Baking a bit more than usual? You’re not alone: Being housebound has made home bakers of all of us who feel well enough to wield a whisk. Finding a packet of yeast in the supermarket is cause for celebration these days (“It was one of the first things to sell out,” our local grocer told us). Humble all-purpose flour is as precious as gold dust. Nobody knows this better than the folks at King Arthur Flour. “The demand for all our flours is simply unprecedented. We shipped almost three times the flour in March 2020 compared to March 2019,” says Carey Underwood, the company’s director of mission driven partnerships and programs. There is no shortage of wheat, Underwood says, “and our teams are working in overdrive to increase capacity and get the flour to market as quickly as possible.” To do this, mills are adding shifts, the company has added a new mill partner, and they’ve shifted parts of their distribution network from rail to truck to shorten transit time, she explains.
King Arthur Flour’s digital engagement is also flourishing. “Calls into our Baker’s Hotline are more than double what we usually have this time of year, with over 14,000 calls from bakers in the last four weeks,” Underwood says. For inspiration, the company’s website features thousands of recipes and video content, including the “Isolation Baking Show” with bakery director Jeffrey Hamelman and pastry chef Gesine Bullock-Prado.
“People are baking for a lot of reasons: having more time, baking as a family activity, and of course, having great bread,” Underwood says. “Baking has a way of bringing people together.”
DIANE BAIR AND PAMELA WRIGHT
Diane Bair and Pamela Wright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org