Artisan Bread Baking: Supporting America's Best Bakers in their Quest for the Perfect Loaf

You know King Arthur Flour for its commitment to quality, and for being a leader in baking education. It should come as no surprise, then, that we’re passionate about the future of artisan bread baking, and support its champions with a myriad of programs and commitments.  Martin Coupe Blog-11

Professional bakers from around the country pose in front of their breads after the King Arthur Flour Artisan Bread Summit, November, 2014.

As a gold sponsor of the Bread Bakers Guild of America (BBGA), we regularly send our best instructors around the country to teach classes to bakery owners and craft bakers alike, and bring other Guild experts to our Baking Education Center in Vermont.

We support culinary colleges such as the French Pastry School, Johnson and Wales, and Kendal College by subsidizing their flour, and offering educational support to nurture and feed the ambitions of young bakers. We currently employ two bakers who’ve competed on Team USA at the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie (the “bread baking Olympics”), and recently sponsored the bid of a third King Arthur Flour baker – Martin Philip – to qualify for the 2016 team.

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Martin spent over a year honing his already-expert bread-baking skills, and made it to the final round of the Coupe trials this month. While he didn’t make Team USA, he beat out many would-be contenders, and ranked among the top five bread bakers in America. BBGA member, former Coupe du Monde competitor, and King Arthur Flour employee-owner Jeff Yankellow attested to the level of skill in this year’s trials. The work done by the Guild and its sponsors has raised the quality of applicants exponentially in recent years. We’re proud to have supported the organizations and people who’ve made this happen!

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Martin poses with his final production run in the King Arthur Flour bakery. (photo by Jeffrey Hamelman)

We’re tremendously proud of Martin’s work, and wanted to share some images from the competition’s final round. While recipes aren’t currently available, some of Martin’s breads will be featured in our Norwich Bakery and Café in the coming months. Everyone had their favorites, but my fingers are crossed for the Sunseed, Boxcar, and Pain de Mie loaves to make an appearance!

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This Sunseed bread incorporates roasted winter squash, sunflower seeds, yellow durum flour, cracked corn grits, and black pepper.

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Sunseed rolls, a variation of the Sunseed loaf.

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This PowerBROT can bread was inspired by Martin’s great grandmother, Momie, who preferred to bake the bread instead of steaming it, as it was traditionally prepared. Martin’s formula is a marriage of his great-grandmother’s brown bread recipe and a traditional German Vollkornbrot, containing whole wheat, whole cornmeal, whole rye, molasses, oat groats, flax meal, flax seeds, and dried blueberries. The loaf is coated in a mix of pumpkin seeds, whole teff berries, and rye chops.

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Martin spelled his great-grandmother’s name with dough and placed it on the bottom of the loaf version of the PowerBROT.

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This Kvassmiche begins with a brew of liquid levain culture, fresh apples, toasted old bread, and sugar. To this, sassafras, fresh ginger, star anise, and vanilla beans are added, and allowed to steep for 12 to 18 hours. The mixture is strained and mixed with locally milled wheat.

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Flour. Water. Yeast. Salt. These four simple ingredients comprise the baguette. The fifth ingredient – time – makes this beautiful loaf. Decorative cuts and shaping add flair.

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 Named after a memory from Martin’s youth, the Boxcar brims with Southern flavors – caramelized pecans, native flint corn, toasted rye berries, smoked barley malt, whiskey, and molasses make up the base of this hearty, flavorful loaf. Smoked Lapsang Souchong tea adds a hint of tobacco flavoring, pulling us deeply into the memory of a childhood spend in the South.

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The Beekeepers Pain de Mie was an easy favorite. Made with durum flour, butter, and a honey, lavender, and chamomile-infused milk tea, this loaf is golden and slightly sweet. It also made an incredible grilled cheese sandwich!

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We’re proud to support artisan bread baking nationwide, and are especially proud of our own Martin Philip, for his tremendous work and dedication competing for a seat at the Coupe du Monde.

Want to hone your own artisan baking skills? We offer hundreds of classes a year at our Baking Education Center in Norwich, Vermont, and offer a wealth of resources online.

And of course, if you get stuck, you can always call our Baker’s Hotline at 855-371-2253.

