the recipe called for room temperature butter and grating it was the only way to get it to warm up faster without melting half of it in a microwave. (All because I know I should read the recipe well beforehand but I never actually do.)

Leave a Comment