Braided, swirled, crusty, flaky, sweet and savory California Raisin goodness – it is that time of year again! The California Raisin Marketing Board’s (CRMB) fourth annual America’s Best Raisin Bread contest is open and all commercial, artisan and student bakers are encouraged to submit their mouth-watering masterpieces to the baking competition.

Entries are accepted in the commercial and artisan divisions through August 1, 2011, while the student division is open until May 14, 2011. Contest application, rules and additional details are available at The contest features the following categories in each division:

Best wholesale/commercial raisin bread

Best artisan raisin bread

Best breakfast item

A total of 12 winners – one from each division and category – will be selected. New to this year’s contest is an emphasis on healthy formulas that feature 100-percent whole grains and/or gluten-free ingredients. For the commercial and artisan bakers, one of the three prizes in each category will be awarded to a healthy formula.

Each contest entry received from members of the Bread Bakers Guild of America (BBGA) will result in a donation to the Bread Bakers Guild of America in support of Team USA and their quest for gold at the 2012 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie – also known as the World Cup of Baking – in Paris. The CRMB will contribute $25 per entry to help fund Team USA’s presence at the competition.

“The contest has always been about recognizing aspiring and working bakers for their exceptional skills, while celebrating California Raisins as one of nature’s best, most versatile baking ingredients,” said Larry Blagg, senior vice president of marketing, CRMB. “This year, we are thrilled our contest will also help to elevate some of our country’s most talented bakers to the world stage as part of Team USA.”

Preliminary contest judging will take place in September to select nine finalists from each professional division and three finalists from each student division to participate in the final bake-off. A total of 36 finalists will receive an expenses-paid trip to the American Institute of Baking in Manhattan, Kansas on October 13 -15, 2011 where they will bake their formulas before a panel of distinguished judges from both the artisan and commercial baking industries.  

Winners will be selected based on their formulas’ taste, appearance, originality and value.  In addition to industry-wide recognition, 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 – 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 the cut cross section and whole finished loaf and filled out in baker’s percentages. 
Raisin breads, at a minimum, must include 50 percent of raisin content to dry flour weight while other raisin bakery products must include a minimum of 25 percent raisins to dry flour weight.  California Raisin content may include California Natural Sun-Dried Raisins, California Golden Raisins, California Raisin Paste and/or California Raisin Juice Concentrate. 

Entries can be emailed to or mailed to:

Contest Administration Office
c/o Theresa Cogswell
BakerCogs, Inc.
14740 West 159th Street, Suite 100
Olathe, Kansas, 66062

For questions or additional information, contact CRMB’s Genaro Gonzales at 559-248-0287 or