FRESNO, CALIF. — The California Raisin Marketing Board is accepting applications for its fifth annual “America’s Best Raisin Bread Contest” through July 15.

Preliminary judging in August will choose 27 professional finalists and 9 student finalists. The finalists will receive an expenses-paid trip to the AIB International at Manhattan, Kas., Oct. 11-13, and will bake their formulas in front of a panel of judges from both the artisan and commercial baking industries. A total of 12 winners — nine in the professional division and three in the student division — will be selected.
Winning bakers will receive a five-day California vacation with visits to the Culinary Institute of America, Yosemite National Park and the San Joaquin Valley.

The contest will feature three categories: best wholesale/commercial raisin bread; best artisan raisin bread; and best breakfast item.

To encourage the broadest possible number of applications, the contest is open to bakers and R.&D. staff of commercial baking companies, to craft bakers and retail bakery shop owners, to certified baking teachers and registered students, and to bakery technicians that work in allied industries such as bakery supply wholesalers, flour milling companies and bakery ingredients suppliers. Participants must be 18 years or older.

Formulas submitted may be for raisin bread products and raisin bakery products currently available in the market or products planned for sale in the future. Applications must be filled out in baker’s percentages. No one person may submit more than three entries, and applicants also must provide color photos of the whole finished loaf and a cut cross section.

Raisin bread, at a minimum, must include 50% of raisin content to dry flour weight while other raisin bakery products must include a minimum of 25% raisins to dry flour weight.

“This competition celebrates the creativity of both seasoned professionals and rising stars in the baking world, while highlighting the versatility of California raisins as a flavor-packed ingredient,” said Larry Blagg, senior vice-president of marketing for the C.R.M.B. “The contest is an ideal way to showcase the endless varieties of delicious bread products that can be made from world-renowned California raisins.”

Application forms and a full set of rules are available on-line at Applications may be submitted by mail to California Raisin Marketing Board, Attn: Dori Rothweiler, 2445 Capitol Street, Suite 200, Fresno, CA 93721.