So, What Are You Having From The Oven at King Arthur Baking Company, Jonathan Frishtick?
Lunch at King Arthur Baking Company: creamy Brie and Gala apple on a baguette, turkey and cheddar on 5-seed bread, or housemade tomato soup? Even as I am scouting the café for a table, my eyes are forever returning to the wall of windows into that magical kitchen, where scurrying humans are rolling dough and checking ovens. A few years ago, that “oh, to be in there” feeling propelled me to a King Arthur baking class in which my husband and I, newly retired, learned to make the very best fougasse.
All of which brings me to Jonathan Frishtick, Instructor/Assistant at the King Arthur Baking school for over nine years. He teaches yeast-based classes, with specialties in pizza, bagels, bialys, challah, and introductory and other bread-making. According to Jonathan, “I particularly enjoy teaching people who have found baking with yeast to be a challenge.”
The path to baking instructor is an unlikely one. Jonathan grew comfortable around food and kitchens when, during high school, he was employed by a kosher caterer, but he had absolutely no intention of making a career of cooking or baking. He worked as a seasonal forest ranger, then enrolled at Vermont Law School to study environmental law.
After several years of law practice for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Jonathan forsook being a lawyer when he decided it was not for him; he grew “tired of arguing and wearing suits.” Moving back to Vermont, he became a stay-at-home dad, a part-time carpenter, an owner of a digital mapping business. Then he found his way to King Arthur. In his words, “I liked the triple bottom line (environmental health, social well-being and a just economy) and it was an employee-owned business in the same town I lived in. And I had started baking more at home.”
Asked if he had any tips for beginning bakers, he offered this: “My baking advice? Use a scale to weigh your ingredients, and to insure accurate and consistent results, choose a bread recipe you like, and bake the same recipe multiple times to learn the ins and outs of that recipe.”
Surrounded by yeast and flour, breads and pastries galore, what is Jonathan’s favorite thing to bake and eat at King Arthur?
“That would probably be challah or bagels (in particular, boldly baked onion bagels). Both remind me of wonderful experiences growing up – having Jewish holiday meals with my parents, grandparents, siblings and cousins, and picking up warm fresh bagels from the local bagel store (along with the Sunday New York Times) late on Saturday night. But I do also love making and eating chocolate chip cookies!”
King Arthur Baking Company is located on Route 5 South in Norwich, Vermont, and offers classes for home bakers and professionals. For more information, please click here.
(Photo, top, King Arthur Baking Company, courtesy of company website press downloads)
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And in case you are wondering . . . Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.