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Monday, October 29, 2012

America's Oldest Brands and Businesses

Making muffins with KA Flour. Recipe below.
By Lori Benton

If you've ever used King Arthur Flour to bake a cake or a loaf of bread, then you've purchased flour from one of the oldest companies in the United States.

Founded in 1790 in Boston, Massachusetts, by Henry Wood, the company first imported its flour from England. As the business grew it changed hands and names. From Henry Wood & Company, it became Sands, Taylor & Wood Company in the 1890s. It was during this time a new brand of premium flour was introduced. One of the owners had recently attended a musical of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and left the performance inspired. The Boston Food Fair, September 10, 1896, saw the introduction of King Arthur Flour, and customers have been enjoying the flour ever since, along with other retail food products bearing the King Arthur name.

The company has since relocated to Norwich, Vermont, where its main store, The Baker's Store, is located, and changed its name to The King Arthur Flour Co., Inc., to reflect its principal brand. In addition to The Baker's Catalogue, the company has published four cookbooks, including King Arthur 200th Anniversary Cookbook and the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion.

Visit King Arthur Flour on line: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/ and don't miss the recipe for Peachy-Almond muffins at the end of the post, the ingredients for which are pictured in the photo above. 

More early American companies, businesses, and brands still in use or operation (with links for further exploring):

~ Oldest plantation: Shirley Plantation, Charles City, Virginia. Original land grant given in 1613. Eleven generations of the same family have lived and worked this plantation, still in operation today.
~ 1667 Seaside Inn & Cottages Kennebunk Beach, Maine
~ 1673 White Horse Tavern Newport, Rhode Island
~ 1742 (or earlier) Towle Silversmiths
~ 1780 Baker's Chocolate
~ 1784  D. Landreth Seed Co of Pennsylvania
~ 1787 Hayes Coffee
~ The Old Farmer's Almanac, the longest continuously published periodical in the US, was first published 1792, during George Washington's first term as President.
~ Crane & Co. making fine paper since 1801
~ 1806 Colgate: soap, starch, and candles first. Then came the toothpaste!
~ 1818 Remington America's oldest gun maker 

Just Peachy-Almond Muffins 
(muffins pictured were made with King Arthur Flour)

Just Peachy-Almond Muffins, by Lori Benton
1 16 oz can sliced peaches, drained
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Chop peaches; drain, and set aside. Combine flour, salt, soda, and sugar in a mixing bowl; make a well in center of dry ingredients. Add eggs and oil; stir until dry ingredients are moistened. Add peaches and remaining ingredients; stir until blended.

Spoon batter evenly into greased or paper-lined muffin pans, filling two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes for 6 jumbo muffins, 20-25 minutes for 12 regular-sized muffins, or 18 minutes for 36 miniature muffins.

Enjoy these muffins with a nice cup of tea! Make it historical and try some of these blends.

12 comments:

  1. What a neat post! Love the history of some of the brands. But I'll not swap my Hudson's Cream Flour for King Arthur at any rate. I live just about 30 miles from Hudson's mill here in the center of Kansas.

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    1. Good morning Judith. Hey, nothing better than buying local. I'm a huge supporter of that. Glad you enjoyed the post!

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  2. What a fun and informative post, Lori.I love perusing my King Arthur Flour catalog each time I get one. And I use Bakers chocolate. The muffins sound and look delicious. Thanks.

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    1. They are SO yummy (with whatever brand of flour). I'd never used King Arthur Flour before but noticed it on the shelf in our health food section of the grocery story (I'm new to that section!), and got to wondering about the name, and was surprised to learn how long a history the business behind it had. One thing led to another and here we are with this post.

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  3. How interesting! I had no idea that company, or any of the ones listed, had been around for so long! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. It was fun researching them all. I was surprised by Colgate!

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  4. Very interesting post, Lori! Thank you for all this information. As a matter of fact, my local Walmart carries King Arthur Flour, and I found it just too intriguing. A bag of unbleached bread flour is sitting on my cupboard shelf, and I just used it for making some delicious Italian Herb Bread.

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    1. Way to get into the spirit of this, Joan. My KA flour will last me a good long while, since I've turned gluten free (or nearly so) in the weeks since I wrote this post. Sigh. Miss my muffins!

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    2. That really is a bummer. I wonder if you can make muffins with rice flour. Oat flour is gluten free too, isn't it? At least this gives you a whole new line of research! lol!

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    3. Joan, there is a good brand of gluten free flour, I'm told. It doesn't have a funny taste and it rises well. Namaste makes it. But it's nine dollars for a small bag at my store (the bag is purple, for anyone interested). Gluten free is spendy, but totally possible.

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    4. Lori, I am going gluten free again, too! Will send you FB msg.

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  5. Interesting that I consider King Arthur flour to be the best, especially for making cakes and bread. Thanks for this interesting post. As you know, my last completed MS was set at Shirley Plantation and I have a particular fondness for that "farm." Am curious about Hayes coffee, as that is a family name and those kinds of things always make me wonder. Thanks for the links, Lori!

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