Ready to put your oven to work but not sure you've got the skills? King Arthur Flour has just the ticket: On Monday, February 27th, the oldest flour company in the United States is sponsoring two free baking demonstrations by expert instructor Susan Reid at the Embassy Suites in East Memphis.
The first demonstration will begin at noon with a lesson on making perfect pies and savory scones, followed by a second demonstration at 7 p.m. on baking with yeast and whole grains. This is the second time King Arthur has brought its baking demo tour to Memphis. (They came before in 2006.)
"We've found that across the country people are interested in learning more about baking, because there are often a lot of anxieties that go along with it," Terri Rosenstock of King Arthur Flour says. "Particularly with yeast breads and piecrusts and those things that have a delicate balance to them."
Making a piecrust is particularly stressful, Rosenstock says, because the perfect crust has the balance of a nice soft texture and flakiness. As for the savory scone, Reid will prepare a cheddar and bacon scone that Rosenstock promises will be "as fattening and delicious as it sounds."
The demonstration will also include prizes and giveaways, a complimentary recipe booklet, and time to ask questions of the master baker.
In addition to this traveling baking demonstration, Rosenstock says King Arthur sponsors a free "life skills" bread-baking program for middle school students. The program is similar to home-ec classes and teaches kids how to bake bread from scratch. The program hasn't been introduced in any Memphis schools yet, but Rosenstock says they are interested in partnering with a school in the future.
"We're trying to get to every state across the country. If there are any schools interested in the program, we'd love to hear from them."
No RSVPs are necessary for attending the baking demos. For more information on the event or King Arthur Flour, visit kingarthurflour.com.
Embassy Suites Memphis, 1022 S. Shady Grove (684-1777)
If you're more interested in leaving baking to the professionals, you may have heard about changes brewing at Muddy's Bake Shop.
For the last two and half years, this East Memphis bakery with a fanatical following has operated a helper kitchen in Cooper-Young, which supplies treats for the retail space off Sanderlin as well as its custom orders. Now, owner Kat Gordon is moving the support kitchen from Cooper-Young to a bigger space on Broad Avenue.
"We really like the idea of getting involved with the revitalization going on there," Gordon says. "We participated in the New Face for Old Broad event they had there last year. We had a little pop-up shop, which, ironically enough, was in the parking lot of the building we're currently leasing. It was fantastic, and we loved seeing these businesses on Broad being so proactive in improving the neighborhood. That really appealed to us, and if we had to get bigger, that's the way we wanted to do it."
The new kitchen will not be a retail space per se, but it will be big enough to eventually host private parties, workshops, or events. And if they decide to set up a retail space on Broad, Gordon wants to have the flexibility to be creative with the hours and set-up. "Kind of like having pop-up shops at our own space," she says.
For now, though, Gordon says they will be working on building a bakery from the ground up.
"There's not even electricity in there now, so we have to completely bring it up to food-service code," Gordon says. "We're hoping it will be ready for the kitchen to move in by May."
Muddy's Bake Shop, 5101 Sanderlin (683-8844)