Baking Contest Rules

The Great Library Bake-off!


A Baking Contest for the St. Helena Public Library and the Napa County Libraries: Calistoga, Yountville, Napa, and American Canyon





All entries must be baked in the oven to be eligible. Fried or otherwise prepared foods will not be accepted. We are also not including regular bread. The first three entry categories relate to the baking container used; the fourth relates to types of pastry. The categories are:

  • Baking Dish or Loaf Pan   
  • Muffin Tin
  • Baking Sheet
  • Flaky or Fancy Pastry



Please keep to the designated categories of breakfast baked goods. The brief definitions and examples below will help you decide which category your yummy entry fits into. Please direct any category or other contest questions to


Baking Dish or Loaf Pan

This category is intended for such baked items as coffee cakes and quick breads. The baking dish can be square, rectangular, or round. Quick breads aren’t breads at all, but more like coffee cakes, except that they are baked in a loaf pan instead of a baking dish.


Muffin Tin

A muffin tin is formed of cups, which can be either very small or medium sized. The most common use of a muffin tin is, of course, for muffins. Muffin batter is dropped into the muffin-tin cups before baking.


Baking Sheet

Baking sheets or cookie sheets are used for a number of small quick breads, such as biscuits, scones, breakfast rolls, and breakfast buns. Biscuits are dropped onto the baking sheet, while scones are cut into a triangular shape and placed on the sheet. The dough for  breakfast rolls and breakfast buns is shaped before being placed on the sheet.


Flaky or Fancy Pastry

Flaky pastry includes such breakfast favorites as croissants and puff pastries. A croissant is often formed in the shape of a crescent. A puff pastry is made by alternating layers of pastry dough with butter. Fancy pastry includes Danishes and strudels. A Danish has a largish round shape and the center often contains a filling. A strudel is made from a thin sheet of dough that is wrapped around a filling. It usually has a square or rectangular shape.



This contest has no preregistration, but you must register your entry when you bring it to the library. Please bring your entry to the St. Helena Public Library between 4:00 pm and 5:30 pm on Thursday, November 7th. No entries will be accepted after that time. Again, your entry must fit the designated breakfast baking categories.



  • Both inexperienced and experienced bakers are eligible to enter, but all baked goods must be made in a home kitchen.
  • Your entry must be made from scratch—no mixes or store-bought entries, please.
  • You may enter only one baked item per category. If your entry fits more than one category, you must pick the category that you believe is the most suitable.
  • You may enter as many categories as you like, but each entry must be a different baked item.
  • Your entry will be judged on taste, texture, and appearance.
  • Judges may enter the contest but may not judge the category(ies) they have entered.



  • For baking dish or loaf pan entries, please supply one complete dish or loaf pan. Do not cut your entry for tasting. Judges will view and taste your entry as it is presented. Baked items will then be cut as uniformly as possible for the public tasting, as needed.
  • For other categories, please plan to make enough baked items to fill one large platter or plate. The number of items will vary according to their size. Judges will view and taste your entry as it is presented. Baked items will then be cut as uniformly as possible for the public tasting, as needed.
  • Please identify dishware with your name and phone number on the bottom, if you would like it returned.
  • Please take your dishware with you after the event or pick up at the front desk as soon as possible.
  • Entries must be received and registered at the library between 4:00 pm and 5:30 pm on the day of the contest. Your entry will be registered into one of the four categories and you will provide your name and phone number.


JUDGING: 6:00–7:00 pm

Judging will take place between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Judging is not open to the public. A Presiding Judge will monitor the judging and collect the votes. Each of the four categories will be judged by three judges. All the judges will vote for Best in Show (picked from the four categories). Judges will be chosen from last year’s bake-off winners and members of the community.




Entrants and the community are invited to taste all entries, beginning at 7:00 pm. Tasting will continue until 8:00 pm or so. Decaffeinated coffee, milk, and water will be provided.

The public is invited to vote for the People’s Choice. Each person will be given eight tickets with which to vote. Tickets are free. Voters may use their tickets as they like, voting for eight different times, voting randomly, or voting for just one entry. Votes will be counted at the end of the public tasting.



While the People’s Choice votes are being counted, Barbara Pasano will give some tips and tricks about baking for breakfast enjoyment. Barbara is a master pastry chef and co-owner of a local bed and breakfast.



As soon as all People’s Choice votes have been counted, the winners of each category will be announced, to be followed by the judges’ Best in Show and the People’s Choice. Fantastic prizes will be awarded to all!

Winners must be prepared to share their recipes with the library director ( within 24 hours of winning, which will be posted on the library’s website and Facebook. Winners are asked to remain after the ceremonies for a group photo to be taken.



The St. Helena Public Library has upped the ante for this year’s bake-off contest by inviting all the Napa County libraries to throw their rolling pins into the ring. The event in St. Helena will be followed by duplicate events at NCL libraries in November: American Canyon, the 13th; Napa, the 14th; Calistoga, the 20th; and Yountville, the 21st. The winners of Best in Show and People’s Choice from each library will be finalists in the countywide Great Library Bake-Off Showdown, to be hosted on Thursday, January 16th, at the St. Helena Public Library. May the best library win!