A few weeks ago, Jonathan and I took a trip to Portland, Oregon to attend the International Food Blogger Conference. While we were there, Cassie from Bake Your Day arranged for a group of bloggers to take a tour of Bob’s Red Mill led by Bob himself! Did you know that Bob is a real person who is still involved in the company? I didn’t!
Let’s begin our tour.
Don’t forget your safety goggles and hair net:
If you’re a blogger, you’ll also want your camera handy:
What impressed me the most about Bob’s Red Mill was Bob’s true commitment to doing right by his customers and his employees. He talked about how he was concerned that when he retired the company would get bought out and things would change. To avoid this, he gave the company to his employees. Only employees are allowed to have ownership in the company.
Bob loves to tinker with things, and while this wasn’t one of the most exciting tour stops for me, the machine shop is one of his favorite places to be.
Bob struggled to find a mill that he was happy with. Even though he found one, he still has his employees take it apart after it arrives from the manufacturer and rebuild it to his specs.
Bob is really proud of their cornmeal.
But, he says that his favorite of all of their products is their really big oats. They don’t have a product with that name, so I can only assume that he meant their “Whole Oat Groats.” He has them for breakfast every day.
Bob’s Red Mill takes gluten-free products seriously. Here’s a staffer doing some gluten-free testing. Did you know that the gluten-free grain can’t even be on the same truck as grain with gluten? If it is, this lady will find out!
Largely due to the rising number of people with gluten-free diets, Bob’s Red Mill’s business has been booming. Check out all of these sacks of grain and flour:
And here’s a video of the boxing process:
Here are all of the boxes ready to be shipped:
OK, take those hair nets off now.
I want to take you somewhere special:
Bob said that he had never had so many people in his office at once. Wait until he finds out that all of you are in there, too!
Other than meeting Bob and finding out that a company I already supported was as great as I hoped it would be, the other highlight of the tour was meeting JJ from 84th and 3rd. She’s a Cupcake Project Explorer on the quest for the Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake and she came all the way from Australia!
I don’t think you can take a bad photo while wearing a monkey hat. I also love the one of Jonathan and me in our hats:
Here’s Elle, one of the conference coordinators – who just happens to also live in St. Louis:
Banana Oat Cupcakes and a Tour of Bob’s Red Mill
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- 1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
- 1 cup rolled oats
Brown Sugar Caramel Ingredients
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
- 2 tablespoons coconut milk
- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
- Shredded coconut to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
In another medium-sized bowl, cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar until the mixture looks like wet sand (about two minutes on high speed with an electric mixer).
Add bananas to butter mixture and mix until combined.
Mix in eggs one and a time to butter mixture, mixing until fully incorporated.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients a little bit at a time, mixing until just combined.
Mix in coconut milk until just combined.
Fold in rolled oats.
Fill cupcake liners ¾ full.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry.
Brown Sugar Caramel Instructions
Melt butter in a small saucepan on medium-high heat.
Add the brown sugar and bring to a boil, stirring gently to combine.
Lower heat to medium low and continue to boil for two minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the coconut milk and stir quickly as the mixture returns to a boil. This will happen fast.
Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.
Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until thick enough to spread.
Spread on cooled cupcakes and top with shredded coconut.