Julia Reed
About

Julia A. Reed is an award-winning food and lifestyle photographer, writer, and multimedia content producer. Educated at Emerson College in Boston, she spent 5 years in Los Angeles before returning East, leaving behind food trucks, secret dinners, and year-round farmers' markets to pursue a simpler ...

comments

  1. Gayle Harris

    I have been reading the info given on your Artisan flour, and I have been told
    that it is very low gluten flour from where I purchase it, but reading through your info, you don’t mention that it is low or GF. You also talk about high gluten for some of your flour,
    I am confused. Can you tell me if your artisan flour, and your Sheppard grain flour is gluten free or low gluten? I was also told that this is a European flour and so is a low or no gluten flour? Plus, where I purchase it, it’s just called artisan King Arthur. Is this a hype?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Gayle! We think there might be a bit of confusion. We offer two different gluten-free flours, our Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour and our Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour. These, and all our gluten-free baking mixes, are clearly labeled as such and packaged in dark blue boxes and bags to reduce confusion. These are separate from our wheat flours, which contain varying amounts of gluten depending on the type. (Bread flours contain more gluten, while pastry flours contain less, with all-purpose in the middle.) Our Artisan Bread Flour, being a bread flour, contains a higher amount of gluten. We never market our wheat flours as gluten-free, and would actively discourage any “hype” we heard that suggests it. We’re not sure exactly what you mean by Sheppard grain flour, as this isn’t a product we carry, but if you have questions about our products, we encourage you to call our Customer Support team at 800-827-6836. We appreciate your reaching out to us rather than relying on secondhand information from others. Happy baking! Kat@KAF

  2. Lucy Hauber

    I love the pictures of these wonder breads. Is there a recipe for the Sunseed Bread? I too am a baker.

    Thank you,
    Lucy

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      While we don’t have these recipes available on our website, Lucy, you may be able to find the sunseed recipe or something like it in Martin’s book! Give our friendly Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE (2253) if you have any questions. Annabelle@KAF

  3. Anna C.

    Stunning…such heart and soul in every design! And, kudos to the photographer for capturing their simple beauty. I just hope some day I am lucky enough to sample these hypnotic flavor compilations.

    Reply
  4. Sharon Hull

    I am a baker and have never produced anything so beautiful. Would love to study under Martin and just watch him create. Congrats Martin. I can’t imagine anyone else could have been better, not only with the beauty but also the ingredients which you managed to incorporate in each large loaf and small loaf. You truly should have won, but alas I wasn’t there, nor one of the judges. Keep up the amazing work and I love King Arthur products.

    Reply
  5. Shirlee Brindle

    Thank You Chef for sharing your wonderful breads..I swear, I could smell them from here! 3,000 miles away..:)

    Reply
  6. Bullrem

    My question is on the final rising of the bread. When slits are included in the recipe – exactly when do you cut the dough and with what? Every time I have tried this – a successful appearance is minimal. When I make the slits, the dough falls. This is even more difficult for me with the sponge starter breads as they are so very soft. Thank you, Helen in Ark.

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Hi, Helen. Slashing the bread is the last thing you do before sliding it into the oven. And yes, the bread may fall at first, but if you’ve timed it right, it will rise up, and vigorously, when it gets into the oven. If that hasn’t been happening for you, it’s likely you’ve waited too long on the second rise and the dough is over-risen. Any sharp blade will do the job; you need to cut about 1/2″ deep, quickly, then put the dough immediately into the oven. Susan

  7. Lenore

    What beautiful bread…would love to taste all of it. How about a book with ALL the recipes? Would especially like the recipe for the powerbrot. I will be out to see you in July. Can hardly wait.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Perhaps authoring a book is next on Martin’s list? Inquiring minds will want to know. ~ MJ

  8. Merlayne Reilly

    What a truly fantastic array of bread ! oh how I would love to know how the diamond shaped pattern on the bread in the lead in photograph is achieved . This coming from someone who is still struggling with getting an ” ear ” when slashing baguettes !

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Martin used a lattice cutter and overlaid it on the dough. It really is one of the loveliest loaves I’ve seen, and being able to perfectly wrap and proof that bread is testimony to his skill. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

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