Thirteen winners were announced in the California Raisin Marketing Board’s third-annual America’s Best Raisin Bread Contest; two student contestants take home co-grand prizes.

The results are in. The California Raisin Marketing Board (CRMB), Fresno, Calif., which represents nearly 3,000 California raisin growers, granted 13 awards in its third-annual America’s Best Raisin Bread Contest, which took place Oct. 14-16 at the American Institute of Baking (AIB) headquarters in Manhattan, Kan. The “bakers’ dozen” rose to the top among a total of 85 initial entries submitted by professional and student bakers from across the country and 38 finalists that were chosen to advance to the second round.

“This year’s formulas exceeded our expectations by featuring diverse California raisin-inspired breads and bakery products, from savory Raisin Focaccia bread with goat cheese and caramelized onions, to sweet Raisin pecan caramel rolls,” says Larry Blagg, senior vice president of marketing, CRMB. “The quality and variety of contest entries once again prove that California raisins are truly one of nature’s best and most versatile baking ingredients.”

The winners include:

Artisan Category:
•    Grand Prize: Mitch Stamm, Johnson & Wales University, Courrone Aux Raisins
•    Judges Prize:Kevin Knight, Anjou Bakery, Deep Dark Delicious (a.k.a. D3)
•    Idea Prize:Ray McCue, Johnson & Wales University, California Raisin Focaccia with Goat Cheese & Caramelized Onions

Commercial Baking Category:
    Grand Prize:Shawn Kearns, Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Split Top Buttermilk Raisin Bread
•    Judges Prize:Steve Barnhart, Highland Baking Co., Chocolate Gold
•    Idea Prize: Lin Carson, Wendy’s New Bakery Co., Raisin “Stuffin” Mini Buns

Breakfast Category:
•    Grand Prize:Angela Dodd, Cargill (Integrated Bakery Resources), Raisin Pecan Caramel Rolls
•    Judges Prize:Mike Dixon, Dawn Food Products, Golden Raisin Walnut Flip
•    Idea Prize:Mary Vande Walle, Uncle Mike's Bake Shoppe, Carmel Apple Stuffed French Toast

Student Category:
•    Artisan Co-Grand Prize Winners: Chee Her, California State University Fresno, Pan De Pasas; and Oprah Davidson, Ritz-Carlton/Johnson & Wales University, Caramelized Apples & Golden Raisin Ciabatta

•    Commercial Grand Prize: Kacy Charlesworth, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Thanksgiving Raisin Bread

•    Breakfast Grand Prize:Katrina Snelgrove, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Coconut Rum Raisin Bread