Onion Parmesan Cracker Bread takes top prize at National Festival of Breads

Posted June 24, 2013

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Rosemary Leicht of Bethel, Ohio, is the grand prize winner in the 2013 National Festival of Breads baking competition, sponsored by King Arthur Flour, Fleischmann’s Yeast, and the Kansas Wheat Commission. Judges selected Leicht’s recipe for Onion Parmesan Cracker Bread from among eight finalist recipes bake-tested at the public competition on June 22 in Manhattan. The National Festival of Breads is the nation’s only amateur bread-baking competition.

“It is very exciting, but it is surprising,” Leicht said after the award announcement. “There were so many great breads here, and they all sounded wonderful.”

Leicht’s Onion Parmesan Cracker Bread was entered in the competition’s “Time Saving and Simple” category. Leicht says she developed the recipe after her son-in-law raved about a similar bread served at a Chicago restaurant.

“Michael is our newest member of the family, so when this contest came up, I thought I would try something he would enjoy,” says Leicht, who perfected the recipe after nearly four months of testing and tweaking.

Leicht works as a part-time paralegal in Bethel. She and her husband, George, have two grown children, Martin and Elizabeth.

As the 2013 National Festival of Breads champion, Leicht wins $2,000 in cash, an expense-paid trip to King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vermont, and a year’s supply of yeast from Fleischmann’s Yeast.

According to judges Kristina Vanni, Cooking Contest Central; Jane Marshall, Kansas State University College of Human Ecology; Allison Fishman-Task, Yahoo.com’s “Blue Ribbon Hunter”; and Aaron Clanton, Baking Curriculum manager at AIB International, Leicht’s Onion Parmesan Cracker Bread was unique, fun, and delicious. Its crispiness allows families and friends to truly “break bread together.”

The NFOB Awards Banquet concluded a day of baking-related activities, including educational baking demonstrations, children’s activities, bread taste-tests and more. More than 600 people - many from out of state - attended the event in Manhattan.

“The third National Festival of Breads exceeded our expectations in terms of outstanding bread recipes vying for the grand prize,” said Cindy Falk, nutrition educator for Kansas Wheat and chairperson of the National Festival of Breads. “We were thrilled with the wonderful attendance and support we had from home bakers seeking to gain additional insight and expertise during our educational sessions. The 2013 National Festival of Breads was a tremendous success.”

Additional information about the 2013 National Festival of Breads, including the finalists’ recipes and a complete list of sponsors, is available at NationalFestivalofBreads.com.

More than $2,300 Raised for Share Our Strength

During the daylong event, more than $700 was raised to eradicate childhood hunger through the Share Our Strength bake sale to benefit No Kid Hungry. An assortment of baked goods, including cupcakes, donuts, and cinnamon rolls, were sold during the day. Competitors’ breads were also auctioned off at the National Festival of Breads Awards Banquet, raising an additional $1,600 for Share Our Strength. The Grand Prize entry brought more than $500 at auction and was bought by King Arthur Flour.

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.

Fleischmann’s Yeast was founded in 1868 and over the years has developed a complete line of yeast products including Active Dry Yeast, RapidRise Yeast, Bread Machine Yeast, Fresh Active Yeast, and Pizza Crust Yeast. Fleischmann’s Yeast offers expert resources to consumers through a number of free programs. The most popular is a website, breadworld.com that is bursting with baking tips and more than 900 recipes serving both the beginner and experienced baker.

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 1.5 cent assessment on each bushel of wheat produced in Kansas. For more information, log onto kansaswheat.org.