U.S. Team Readies for World Baking Championship

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Baking Team USA member Jory Downer, left, and team captain William Leaman

Baking Team USA member Jory Downer, left, and team captain William Leaman share pastry techniques at a recent practice session at the San Francisco Baking Institute. Nick Cedar hide caption

toggle caption Nick Cedar
Team members Jeffrey Yankellow, left, and Didier Rosada

Team members Jeffrey Yankellow, left, and Didier Rosada team up during a practice session. Nick Cedar hide caption

toggle caption Nick Cedar

Every three years, the world's top bakers round up their best recipes and their rolling pins and head to Paris for an Olympic-style competition known as the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie (the World Cup of Baking).

Twelve teams of master bakers have just 8 hours to mix, knead, shape and bake more than more than 300 absolutely perfect oven-fresh specimens.

NPR's Michele Norris talks with Bread Bakers Guild Team USA members Jory Downer, Jeffrey Yankellow and William Leaman as they prepare for the competition.

Following is one of the recipes used by the 2002 U.S. team, which took the silver at the 2002 Coupe du Monde. The recipe was developed for home use from formulas developed for the competition.

The 2005 team has developed its own formulas for the April 17-19 competition in Paris, but they remain a secret until after the Coupe du Monde.

American Harvest Bread


American Harvest pays tribute to the role of Native Americans in our nation's history by incorporating many of their indigenous ingredients in this tasty, robust bread. Hints of grassy wild rice, tangy cranberries and all-American cornmeal combine to create a truly American bread.


(Yield: 2 loaves)


· Bread Flour 2 cups

· Medium Rye Flour 1/3 cup

· Water, room temperature 1 cup + 2 Tbsp

· Salt 2 1/2 tsp

· Dry Active Yeast 1/4 tsp

· Honey 2 tsp

· Orange juice 2 Tbsp

· Sourdough Starter, stiff* ¾ cup

· Wild Rice, Cooked 3/4 cup

· Dried Cranberries, chopped 1/3 cup

· Cracked Rye 1/3 cup

· Cracked Wheat 1/4 cup

· Polenta 2 Tbsp


*Starter should contain 1 part water to 2 parts flour




The night before making the bread, combine the cracked rye, cracked wheat, and the polenta with 1/4 cup of water, cover and let sit overnight at room temperature. Cover the cranberries with 1/2 of the orange juice and let sit, covered, overnight.


On the day of baking, dissolve the yeast in the water in the bowl of an electric mixer.


Add the remaining ingredients except for the rice, cranberries, and the soaked grains. Using the dough hook, mix in low speed for 3 minutes or until everything is well combined. If the dough is very stiff add extra water.


Turn the mixer to medium speed and mix for 4 minutes. Turn the mixer to low speed again and add the remaining ingredients. Mix in low speed until the ingredients are well incorporated. Place the dough in a bowl that has been lightly oiled and cover tightly. Leave the dough to rest at room temperature for 2 hours.


Turn the dough out onto a floured table. Divide the dough in two pieces. Shape them loosely into balls and let rest on the table, covered with a damp towel or plastic wrap, for 30 minutes.


Shape the dough into a football shape and place on a sheet pan that has been dusted with cornmeal. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cover the loaves with plastic or a damp towel and let rise for 1 hour 45 minutes.


Make a cut on the top of the bread from point to point, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the bread is nicely browned and there is a hollow sound when the loaf is tapped on the bottom.


Recipe courtesy the Bread Bakers Guild of America and Bread Bakers Guild Team USA 2002.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from