How to Hold a Bake Off

Baking, whether in a small kitchen or in the Pillsbury Bake-off, has become an important and common part of life to many cultures. In fact, it has become so celebrated that it has now turned into a sort of competition, many people wishing to prove their superior baking skills. Hosting a good bake-off isn't easy, but the few simple steps listed below will bring you closer to holding an amazing, and mouthwatering event.


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    Decide what the categories will be. There are many options for a bake off: pies, cakes, cookies, and pastries are just a few ideas. Do you plan on holding a large, one event bake-off? Or, would you prefer holding something with many, smaller events?
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    Find a location to hold the event at and set the date. This can be a difficult step, especially if you plan on opening the contest to many people. The location will need access to common kitchen equipment for many such as ovens and sinks. You will need to be creative when searching for your ideal locale.
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    Determine the prizes. People rarely want to do something for nothing, so you'll need good prizes to motivate people to enter the bake-off. Prizes could include cash, savings bonds, kitchen and baking gear, or gift cards to stores and restaurants. Ask various businesses if they would like to donate prizes.
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    Figure out how contestants will be chosen. The best route to take is to allow anyone to submit recipes, and then to choose a select number of contestants from all of the entries. This allows you to have the best possible competition possible, and to make sure everyone is up to par.
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    Set any entrance fees. Since this is the first year of the event, any entrance fees, if any, should be fairly low. Perhaps second level winners (those who make it into the live competition) could be charged five dollars. Experiment. Test price ideas on friends and family.
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    Begin the hunt for contestants. Your initial publicity should focus on getting enough entrants. In any ads, specify age ranges, experience levels, judging criteria, and contact info. Be smart about this. For example, if you expect a lot of older adults to participate, don't only leave e-mail contact information. You should use a "snail mail" address. It is exactly the opposite for any young adult or teen categories.
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    Wade through the pool of entries and notify your winners. You should have a set criteria for judging, so you won't only be focusing on personal tastes. If there are many entries, consider having a few friends help you out.
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    Give contestants the official judging criteria for the live event. Browse other bake-offs and their criteria online to get an idea of what yours should look like.
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    Find judges for the live event. These will be your tasters. Your panel should consist of between three and five people, a mixture of men and women, cooking/baking professionals and non.
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    Schedule the day, and give copies to all judges and contestants. Contestants should all be given information pertaining set-up, ingredients, breaks, time limits, and anything else related to the bake off. Judges should be given any judging criteria, break time information, and when they are supposed to be anywhere. Also, make a rough schedule you can use to create your advertisements.
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    Publicize the live event and set ticket prices, if there are any. Most people won't want to pay much to go to a first year event, so a small fee like a dollar or two could help take you from out of the red.
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    Send out press releases and invite press members to your event. You should send any press releases to local newspapers, magazines, websites, and television stations. Consider sending out a few free tickets to some of the press members. If you're lucky, they will cover the event in their publication, and this could increase interest for next year's event.
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    Hold the Bake-Off.
    • Have extra copies of the judge and contestant schedules on hand. People are forgetful, and they could be a life saver for the timely bake off.
    • Set an adequate amount of time for baking, judging, and breaks, but don't leave to much "dead time" in the day.
    • If it is an all day event, make sure to plan a way for contestants to eat lunch and/or dinner. An hour should be enough time if they are allowed to leave to eat. If you would prefer them to stay on the premises, plan to find a caterer for the meal.


  • Holding a large scale bake-off is difficult to pull off. It is best to start small, and eventually build to a bigger, better contest.

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Categories: Event and Party Planning