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Chef-Instructor Selected for National Raisin Bread Competition

Charles R. NiedermyerA baking and pastry arts instructor at Pennsylvania College of Technology was selected to compete in the final round of the second annual America’s Best Raisin Bread Contest, sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board.

Chef Charles R. Niedermyer, instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts, will join 29 other bakers at the American Institute of Baking in Manhattan, Kan., Oct. 9-10 to prepare his raisin bread recipe in front of a panel of distinguished judges from the artisan and commercial-baking industries.

Niedermyer is among 12 professional contestants selected to compete in the Best Artisan Raisin Bread category, based on the original formula he sent to the judges. Niedermyer calls his recipe “Dueling Raisins Bread.”

“It features sun-dried and golden raisins along with fresh lemon and vanilla bean,” he said. “I really enjoy and appreciate the subtle differences in flavor, texture and sweetness of both dark and golden raisins, so I wanted to feature both. It is a sweet bread with a light crust and soft, open crumb. It has a faint lemony tang on the palate, and the vanilla really shows in the aroma. It reminds me of the breads I ate when I was growing up.”

In addition to the artisans, 12 professional bakers were selected to compete in the Best Wholesale/Commercial Raisin Bread category, and six undergraduates will compete in student categories for Best Artisan or Wholesale/Commercial Raisin Bread.

The California Raisin Marketing Board is seeking the best raisin breads possible based on taste, appearance, creativity and value.

During the final bake-off, contestants will be given four hours of preparation time when they arrive at the institute Oct. 9 and will have six hours to produce their creations during the final bake-off judging Oct. 10.

Contestants will be judged not only on their final product, but also on their workmanship during production. The top five contestants in each of the professional categories (awarded either the Grand Prize, Judges Prize or Ideas Prize) and the Grand Prize winner in each of the student categories will receive a five-day trip to California that includes tours of Yosemite National Park and the San Joaquin Valley, and a visit to The Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley.

The California Raisin Marketing Board will publish a book containing the 12 winning formulas of the Final Bake-Off. The formula book will be available to any interested baker.

All 30 finalists will receive medals, plaques and industry-wide publicity.

Niedermyer, a 2000 graduate of Penn College, joined the faculty in 2005. His nine years of professional experience includes positions at The Pennsylvania State University Bakery; The Gamble Mill Restaurant; The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. in Tysons Corner (McLean, Va.), and Amelia Island, Fla.; and The River Club in Jacksonville, Fla.

To learn more about the academic programs offered by the School of Hospitality at Penn College, call 570-327-4505 or visit online .

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