Largest amateur baking contest

Onion Parmesan Cracker Bread, created by Rosemary Leicht of Bethel, Ohio, won top prize in the 2013 National Festival of Breads. (americasbreadbasket.com)

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The National Festival of Breads, sponsored by the Kansas Wheat Commission, is just one of the great things to do, see and taste in Kansas. As part of the Kansas Sampler Festival, Kansas Wheat staff shared the healthfulness and great taste of wheat foods and how to become a part of the world's largest amateur baking contest that will be held right here in Kansas.

The Kansas Sampler Festival, held in Wamego on May 3-4, drew a record crowd of nearly 12,000 people, who discovered all that there is to see, do, taste, hear and buy in Kansas.

Kansas Wheat was one of 282 exhibits at the event. Visitors to the booth could sample the 2013 National Festival of Breads winning recipe Onion Parmesan Cracker Bread and pick up the Kansas Wheat Commission annual recipe book featuring the winning recipes from the 2013 National Festival of Breads.

Other exhibits ranged from communities promoting day trip opportunities to entrepreneurs selling their Kansas products. Photographers displayed their work and gave workshops to standing-room only crowds. Packgoats, a replica Longren airplane, and living historical encampments were found among demonstrations of horseshoes, Wicketball, and Kubb, a Swedish lawn game.

The Kansas Wheat booth included animal crackers for children to sample along with recipe cards and information about wheat foods. The educational materials about wheat and gluten were very popular among the visitors.

Staff was able to engage in conversations with event participants about the baking contest, nutrition of wheat foods and wheat farming in Kansas.

"It was great to see the people who came by the booth and share the message of wheat with the people in our community," said Cindy Falk, Kansas Wheat nutrition educator.

The National Festival of Breads will be held June 13, 2015, in Manhattan, Kansas. Although the event is more than a year away, preparations and promotion have been underway since the 3rd annual National Festival of Breads ended in 2013.

Recipe entries will begin to be accepted October 1 through the National Festival of Breads website at nationalfestivalofbreads.com. Rules and more information can also be found on the website.

Eight adult finalists will earn $500 cash prizes with the overall champion earning a $2,000 cash prize and an all expense paid trip to Vermont to attend a baking class of their choice at King Arthur Flour Baking Center. In addition, there are cash prizes for other special awards and categories.

The National Festival of Breads grew from the original Kansas Festival of Breads established in 1990. A project of the Kansas Department of Agriculture, the Kansas Wheat Commission and the Kansas Wheathearts has grown into the nation's premier home bread-baking contest.

Designed to celebrate the art of baking, encourage the use of Kansas products and recognize the Kansas wheat and milling industries, the contest received over 500 entries in 2013. This biennial event recognizes the best amateur bread bakers in America.

© 2014 Rural Radio Network. All rights reserved. Republishing, rebroadcasting, rewriting, redistributing prohibited. Copyright Information