Penn College faculty member to compete for spot on Team USA of Baking

December 12, 2014

A member of the baking and pastry arts faculty at Pennsylvania College of Technology will compete this month to become a member of the team that will represent the United States at the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie – sometimes called the World Cup of Baking – in France in 2016.

“Everybody tells me it’s an enormous amount of work and energy,” said chef Charles R. Niedermyer, of State College, an instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts. “But on the other side, you become so much better at your craft.”

Team USA is sponsored by the Bread Bakers Guild of America, for which Niedermyer has served as a volunteer for several years. Nine countries will be accepted to compete at the Coupe du Monde, held every four years. Team USA has an automatic bid to the competition based on its silver medal at the 2012 event.

Niedermyer was selected for the first round of Team USA tryouts after submitting four original pastry formulas and photos of the completed recipes, along with his resume and answers to essay questions.

Each team at the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie is made up of three competitors, each specializing in a different category: artistic design, baguette and specialty breads, and Viennoiserie – the classical term for breakfast pastry.

Niedermyer is among seven bakers competing for the Viennoiserie spot on Team USA. December’s tryout will narrow the field to three, who will compete again in March with a new set of original pastries.

“This has been a dream for a long time,” he said.

Niedermyer was announced as a candidate for Team USA in May and has spent the months since then practicing and refining his creations, finding unique ways to express the Coupe de Monde theme: Your country’s emblem through bread.

During the two-day, nine-hour competition, Niedermyer will make six different pastries totaling 112 pieces. Each competitor is required to bake two classical breakfast pastries: specifically, a croissant and a chocolate croissant. The other four pieces are original creations.

“The guidelines are very specific,” he said. “Every piece has to be within 10 grams of the others.”

The chef’s process begins with flavor. He then refines the texture. He continues to tweak and bake, and his last step is to perfect an eye-pleasing presentation.

He’s been involving his students in the process, as well. “I’m trying to teach them as I’m going along,” he said.

He says that, after watching the 2007 Team USA finals: “I was just so blown away and impressed with the level of work and also the camaraderie of the guild. I knew I had to be a part of this.”

Since, he has been very involved in the guild, coordinating the teaching assistants at the guild’s national conference, all the while learning, watching and practicing.

“Everyone likes to be recognized,” Niedermyer said. “But my driving force is: I want to be better at my craft. … and I’ll bring this all back to my teaching.”

To learn more about hospitality majors at Penn College, call 570-327-4505 or visit www.pct.edu/baking. For more about the college, which is celebrating its centennial throughout 2014, visit www.pct.edu, email admissions@pct.edu or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated December 12, 2014