Market Trends / Healthy Baking / Fruit and Nuts / Artisan Baking

California Raisin Marketing Board calls for entries in 2013 Raisin Bread Contest

The California Raisin Marketing Board (CRMB), Fresno, Calif., is accepting entries in its sixth annual America’s Best Raisin Bread Contest. All industry professionals and student bakers are encouraged to enter their most “raisin-spirational” masterpieces in one or all of the three categories of the competition: artisan, commercial and breakfast.

The contest is open to bakers and the research and development staff of commercial baking companies; craft bakers and retail shop owners/managers; certified baking teachers; students in accredited baking programs; and bakery technicians at bakery supply wholesalers, flour milling companies and other allied bakery ingredient suppliers. Participants must be 18 and older.

The contest features the following categories in two divisions, professional and student: best wholesale/commercial raisin bread, best artisan raisin bread and best breakfast item.

“We started America’s Best Raisin Bread Contest to recognize the top bakers in the industry,” says Larry Blagg, senior vice president of marketing for the CRMB. “As the only professional baking contest in the U.S., it’s a great way to showcase the versatility of raisins as an ingredient, as well as the creativity of both professional and student bakers across the country.”

Preliminary contest judging will take place in August, in which 36 finalists will be selected to receive a complimentary trip to the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) in Las Vegas, on Oct. 6-9, where they will bake their formulas before a panel of distinguished judges from both the artisan and commercial baking industries.

A total of 12 winners—nine in the professional division and three in student division—will be selected based on their formula’s taste, appearance, originality and value. Formulas that feature 100% whole grains and/or gluten-free ingredients will also be awarded in each division. In addition to industrywide recognition, the 12 winning bakers will receive a five-day California educational vacation with visits to the Culinary Institute of America, Yosemite National Park and the San Joaquin Valley, home of the California Raisins.

To qualify, submitted formulas should be for raisin bread and raisin bakery products currently available in the market or planned for sale in the future. Applications must be submitted along with color photos of a finished loaf of bread and a cut cross section and whole finished loaf. Each baker may enter up to three different formulas. Only one contest many compete if chosen (no teams or assistants). For the commercial and artisan year bread categories, the legal standard of identity for raisin bread in the U.S. is 50% of raisins to dry flour weight, and this is the minimum acceptable California raisin content for the competition. The breakfast item category (pastries, rolls, Danish, etc.) will adhere to a 35% California raising content to dry flour weight. California raisin content may include California natural (sun-dried) seedless raisins, California golden seedless raisins, other California raisins, California raisin paste and/or California raisin juice concentrate.

Entries will be accepted through May 31 for students and July 1 for professionals. Contest application, rules and additional details are available at

For questions or additional information, contact CRMB’s Dori Rothweiler at 559-248-0287 or

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