AIB: Kansas Day 2

by Joanne on October 15, 2010

Morning Activities: Pre – AIB

The bed in our room is a perfect bed.  It’s firm with a great big fluffy down mattress cover.  In all that feathery comfort, my body still insisted on waking up at it’s usual time, which is an hour earlier in Manhattan, Kansas and too early to even “catch the worm”.

By 4:45, I gave up the struggle and got up.  Our room is one door down from the fitness room (Talk About Convenience!) which made it easy to toss on a few clothes, take a few steps and hop on the treadmill for a 5 mile run.  There were only dumbbells in the fitness room so I made use of those for a few back and shoulder exercises.  A little early, but a great way to start the busy day.

Ted and I dabbled in the full free breakfast offered by the hotel. They had instant oatmeal, peanut butter, perfectly round egg patties (hmmmm?????) fresh fruit, tiny yogurts…and yes, I had a little of everything including a piece of whole wheat toast.   I tried to cram as much in as possible since we are having lunch at AIB and, being vegetarian and somewhat picky, never get too excited about pre-arranged lunch options. 

Morning Activities: American Institute of Baking



We were immediately given name tags according to our baking category


and guided to the conference room where we would spend most of our day listening to very interesting lectures and learning about raisins, bread, and wheat



The perks:  A wonderful kit comprised of a stuffed “Mr. Raisin”, a brochure full of information and recipes, a dough scraper, raisins, a hat, and more..


We even got our names on a large poster board as the 2010 competition finalists


The morning lectures were all about raisins, raisin growing, the difference between golden vs. dark, the production process…did you realize that the ground temperature to dry raisins is 140 F?…

Dr. Debbie Rogers presented information on the accurate calculation of bakers percentages.  Some ingredients are still not clear cut regarding their inclusion in the total flour weight. 

Ciril Hitz a bakery and pastry instructor from Johnson & Whales University of Providence, R.I. presented information on Laminated and Enriched Doughs.  His videos are available for  viewing on YouTube under “BreadHitz”.

Mr. Klaus Tenbergen, a judge for the contest and Assistant Professor at California State University, Fresno, CA, discussed unique ingredient combinations to use with raisins in baked goods.   Ever hear of Tellicherry, black pepper and berry bread?????

At 12 noon, it was time for lunch.


YES! Vegetarian sammy’s were offered.  It was simply cheese, mushrooms, olive, peppers on a multi grain roll.  I sampled the much touted potato salad (but it was still too mayonnaise riddled for me) and the garden salad with a honey mustard dressing. 

A long afternoon followed with more lectures on raisins and wheat then finally working with sourdough ( a tough bread to tackle for the faint of heart).   Now it was time for lab work or pre-contest preparations…


We were told to go to the lab where we would be given instruction and tour.  It was absolute mayhem.  Everyone began grabbing for ingredients to get their prep work done.  The poor technicians instructed to guide us were in such demand, they were doing circles in attempt to accommodate everyone at the same time.  They did a darned good job as well!

My Prep Work Experience:

Panic!  Where do I find containers, scales, my ingredients?  Where do I mix my filling?  Yes, we were assigned tables but some were assigned two spots…..where did I go first?  

After finally calming down and telling myself to get a hold of the senses, I asked, found, and prepared.  Not 10 minutes into making my filling, I slit my thumb on the zester.  … did you know they use band aides with metal strips in them so if they fall in the mix, you can get them out …what? with a metal detector????

That band aide didn’t help much.  I ended up having to wrap masking tape (I had brought with me) to keep it tight and adhering to my thumb. 

I made my filling then was shown the way to the storage fridge. The gal showing me the way turned and left me in the cold room. I heard the door shut, turned to see the closed door, no handle. WELL!  You just KNOW what I was thinking! I was trapped in cold storage behind a locked door where I would meet my maker.  I tried the door and it opened easily. Ok….no need to freak out …YET!

Filling made = CHECK!   Milk, eggs, syrup mixed = CHECK!   Flour, oats, salt mixed=CHECK!  Since I was the last one using the make up area, I had to clean it =CHECK!  I was done!

Phase I = Complete. PHEW!

Dinner at Bobby T’s:


It was a nice, college bar-restaurant. Nothing fancy but fun.  Oprah, the gal who ran out of cold storage on me, had the most wonderful sounding drink.  A Crème Brule Margarita.  It must have been good because it wasn’t 5 minutes after taking the photo that it was gone.


Dinner was not good by any means.  There were 3 vegetarians and the dinner choices were chicken or steak.  We coerced the staff into at least serving a “fish substitute”. But one of us didn’t even eat fish so all he got was a spoonful of corn, broccoli and baked potato.


Fish sticks? I think so.  Bread…still wondering because it had no crust. 

It was  a fun group for dinner.  We laughed and talked and had a great time.  I definitely feel good about tomorrow, not that I can win but because I’ve already learned so much and had a great time.

Saturday… the BIG BAKE OFF!


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  • At 2010.10.15 23:55, Monet said:

    Oh your dinner looks so pitiful! But I’m glad you were able to laugh and enjoy your evening. This is what I love about you (and your blog)…you are always so positive. Thank you for your sweet word on my blog…they mean so much to me. Good luck tomorrow…you are going to do great!

    • At 2010.10.16 20:42, MaryEllen said:

      How exciting…….good luck……you will do fine !

      • At 2010.10.17 04:03, Anne@ Food Loving Polar Bear said:

        It’s already Sunday in Finland so I guess your competition is already over in Kansas, I’m sure you did well and can’t wait to hear all about it 🙂

        • At 2010.10.17 10:41, Nancy Baber said:

          Great looking photos, especially the one of you in front of the finalist board – – should have worn your new raisin hat! Such an impressive cooking area, wow. So good to hear you’re enjoying everything about the experience … now bake up a storm and let us know how you made out. You’re already a winner in our book! xo nj

          • At 2010.10.17 13:53, Sonia (foodiesleuth) said:

            The whole pre-event sounds quite thorough but also sort of hectic (the lab work and pre-contest preparations…)

            I use a combo of peppercorns in my mill – Tellicherry black, Muntock white, green and red peppercorns…Love it!

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