And the Winner Is…Kansas Day 3

by Joanne on October 17, 2010

The final day of the California Raisin Bread Competition.  What an exciting day. I won’t tell you about being awake at 3:30 am.  Nor will I tell you how I forgot my socks and one of the judges told me I had better get my socks and that Ted had to save the day pertaining to both socks and pans.  Yes, pans.  Ted had to get to Wal-Mart and purchase four 9X13 cake pans.  The AIB didn’t have the 11 X 15 I needed (with 2” sides) and neither did Wal-Mart.  I made the best out of what we could get.  This is what I will tell you…

The excitement of watching all other bakers craft their delicious breads..




The nervousness I felt when my dough began rising out of control and I had a good 45 minutes left of proofing time.  The relief I felt when first, my 9 x 13 pans arrived and second, when I pulled my dough from the box and it felt beautiful under my hands.  PERFECT!

I was semi – relieved when it was finally my time for the oven and I watched my pans go around and around while baking in the reel oven…


The pan above is the one sheet pan I used from AIB. It produced flat buns so I was relieved that Ted was able to get me the cake pans which allowed the finished product I’m used to seeing.



The photographer made me feel great because after he finished photographing my buns, and they certainly weren’t as ornate as some ….


the photographer said that mine resulted in his favorite photograph so far.  I asked why and was told it was because they looked like you could taste the bun from the photo.  YAY ME!  …. unfortunately, he was not the judge.


More great breads were presented…





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It was time to be judged…


No telling what happened in there but my fingers were crossed. 

Ted and I left AIB for a 2 + mile walk back to the hotel, stopping along the way at the Museum of Art on the K-State campus where a giant red glass sculpture of wheat hangs in the large window.  It glows bright red when lit up at night.


Upon reaching the hotel, we swam for half an hour, enjoyed the hot tub and sauna then decided it was time for refreshment…or was it celebration no matter what the outcome…

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Dinner at The Train Station and the Awards Banquet…..drum roll please…..

The presentation of breads



Delicious food (my favorite was the strawberry, walnut, feta salad and a deliciously sweet dessert…with raisins of course

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Now for the awards.   All finalists received a medal and a plaque

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The event was so much fun and a terrific learning experience.  That is what I take home with me.  I’m not a Grand Prize winner so Ted and I will have to make our own plans for our next trip to California.  You can bet that when we do, we will be visiting the Fresno area for further research on the California Raisin Growing market.  

Congratulations to all the winners.  There were some AMAZING breads by very, VERY talented individuals.    A group photo shoot of the judges in front, the Grand Prize winners and all the other winning finalists. 


Next year, anyone who bakes bread, check out the California Raisin Board for a chance to experience this great opportunity.  

Score a great medal if you are one of the lucky finalists (they are increasing the finalists from 35 to 40 something next year)


and after the awards banquet, don’t forget to grab yourself a loaf (or two) of some of the best raisin bread the best bakers can bake.  Oh! and a Mr. Raisin plush toy.


Thanks to the California Raisin Board. Fantastic experience.

Thinking of next year already, what flavors and/or produce do you associate with California?


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  • At 2010.10.17 20:14, Amanda @ BakingWithoutABox said:

    Oh my gracious! What a wonderful experience! Congratulations! Look at you turning out professional quality deliciousness during a stressful time crunch competition in an unfamiliar competition without the slightest quibble! I’m so very impressed and proud for you! That medal is just a little token of the mountain you just climbed!

    • At 2010.10.18 14:14, Joanne said:

      Thank you. All the finalists received a medal because we were already winners out of just under 90 entries.

      • At 2010.10.17 21:14, Heather said:

        What an experience!! You’re a winner in my book, Joanne!

        • At 2010.10.18 14:17, Joanne said:

          It was an experience. Thanks 🙂

          • At 2010.10.17 21:35, Pam (Certified Holistic Health Coach) said:

            Great job this weekend! You’ve got my vote 🙂
            The photographer is right, yours looks the best because you can almost taste it in the photo.
            I’m glad you enjoyed the event, I’m so proud of you for going out there 🙂

            • At 2010.10.18 14:17, Joanne said:

              Thank you Pam. Can’t wait to see you this coming weekend….soon to be married lady. It’s going to be a BLAST!

              • At 2010.10.17 21:36, Lori (Finding Radiance) said:

                What an amazing experience! It sounds like you had a great time and all of those bread items looked mouth watering!

                • At 2010.10.18 14:24, Joanne said:

                  We did have a good time. I curse myself for not eating more of those wonderful breads.

                  • At 2010.10.17 21:49, Monet said:

                    I’m so happy you were able to have this wonderful experience…now I want to start finding more contests like this (let me know if you see another baking one in the next few months) All of the bread looked delicious, but I would have wanted to eat yours more than any other. You are a winner in my book, and I feel honored that you shared your experience with us.

                    • At 2010.10.18 14:32, Joanne said:

                      Thank you Monet and especially for taking the time to offer such kind thoughts and words when your family is going through such a difficult time. Blessings be with you.

                      • At 2010.10.17 22:06, Anabela said:

                        OMG what a great experince. SO glad you got to experience it. Everything looked delicious but yours was mouth watering. You won regardless!

                        • At 2010.10.18 14:36, Joanne said:

                          Thanks Anabela. Good luck in you Half next week – you’ll rock it.

                          • At 2010.10.18 10:28, nancy jean said:

                            You are truly amazing, Joanne – – going up against professional bakers from around the country, under the pressure of performing in unfamiliar surroundings, stressing about finding the size pans you needed, and just general anxiety and nervousness – – you delivered, your Morning Glory buns looked absolutely yummy without any decoration or embellishment. Congratulations to you and I’m so glad you thoroughly enjoyed the experience. You certainly earned your medal of honor.

                            • At 2010.10.18 14:36, Joanne said:

                              Awwww… Nancy… my biggest fan. Thank you so much.

                              • At 2010.10.18 12:15, Indi said:

                                Oh wow!!! Didn’t that was all going on in Kansas 🙂 I seriously want some raisin bread now!!

                                • At 2010.10.18 14:37, Joanne said:

                                  I can’t believe I still want raisin bread. Gotta love them raisins 🙂

                                  • At 2010.10.19 05:50, claudia lamascolo said:

                                    I cant imagine the rewarding factor here, your already an awesome cook and baker, that truly shows it in your writing as well, amazing experience and the rush had to be overwhelming, a memory to last a lifetime that most of us will never experience, congrats to you for just having that moment, there is still more out there for you!

                                    • At 2010.10.20 13:25, Anne@ Food Loving Polar Bear said:

                                      If I had been a judge you would definitely have won, your bread looks so good! I would love to be the judge in a competition like that, surrounded by delicious and beautiful bread 🙂

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