County Fair Ribbon-Worthy Baking

blue-ribbon

All over the country people are eyeing the competition for baked goods awards at their fairs!  Having judged a lot of bread and baked goods myself, I know how much may be invested in winning.  If I were baking for the fair, I’d start with tips from Cindy Falk of the Kansas Wheat Commission.  As director of the National Festival of Breads competition and a veteran 4-Hbaking teacher and judge, she has much to offer.  Cindy recommends:

  1. Start researching…don’t wait until the last minute. Not just any recipe will do.  We all agree you can’t go wrong with Grandma’s Potato Refrigerator Dough in rolls or braids. Check out the braiding and shaping guides offered too.
  2. Choose from well-tested recipes that look delicious and fit the category guidelines. Let a test kitchen do the trialbaking and discover the best methods and ingredients.  Cindy’s best baking results can be found online here, and many more Home Baking Association test kitchens can be found on the HBA website.
  3. Use fresh ingredients—whole grain flours, leavening (baking powder, soda, yeast), nuts, fats and spices if you haven’t baked for many months.  Make ingredient substitutions using good guidance such as this great measurement and substitution guide.
  4. Practice baking the recipe several times—double check your baking methods so you’ll get the same winning results as the test kitchen.  Video measuring method help is a click away with this helpful video.
  5. You may need to bake products ahead and freeze them for the big day. “If you put a purple ribbon product in the freezer, it comes out a purple ribbon if you cool product on a wire rack, double wrap and keep frozen for 1 to 4 weeks before the fair. Use A Bakers Dozen Lab 13 Guide for Handling and Storage 

Let the summer fair baking begin!

Sharon Davis

Home Baking Association

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