June 9, 2019
Judges selected Graham’s Blackberry Ginger Speculaas Danish Wreath from among four finalist recipes in the Food Blogger Division and Hubsmith’s Chai Ube Rosette Rolls among the four finalists in the Home Baker Division. All eight finalists baked their recipes at the public competition on June 8 in Manhattan. The National Festival of Breads is America's only amateur bread-baking competition.
Food Blogger DivisionThis was Graham’s third time competing in the National Festival of Breads as a finalist. Competitions like the National Festival of Breads are actually what sparked her interest in food blogging. Graham began competing in cooking contests in 2009 and became hooked. Graham’s blog, “A Merry Recipe,” showcases her recipes and recommended ingredients. She sees her blog as a way to have fun, compete and to connect with bakers and food enthusiasts from around the world. Her readers and followers are those she had met through culinary adventures and on airplanes! Graham also blogs so that her family and friends can have an “online” collection of her recipes and experiences.
Additional finalists in the Food Blogger Division included Shauna Havey, from Roy, Utah, with her Beetroot Amaretto Rolls; Suzy Neal, from Sautee Nacoochee, Georgia, with her Peanut Butter Pretzel Rolls; and Kristin Hoffman, from Chicago, Illinois, with her Tart Cherry, Pecan and Rosemary Boule.
Home Baker DivisionHubsmith was a first-time finalist in the National Festival of Breads. Her recipe, Chai Ube Rosette Rolls, came from a variety of inspirations. Her first inspiration was purple sweet potatoes that she saw at a farmer’s market, and she instantly knew she wanted to make a bread with them. She used chai because it is her family’s favorite spice, and she enjoys putting it in many different recipes. The look of the rolls came from her love for baking cakes. Using fondant techniques, she rolled the dough to resemble a rose. All of her ideas came together to create a masterpiece and earned her the title of Home Baker Champion.
Other finalists in the Home Baker Division included Lauren Katz, from Ashburn, Virginia, with her Loaded Baked Potato Bread; Brenda Watts, from Gaffney, South Carolina, with her Sicilian Star Bread; and Tiffany Aaron, from Quitman, Arkansas, with her Mulled Spiced Apple Cider Crisp Loaves.
As the 2019 National Festival of Breads champions, Graham and Hubsmith both receive $1,500 cash, plus a trip to attend a baking class at the King Arthur Flour Baking Education Center in Norwich, Vermont. In addition, they will each receive a year's supply (120 envelopes) of Red Star Yeast.
The champions and all eight finalists’ recipes are available at http://nationalfestivalofbreads.com.
In addition to the competition, the National Festival of Breads featured educational baking demonstrations, children’s activities, bread sampling and more. This was the sixth biennial event, which began in 2009. The more than 3,500 attendees brought nonperishable food items as admission to the National Festival of Breads, which were donated to the Flint Hills Breadbasket, a community food network in Manhattan to help alleviate hunger and poverty. The event raised $1,140.14 in cash, plus 701 pounds of food for the Flint Hills Breadbasket.
Each of the finalists received a cash prize of $500, plus the trip to Manhattan to compete in the Festival. While in Kansas, they also attended a Wheat Harvest Tour, sponsored by John Deere, which included an educational and interactive visit to a wheat farm and flour mill.
Soy Award Winners
This year’s special award winners are Lucky Five-Spice Cloverleaf Rolls, created by Shauna Havey, Roy, Utah, in the Soy Award Food Blogger Division, and Sicilian Star Bread, developed by Brenda Watts, Gaffney, South Carolina, in the Soy Award Home Baker Division. The Soy Awards are sponsored by the Kansas Soybean Commission.
People’s Choice Awards
The winner of the Online People's Choice Award, sponsored by John Deere, was Shauna Havey. Friends and followers of each finalist had the opportunity to vote for their favorite recipe by commenting, liking and sharing the post on Facebook during the week prior to the event. Havey’s friends voted for her aesthetically-pleasing Beetroot Amaretto Rolls.
The winner of the Public Choice Award during the event was RaChelle Hubsmith. Festival attendees got to sample each of the breads during the public festival and voted for her Chai Ube Rosette Rolls.
About the Title Sponsors
For more than a century, home bakers have trusted the high quality and consistent performance of Red Star®, SAF® and bakipan® Yeast, made by Lesaffre, the world leader in yeast technology. Their mission is to take the fear out of baking with yeast. More information is available at redstaryeast.com.
King Arthur Flour is not only the nation’s oldest flour company, it is the single largest educator of home bakers in the world. Founded in 1790 and employee-owned since 1996, the company conducts free baking classes nationwide for both adults and children, and offers a wide variety of hands-on baking classes at its Baking Education Center in Vermont. King Arthur Flour’s fundamental mission is to be an education and product resource for, and inspiration to, bakers worldwide. More information is available at kingarthurflour.com.
The Kansas Wheat Commission is a farmer-funded and governed promotion organization working to secure the future of Kansas wheat globally and domestically through research, promotion, marketing and education. Kansas wheat farmers support the Kansas Wheat Commission with a voluntary two cent assessment on each bushel of wheat produced in Kansas. For more information, log onto kansaswheat.org.