National Festival of Breads announces 2017 contest finalists

Posted April 13, 2017

After months of analyzing recipes, mixing, kneading, baking and tasting, a panel of judges has selected the recipes that will be represented in the fifth National Festival of Breads, sponsored by King Arthur Flour®, Red Star Yeast® and Kansas Wheat. The baking competition will be held June 17, in Manhattan, Kansas.

Eight adult finalists and one youth champion have been named for the biennial National Festival of Breads, the nation's only national amateur bread-baking competition. They are from all over the United States, from Utah to Maryland.

Time-Saving and Simple Breads

Finalists in the Time-Saving and Simple Breads category include Michele Kusma, from Columbus, Ohio, with her Mexican Street Corn Skillet Bread, and Jane Fry, from Elk Falls, Kansas, with her Southwest Focaccia.

Inspired by her two successful battles with breast cancer, Michele Kusma realized that if she wants to do things she needs to go for it, because you never know when your last day could be. Since beginning her baking career, Kusma has put her full effort into baking and honing her skills in the art.

A second time top eight finalist in the National Festival of Breads, Jane Fry says her love for baking stems back to her childhood and her involvement in 4-H. Now Fry loves to bake and cook for family and to see the enjoyment people get from eating something yummy she has made!

Holiday Breads

Finalists in the Holiday Breads category include Patrice Hurd, from Bemidji, Minnesota, with her Toasted Cardamom Nordic Crown, and Kellie White, from Valley Park, Missouri, with her Orange-Spice Anadama Wreath with Walnuts and Dates.

Growing up with grandparents from different ethnic backgrounds, Patrice Hurd’s love for baking stems from their traditional recipes that they passed down to her. Hurd now enjoys baking Finnish and Scandinavian recipes as well as yeast breads. This is Hurd’s second time as a finalist in the National Festival of Breads.

Born and raised in Kansas, Kellie White’s involvement in baking stems all the way back to her childhood when a friend of her parents, Ethel, would have her over to help bake yeast breads. White now loves to bake for her family, friends and workplace because of the pure satisfaction she gets out of making a delicious treat for others.


Finalists in the Rolls category include Pam Correll, from Brockport, Pennsylvania, with her Orange Marmalade Breakfast Crescents, and Tiffany Aaron, of Quitman, Arkansas, with her Turmeric-Rosemary & Sweet Potato Rosettes.

Pam Correll gets to spend the better part of her days baking while also teaching othersto bake. Being a family and consumer science teacher, Correll gets to take the skills she has learned from baking at home, and apply them to her work. This is Correll’s second time entering the NFOB and she’s excited that this year she will be able to experience the contest as a finalist.

Tiffany Aaron juggles being a mother to 5 children and writing for Country Rebel, a country music website, but she still finds time in her busy schedule for baking. Growing up in a little town in Montana, Aaron says that her mom was an avid cook and baker, cooking hot meals every day. She say's it's because of her mother that she loves being in the kitchen so much. 

Whole Grain Breads

Finalists in the Whole Grain Breads category include Ronna Farley, from Rockville, Maryland, with her Seeded Corn and Onion Bubble Loaf, and Shauna Havey, of Roy, Utah, with her Butternut Romesco Braid.

With a large family to bake for, and dogs who love leftovers, Ronna Farley finds enjoyment from cooking because it makes people happy. Farley says she loves making things that are unique and will get an idea about a recipe and change it enough to make it different. This is Farley’s second time being a finalist for the National Festival of Breads.

Shauna Havey started baking once she was married and says the hobby is both relaxing and soothing to her. Havey has entered different baking and cooking contests to hone her skills and to travel. This is the first time she has entered the National Festival of Breads and she is excited for the experience that awaits her.

Youth Champion

This year’s Youth Champion is Michael Favor, a high-school culinary arts student from Madison, Kansas, who won with his French Vanilla Donuts. While the Youth Champion doesn’t compete in the national competition, he will receive a $500 scholarship.

The Festival

Adult contestants will travel to Manhattan, Kan., from June 14-17, to bake their creations on June 17, at the National Festival of Breads, sponsored by King Arthur Flour®, Red Star Yeast® and Kansas Wheat. While in Kansas, contestants will participate in a host of additional activities, including a Wheat Harvest Tour with stops at a wheat farm, research facility and flour mill.

The grand prize winner will receive a cash prize of $2,000, plus a year's supply of Red Star Yeast® and a trip to the King Arthur Flour Baking Education Center in Norwich, Vermont.

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