"Always start out with a larger pot than
what you think you need."
— Julia Child

Baking Judging Sheets

Brent Mccoy
• Saturday, 05 December, 2020
• 8 min read

County and state fairs often hold pie- baking contests, as do other local festivals. Contest judges sample and analyze each pie according to a set of predetermined factors.

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Judging a pie- baking contest is simple and enjoyable as long as you know the criteria to use. Open up a new document in your computer's word processing program to create a judging criteria sheet.

The criteria sheet also lets bakers know what judges will be looking for. Put the name of your event at the top of your word processing document.

Chew it slowly and allow it to sit in your mouth so you can get the full flavor and assess “mouthfeel.” Write down the pie's entry number and set the sheet aside.

If there are a lot of pies to judge, you will want to be efficient with your time. No matter how delicious they are, you will eventually become sated, which will affect your ability to judge the remaining pies.

When we decided to create the International Chocolate Awards in 2011, it was important to us to develop a judging system that was fair and transparent and easy to use. With this in mind, we started to build our International advisory committees with independent representatives from around the chocolate world.

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This idea accepts that chocolate judging is a matter of taste, and that personal sensorial aspects such as flavor are paramount, but uses a scoring system that helps guide judges on exactly what mark means what. The system identifies key areas in the assessment of a chocolate sample and assigns marks out of five for each of those.

We don’t just leave judges to each make their own and probably different interpretation of say, what ‘4’ means though. This has been a common request from entrants, and was something that you told us was wanted in our online survey.

It’s all too easy to write negative remarks in the heat of the moment, but these are not helpful for entrants and could be seen as offensive or derogatory. Our answer then is to provide fixed feedback statements on the entry form that address technical aspects of the sample judging.

This mark does NOT count towards the total judging, but gives us a way to check for statistical variation or errors. We’ve also been experimenting to find out just exactly how many sample a judge can take before their palate begins to significantly change.

We’ve run a system of tasting four different covertures before judging begins, then retesting on of these every 5 or 6 samples to see how much our palates have changed. Because of this, we try to limit the number of samples any judge tastes in one session to 15, with a maximum of 20.

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We’ll also randomize the sample order for different judges, so the affects of palate ‘wear’ don’t unfairly disadvantage some entries. This will be done with discussion and will help the judges to warm up, then have a personal awareness of how their palate is changing.

After extensive testing, it’s been shown to be the best for defending the palate against build up of tannins and sugar. We’ll also have the traditional choices of water, bread, apples, crackers etc available during the judging sessions.

To this end, we’ve carried out a full set of test, trials, betas and improvements to our forms and system. We’re confident though we’ve come up with a good workable system, which takes a big leap forward in fair and consistent judging.

Please note that the forms are constantly tweaked and refined according to rule changes and judges and entrants feedback. At the end of each, the Reps who are called to preside must enter scores into a proprietary system that automatically updates the standings.

If you ever tried to follow a Stars and Stripes sport, like basketball or football, you know well the American establishment to numbers. There is a statistic for everything, a data measuring anything, an avalanche of crossings of information that allow you to evaluate a performance under any point of view.

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You might want to know if the triples scored by Stephen Curry in a game are more than those who usually sticks with that particular opponent, or what is the fourth in which he’s used to being more prolific or if his rate of improvement is higher or lower than that of his opponents, or even if there is a direct correlation between his grades and the number of triples. The most obvious implementation of this concept in the world of competitive barbecue is called Score Sheet, a collection of a dozen sheets, bearing data expressing what was your performance of that day and that is given to each team immediately after the awards.

Unfortunately we do not have much in our habits this approach to the competition and what I see in most cases is to stop at what is written on the page that shows the overall position. At best, it may be to see the individual rating of the category in order to then possibly complain of received judgments.

And it’s a shame because those papers are worth their weight in gold, and contain everything you need to be able to improve. Let’s make a point about what we expected: we did a decent chicken, bark definitely too browned in spots but acceptable.

The first sheet is the summary of your day performance and is the most important one. It ‘a parameter which is often considered as insignificant, but in a relative sense it can give us useful information.

But if we look at the sheet of detail category, we can see that our table number (311), removing the category winner, includes lower than eleventh place teams and that those same judges gave no less than 5 points difference between our chicken and the one who came first. If we look at the Ribs, our table (650) comprised 5 teams in the top 11, including the second and third place.

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I know you might think that one gets the score eh have to get taking and then consider the placing on the table is irrelevant but it is not. So in this competition we probably had more room for improvement on the chicken than on the ribs, although it had a better table positioning.

In any case, both for chicken and for ribs generally our score was above the average kept by the judges. As we all know, the three elements of judgment by the judges (appearance, taste, tenderness, although I think it would be more correct to speak of “consistency”) are applied to different coefficients of contribution to the final score.

Let’s pretend that this factor does not exist, and we add up the scores to the various parameters given by the judges. Considering 54 as the highest score (9 × 6 = 54), we take the chicken category: the sums give appearance = 47, taste = 51, tenderness = 50.

The level our ribs was pretty consistent, can be raised, but we did not obvious mistakes. In the past it sometimes happened to have a tenderness not perfect but the taste has always been our workhorse on the brisket.

If we look, three of the five 7 received are related to two of the three judges with a low average score therefore particularly severe. On six judges, four were given a higher rating their average of the day and the two remaining, one in particular has cost us a lot with four points below.

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Happens, things have to be put in quotation when you participate in barbecue competitions but from this judgment we can not really draw conclusions that lead us to call into question something of our Q. We tend to give us an absolute score goal on which to rely, and in the case of the ribs is to reach at least 170 points out of 180.

We are part of a rump of teams enclosed from eleventh to fifth place in two points. On the chicken we made an obvious error related to appearance aspect but even net of this we still have a gap towards the firsts.

The Mayflower Compact was written and signed by all adult male passengers. This document created a Civil Body Politic which is a foundation of the Constitution of the United States of America.

There are separate contests for Junior and Adult divisions, each with a specific recipe. WHO MAY ENTER: The contest at each participating member fair is open to all men, women and juniors who are residents of Connecticut.

Please submit entries to both the local and state contest on disposable plates. Additions, deletions or substitutions in the recipe are not permitted and will result in disqualification.

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Entries for the state contest are accepted from 8:00 am to 10:00 a.m. on the day of the judging (contact your local fair or visit www.ctagfairs.org for the date and location). Each fair is responsible for contacting their contest winner and providing them with information.

King Arthur Flour would love to sponsor a baking contest at your fair! King Arthur Flour will supply the prizes, recipes and ribbons.

An award-winning television production company is working with a major cable network to find America's most enthusiastic and dedicated competitive bakers.

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