The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

King Arthur bread courses - feedback needed

Edthebread's picture

King Arthur bread courses - feedback needed

Hi Everyone

I am thinking of attending some of the King Arthur bread classes, and I'd like some feedback from those of you who may have attended them previously.  I'm a fairly experienced home baker who cooks both sourdough and yeast breads, mainly with a high percentage of whole grains, so I am looking for a class to advance my skills rather than a beginners class.

The two classes I'm considering are:

Beauty & The Baguette

At last! Tame the beastly baguette with this hands-on class to help you make the best possible baguettes in your home oven. Learn how to work with a pre-ferment to achieve the maximum flavor. During the course you will mix a traditional baguette dough, get experience shaping and slashing loaves and learn steaming techniques for home ovens.$90.00

Pain au Levain with James MacGuire

Join us for a master class on this classic French loaf with renowned baker James MacGuire. The class draws on Chef MacGuire’s recent article on pain au levain in The Art of Eating, and each student will go home with a deeper understanding of the history, principles and method of producing the best possible loaf as well as their own crusty breads.$175.00


Thanks in advance for any input.


flourchild in lutz's picture
flourchild in lutz

Last year I took a class on Sourdough, Taming the wild yeast.  I learned a great deal from that class.  I certainly was not an experienced baker but don't think the class was considered basic.  There were people in the class that were experienced and had attended other classes from King Arthur.  I wanted to take the Beauty & The Baguette class but it was full.   I will say that at the end of the class I was exhausted.  We were busy from start to finish, and seeing their baking operation was very interesting.  Of course, you need to make plenty of time to shop in the retail store.  They offer a discount for taking the class.  I am not sure where you are located, but there was no one from Vermont in the class.  People come from all over to attend.  I know you will love it, I plan on going again.

vtreejod's picture

While I have not taken those specific classes, but I have taken others and will tell you that's it's shear joy! I took a class on how to open a bakery (havent done it yet :) and a class on how to use your wood fired brick oven (which i have built and do use). In both classes we baked a lot and talked theory and practice. Both were taught by Jeffrey Hammelman and he is simply a pleasure and wealth of knowledge and expeirence. I believe that KA's entirely philosophy indicates that any of the classes they offer will be taught by similarly well equipped persons. I would say go for it! You won't regret it. Just being in their bakery and getting a feel for their operation is terrific but if you let the instructor know your skill level and what you hope to gain, I've no doubt they will accomodate you. Best of luck.

CaptainBatard's picture

If you can take the week long class advanced class, they like you to have the intro class first but how knows!I took both and they were amazing classes.  In the pro class every day starts with instruction...then all day you bake several different breads....(sour dough,rye's and pastries) and have a great lunch. I have not taken any of the other classes. If you consider going get back to me can tell you more. You might ask MC@Farina... I know she has taken some classes there.



proth5's picture

I know the KA Bakers monitor this board - but I will give my honest opinion.  I promise that I am not, nor have I ever been a KA employee.

"Beauty and the Baguette" (which I have attended) is a beginner's class.  If you have had trouble with certain aspects of baguette making - like hand kneading slack dough, shaping, or scoring and just need to practice once under the hands of an experienced baker, this is a great class.  If you have already had good success and want to refine your technique you will learn very little as this is an elementary level class.  I do not fully recall if they went over things like desired dough temperature and baker's math - information about which these pages are full.  My only critism of this class (given the expectation that it is a beginner's class) is that the hand kneaded baguettes are wisked away onto the professional loader to be baked in the big steam injected oven.  Huh?  That's not how we home bakers have to do the thing.  And worse, they don't let you play with the loader or the oven - they let someone who "knows what they are doing" do the loading and steaming.  No fair!  Your instructor will be a knowledgable KA instructor, but will not be any of the "star power" bakers that hang at KA.

Do not miss an opportunity to bake with James MacGuire.  Don't miss it.  I don't care what that man is teaching, he is a wonderful baker and teacher and the opportunity to watch him snd talk with him is well worth the while.  Further, he is a fount of information and just a wonderful person to hang with for awhile.  I have not taken the class in question, but I am sure it will be informative and fun.

So, if I had to choose, you know what I would choose. 

Hope this helps. 

SteveB's picture

I was fortunate enough to attend James MacGuire's pain au levain class (which was ably assisted by Richard Miscovich) a number of years ago.  I wholeheartedly endorse Pat's recommendation.  If you are interested in naturally leavened breads, this course is not to be missed.




jacobsbrook's picture

I just attended the wild yeast class this past Sunday.  As mentioned earlier, this class also was a mix of beginners and non-beginners.  It was a nice hands on experience.  They did speak about baking at home etc, but it was nice to see the wonderful oven they use.  It depends on what you are looking for.  If you are experienced and want to learn all new, then this is not what you are looking for.  The 4 day classes or the classes with the guest bakers seem to be a bit more educational for the experienced baker.  I know I will be attending one of them next.  I walked away from this class happy because I was looking for certain answers that I was able to find by asking the baker.  I would attend the pain au levain class if I had the opportunity.  Enjoy!

Marty's picture

A simple class on biscotti. Summer vacation for my wife and I. One evening. It was a joy. Well instructed, and a great group of folks from near and far.  If the level of instruction is the same, you'll be fine.