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A slice of the Show
Bread and pastry judging at The Royal showgrounds in Claremont. Den Harman, 85, has been a bread judge since 1975, missing only one year. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian

After almost 40 years as a bread judge, Den Harman knows better than most that the makings of a great loaf have not changed much over time.

The 85-year-old former baker has been judging bread for the Perth Royal Show since 1975.

"I just love doing it so much, I can't give it away properly," Mr Harman said. "I really enjoy it. My son's got a bakehouse and I still give him a hand once a week."

Mr Harman, who used to be the Show's chief bread judge, said the first thing he looked at in a loaf was the general appearance and volume of the bread.

He then sliced the loaf, looking for the finest, softest texture and judged the whiteness of the bread.

Judges smell rather than taste the bread and score on its aroma.

Chief steward Eddy Jenkins said this year there had been about 600 entries in the bread and pastry section from 80 bakeries.

Mr Jenkins said that for the first time this year there was a gluten-free bread division.

Denmark Bakery swept the awards, taking out first place for its multigrain, wholemeal and white Devon loaves, jubilee twist and wholemeal sourdough free-form.

The bakery was also the most successful pastry exhibitor, with first place in the vanilla slice, black forest cake, cream horns and gourmet lamb, beef and chicken pie divisions.