Buttermilk powder used to be available on supermarket shelves, but for some inexplicable reason it's now as difficult to come by as a box of kosher salt. Liquid buttermilk is readily available in supermarkets, but who wants to buy a quart of it just to bake a few biscuits?
Thanks to King Arthur, America's oldest flour company, biscuit-making can be as simple as it used to be. Through its Baker's Catalogue, the 203-year-old flour company will ship the dry buttermilk and other difficult-to-find baking ingredients, including bulk baking chocolate, barley malt, seeds, vanilla beans and extracts, nut butters and pastes, and imported glace fruits and peels.
Located an hour and half southwest of Burlington, Vt., King Arthur is also one of the best sources in the country for bread-baking supplies--about 1,000 packages a day are shipped from the company warehouse in Wilder, a short distance from Norwich. Serious bread bakers will find everything needed to produce crusty loaves: dough-rising buckets, proofing baskets, instant-read thermometers, starter jars, baguette pans and many types of flour and grain.
Prices range from $4.95 for five pounds of golden buffalo (an organic stone-ground wheat flour containing the germ but with the bran removed) to $3.25 for 1 1/4 pounds of spelt (a primitive form of wheat) to $9.95 for a lame , the nifty gadget French bakers use to slash the top crust in a baguette. And, of course, there's the dried buttermilk for $4.50 a pound.