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King Arthur Flour Visits JHU MCC

Sure, you can buy biscuits, cinnamon rolls, pretzels and loaves of bread at the grocery store or bakery.

But what if someone took the time to show you how to bake from scratch?

That’s what Paula Gray of King Arthur Flour did at Johns Hopkins University – Montgomery County Campus on a recent Saturday morning. More than 60 people attended the free demonstration, including bakers who know their way around a kitchen and those who might not know a measuring cup from a measuring spoon.

“We want to be there to help you be a great baker,” Gray said, reassuring everyone that bakers with questions can always call King Arthur’s hotline for help.

Gray manages the Life Skills Bread Baking Program for King Arthur Flour Company, which is based in Vermont. Through the program, Gray travels to communities across the country to teach school children the chemistry of bread baking. In April, she visited Johns Hopkins in Montgomery County to teach nearly 600 fourth-graders how yeast and water interact and how math comes into play when baking. While she was in town, she hosted a bread baking demonstration for adults as well.

She led the audience through a series of demonstrations, showing how to cut the dough for cinnamon rolls with dental floss, explaining the careful techniques needed to form biscuits and filling a braid with raspberry jam.

Gray explained the importance of not only making sure baked goods taste good but look good, too: “You eat baked goods with your eyes first.”

As Gray taught how to measure flour properly, how to knead dough and how to ensure the dough doesn’t stick to the spoon, those who attended the demonstration clearly were excited to try new techniques at home.

Paula Gray with Sandy WolkEven people such as Sandy Wolk, who “knew how to bake before I knew how to cook,” picked up a tip or two. Wolk, 79, of King Farm, attends OSHER classes at Johns Hopkins – Montgomery County Campus. She said she has been baking strudels, pies and cookies for years. Wolk said she learned from Gray about different types of flour and was eager to get back into the kitchen and bake bread.

Jessica Rowden of Chevy Chase and Samantha Foster of Gaithersburg were also inspired, and were planning to try to give biscuit baking a try. The friends said they both enjoy baking and cooking, and were glad to be able to see a live demonstration.

“It’s one thing when you read a recipe,” Rowden said. “It’s another thing to see it done. It definitely made us hungry.” 

CATEGORY: In The Community