This is one busy bakery: Thanksgiving prep at King Arthur Flour

I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving really snuck up on me this year. I was enjoying the fall weather and foliage, and all of a sudden, there was snow on the ground and my family started calling with their requests for the Thanksgiving table.

Speaking of, I’d better get started on my Pumpkin Pies

I’ll tell you who Thanksgiving didn’t sneak up on this year – our bakery in Norwich, Vermont. In fact, they’ve been prepping for the holiday since the last week in October. Our bakery is busy every holiday season, making amazing pies, rolls, and other delicious treats for Thanksgiving tables near and far.

pie doughOne batch of dough in the bakery’s large mixer makes roughly 200 pie crusts! That puts the 13.5 lbs of butter (Cabot, of course) into perspective. Once the dough is mixed, it’s pressed into sheet pans and chilled.

dough rollingOur sheeter, shown above, usually rolls out croissant dough, but these days it’s helping with pie dough. Roll, cut, stack, repeat! This Thanksgiving, the bakery received about 400 pie orders. Are you planning to make your own pies this year? Try our quick and easy No-Roll Pie Crust.

And of course, all those pies need to be filled.

pie fillingTo avoid crushing the berries, our bakers carefully mix the berries, sugar, and flour by hand. And then – ta-da! – they have pie filling for 40 or so mixed berry pies. On to pumpkin and apple pie fillings next.

Rolls are another item that our bakery makes in epic proportions this time of year. They make whole wheat and white rolls; both kinds are soft and perfect for sopping up gravy and cranberry sauce. Also, great for a mini Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich. If you’re making your own rolls, try our Golden Pull-Apart Butter Buns, Parker House Rolls, or my favorite, Honey Wheat Rolls.

rollsThis baking frenzy is over when all the orders are picked up from the bakery on Wednesday – then it’s time to relax. That’s just a small sample of how our bakery does Thanksgiving; baking up a storm – always with a smile.

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy (and very delicious) Thanksgiving, from all of us here at King Arthur Flour.

Special thanks to King Arthur Flour pastry baker Kristen Fenn, who graciously hosted me in the bakery with my camera (and many questions) during this busy time of year.

Natasha Wood
About

Natasha Wood grew up in Vermont, just down the road from King Arthur Flour. In fact, she started working at our Baker's Store while still in high school. After graduating from Lasell College in 2012, Natasha joined the King Arthur marketing team, where she coordinates baking ...

comments

  1. Laura Fischer

    The little bakery I work at here in VA had orders for nearly 150 pies. A mix of single/double crusted, thankfully…lol! mostly single. Between the Friday before Thanksgiving, and Tuesday, I managed to make up the needed pastry, and
    then hand roll, pan, flute, freeze until needed.

    Whew! All by hand. Do you guys have the pastry blade for the mixer, or only the paddle?

    I’ve used my mixer, on my own pastry mix, but didn’t want to goof up anything at work, so just a pastry blender and moi!

    There is a sheeter, in our near future…yay! I really appreciate the photos, explanation of ‘your’ process. Although, dough rolling is REALLY good exercise!

    I’d read some commentary by Frank, on the Pro discussions, re the use of a sheeter, for pie pastry, while I could grasp the concept, the process was still a bit unclear…this was very enlightening!

    I am proud to say that we have always used King Arthur flour, and thank all of you guys for your enthusiasm, willingness to share knowledge, and just for being there! Happiest of holidays!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Laura – The bakery only uses the paddle as you can see from the photos. I have worked in commercial bakeries and the paddle is all we used as well. It works very well and a real blessing when the alternative is making it by hand! Dough sheeters are a must not only for efficiency but for cost (labor) and consistency of product. You will be clicking your heels for joy once your bakery makes the break from rolling by hand to using a dough sheeter. Happy holidays! Elisabeth@KAF

  2. Lyna

    How do you use the large scraps between the pie crust cut-outs? Do you cut smaller tart circles? Re-roll–with less tender results? Toss because you time costs more than the ingredients?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Home bakers often stack up the “leftover dough” and re-roll, knowing the results will be less tender than the first roll out of dough. Some use these pieces to make a treat for the kids (pie crust cookies, cinnamon snails or roll ups) as they wait for pies to bake. Every family has their own name for these leftover dough treats – Happy baking! Irene@KAF

    1. PJ Hamel

      Pam, our Bakery took over 400 orders for pies – and sold more over the counter, so we can safely say over 400. That’s a lot of rolling! 🙂 PJH

  3. Nicole

    What an impressive operation going on there at KAF! Thanks for keeping the Upper Valley well fed with homemade goodies. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, Natasha!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thank you so much for your kind message Nicole, and we certainly do like to stay busy keeping our neighbors filled up with all kinds of sweet treats! Happy holidays to you and happy baking! Jocelyn@KAF

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