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Blue Ribbon bakers

Spokane’s Whitford, White come away winners at the Fair

And the winners are …

Recipes for honey whole wheat bread and turtle pizza won the top prizes in the 2013 Spokane County Interstate Fair’s Best Baking Contest, sponsored by Fleischmann’s Yeast.

Steve Whitford, 61, of Spokane, won first place in the baked goods category for his bread loaf. It marked his first blue ribbon in the fair’s Best Baking Contest. Last year, a slightly different version of his recipe took second.

An avid baker, Whitford spent three years developing this particular recipe. He grinds the wheat himself, using an equal blend of three kinds: hard white, hard red and soft white.

“That bread just tastes good all the time,” he said. “The flavor is terrific. When you grind the wheat, I think you get better flavor.”

Kathy White, 59, of Spokane, won first place for her turtle pizza in the dessert pizza category. This was White’s second blue ribbon. Two years ago, she took the top prize for her molasses oatmeal bread.

Another avid baker – “I pretty much bake all the time,” she said – White was trying something new when she came up with the idea for her turtle pizza.

“Usually, I use jams or fruits,” she said. “I was looking for something that was different for the contest. I just like experimenting.”

To those who decide to try her turtle pizza, she offers this advice: “Just don’t bake it too long. I think the trick to most baking is two things: you don’t under-bake it, and you don’t over-bake it.”

She also offers this encouragement: “It’s really easy, and you could put anything you want as a topping. You don’t have to use the topping I did.”

White and Whitford each won a cash prize of $125 for their top creations.

Fleischmann’s Yeast began sponsoring the contest at state and county fairs across the country in 1994. It’s been sponsoring the Spokane fair’s contest since 1998. This year’s fair ran Sept. 6 to Sept. 15.

Between July and October, Fleischmann’s is sponsoring its baking contest at 33 fairs nationwide, including the Washington State Fair in Puyallup.

There were 11 entries in the baked goods category and 10 entries for dessert pizza at this year’s Spokane fair. White was the only winner in the dessert pizza category.

The second- and third-place winners in the baked goods category were Elizabeth Casteel, of Spokane Valley, for her maple whole wheat bread, and Patricia Eller, of Otis Orchards, for “Norma’s Killer Bread.”

Here are the winning recipes:

Steve’s Blue Ribbon Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Steve Whitford, of Spokane, won Best Baked Goods with this recipe in the Fleischmann’s Yeast Best Baking Contest at the Spokane County Interstate Fair.

1/3 cup grape seed oil

2/3 cup honey

2 1/2 cups water

8 cups whole wheat flour (plus more if needed)

3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten

3 tablespoons dough enhancer

1 1/2 tablespoons Fleischmann’s Bread Machine Yeast

2 1/2 teaspoons iodized sea salt

Measure the grape seed oil into a 2-cup measuring cup, then add the honey. (This allows the honey to slide easily out of the measuring cup.) Pour honey mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 2 1/2 cups hot water – between 110 to 120 degrees – to the mixer. Turn the mixer on low and allow the hot water to mix with the honey and oil.

Mix 3 to 4 cups of whole wheat flour with the vital wheat gluten, dough enhancer and Fleischmann’s bread machine yeast. Spoon into the mixer on top of the liquid mix. Add whole wheat flour to equal about 7 cups, and then sprinkle the salt on top. Put the lid on the mixer (if your mixer has one) and turn on low to mix thoroughly. Slowly add small amounts of flour, mixing between, until the dough just begins to clean the bowl. Turn the mixer to speed 2 for 13 minutes. While the mixer is going, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prep the bread pans (sprayed 5- x 10-inch bread pans).

When the mixer is through, and the dough passes the gluten windowpane test, turn it out onto a silicone pastry mat. Weigh 1 pound 14 ounces of dough, form into a loaf and let rise, covered with plastic wrap, in the pan until it is about half an inch above the top. Remove the plastic wrap and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Check with an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf. Bread is done when internal temperature reaches 190 degrees. Turn loaves out onto cooling racks and allow to cool completely before storing in bread wrappers.

Note: The gluten windowpane test determines whether your dough has been kneaded enough. Cut a piece of dough about the size of a golf ball, hold it between your thumb and index fingers and stretch it. If it stretches without tearing, your dough is ready. If not, knead a couple more minutes and try again.

Yield: 2 loaves

Turtle Pizza

Kathy White, of Spokane, won Best Dessert Pizza with this recipe in the Fleischmann’s Yeast Best Baking Contest at this year’s Spokane County Interestate Fair.


1 1/2 cups water

3 tablespoons oil

4 1/4 cups bread flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1/3 cup instant dry potato mix

1 tablespoon Fleischmann’s Yeast


2 jars caramel topping

2 to 3 cups chocolate chips

1 to 2 cups chopped pecans

2 cups shredded coconut

Place dough ingredients into a bread machine in the order given and select the dough cycle. Remove dough from bread machine and roll into 12-inch round and place on greased pan. Pour caramel topping on top of the crust. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, nuts and coconut. Let crust rise for 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until done.

Yields: 3 (12-inch) pizzas