The contest application was sitting on my desk for weeks. As least once a day, I thumbed through it, read the rules, re-read the rules and searched for inspiration. The sales team was requesting a "muesli" bread, whatever that is. "If the Muesli Bread includes raisins, maybe it can crossover into a contest entry," they said. It went beyond a daily glance of the contest entry form, it was listed on my priority list (which I do not create, therefor it must actually be a legitimate priority and not just something I would like to get to today...this week...this month....)
I used my ride home from work to think of the possibilities. I knew I wanted lots of healthy bits and lots of texture using pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, oats, bran and a variety of flours. I would add more flavor with a wheat/rye levain and a poolish starter. Finally, the raisins would have to be big, juicy and rustic.
After brainstorming for a few days, I came up with a formula and put it to the test. I shaped a few dozen loaves and I was left with a mass of dough that didn't weigh enough to put into the pocket divider. I didn't want to throw it away so I dumped it onto the bench, covered it in oats and cut it into rough strips. I twisted the strips which created a spiral of oats down the loaf.
Once the samples were baked, I fell in love with the twists and so did everyone else. The flavor and texture were exactly the eating experience I was hoping to create. The twisted sticks had a unique character that I adored. After determining that American's don't really know what muesli is (I don't know what muesli is), the bread was named "Granola Twist."
After a little more testing, I filled out the entry form. My friend Hana took beautiful photos of my loaves to enclose with the application. I licked the stamp and crossed my fingers!!!
Last week, I got a call from the California Raisin Board telling me I made the finals. I immediately started calling everyone who helped me get this bread from idea to product but it was Yom Kippur and none of my friends were answering. I had to sit on the news all weekend before anyone could rejoice with me!!!
On October 14th, I fly to Manhattan Kansas to bake off my bread alongside the other nine finalists. Three of us will be selected and the winners get to spend a week in Napa Valley touring the California wine country. My friends at The Patisserie in Milford, PA are donating bakery space to the cause by letting me run a test in their kitchen this week.
Wish me luck!!!!