bread loaf

Saint Paul Bread Club

We knead to bake!

Saint Paul Bread Club (SPBC) Bake-Offs

When We Started The Bake-Offs

The Saint Paul Bread Club has held bake-offs since 2004, the year we were able to start meeting at the Saint Agnes Baking Company bakery.

About the SPBC Bake-Offs

The club started doing bake-offs as a way of putting some fun into club activities. There were enough of us that it seemed like a good idea at the time. It’s a kind of good-natured competition.

As time went on, and club grew, competition grew as well. As the club became better known, we attracted more and better judges. Most recently, we have seen the collective quality of the entries get better and better. Some members encouraged by their efforts in our bake-off have gone on to win ribbons at the Minnesota State Fair.

The bake-off was initially held during the April meeting in 2004. Both the time of year when a bake-off is held and the times for the meetings have shifted somewhat, making it a bit harder to bake before the meeting. We used to meet from noon until 3 p.m., but now we meet at whatever time is convenient for the St. Agnes Baking Company to host our meeting.

The Categories

The categories have changed a bit over the years.

Some of the categories are broad (French/Italian); some are more narrow (challah).

They provide an opportunity for breads of almost any type to compete, yet try to keep the range reasonable for a judge to handle. (Their job is not an easy one, because of the potential range of entries.)

The Challenges

Our record keeping has been a learning experience. As a volunteer organization, we don’t have the labor available to do everthing we would like in the way of record keeping. (That means we have had some cases where the winners get the ribbons, but we didn’t get their names or the names of their recipes.)

Every year we strive to learn from past mistakes and improve our process and our record keeping. (We do tend to be more inventive than we expect.)

These are some of the things I wish that we had recorded better.

  • Every winner’s name and recipe name
  • The number of entries in each category
  • The number of people entering the competition
  • The number of people attending the bake-off
  • The judges
  • Pictures of all the meetings, but especially the bake-offs.

This gives us goals to strive for. We have pictures of several meetings, thanks to several different people.