Fresh from the oven is the ultimate California raisin bread competition, honoring professional and up-and-coming bakers across the country. The California Raisin Marketing Board's (CRMB) fifth annual America's Best Raisin Bread Contest is now open and all industry professionals and student bakers are encouraged to enter their most mouth-watering masterpieces in one or all of the three categories of this competition: Artisan, Commercial and Breakfast.

All eligible contestants are:

Bakers and research & development staff of commercial baking companies

Craft bakers and retail shop owners/managers

Certified baking teachers

Students in accredited baking programs

Bakery technicians at bakery supply wholesalers, flour milling companies and other allied bakery ingredient suppliers

18 years or older

Entries are accepted through July 15, 2012. Contest application, rules and additional details are available at The contest features the following categories in two divisions, professional and student:

Best wholesale/commercial raisin bread

Best artisan raisin bread

Best breakfast item

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

Preliminary contest judging will take place in August. A total of 36 finalists will receive a complimentary trip to the American Institute of Baking in Manhattan, Kansas, on October 11-13, 2012, where they will bake their formulas before a panel of distinguished judges from both the artisan and commercial baking industries. A total of 12 winners – nine in the professional division and three in student division – will be selected.

Winners will be selected based on their formula's taste, appearance, originality and value. The California Raisin Marketing Board seeks to encourage the use of healthy ingredients. Formulas that feature 100 percent whole grains and/or gluten-free ingredients will be awarded in each division. In addition to industry-wide recognition, winning bakers will receive a five-day California educational 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 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) Seedless Raisins, California Golden Seedless Raisins, other California Raisins, California Raisin Paste and/or California Raisin Juice Concentrate. 

Entries can be emailed to or mailed to:
California Raisin Marketing Board
Attn: Dori Rothweiler
2445 Capitol Street, Suite 200
Fresno, CA 93721
Phone:  (559) 248-0287
Fax: (559) 224-7016

Previous America's Best Raisin Bread Contest winners have received numerous accolades on the national and international levels. For example, 2011 winner Jory Downer placed in the World Cup of Baking in France. Another 2011 winner, Nancy Sepe, trained with Food Network's "Cake Challenges" and also appeared on the network's show "Cupcake Wars."

For questions or additional information, contact CRMB's Dori Rothweiler at (559) 248-0287 or