THE SHOW GOES ON

first_imgFirst showing for Mono.For the first time this year, Aga Bakery (stand G200) will show equipment from Mono and European manufacturers such as Bongard, Pavallier and Esmach.New for the exhibition is the Mono V3 bread plant, the latest version of the Genesis fully-automatic bread and roll plant, the Williams retarder prover and the Fermentolevain from Pavallier. The stand will also have a working booth of Bakon equipment, a working roll plant from Bachtech and a range of slicers from JAC. Aga supplies equipment for bake-off operations to high-volume, automated lines.last_img read more

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Twin Star belts out bread

first_imgThe Kemper Twin Star, available from Eurobake (Bolton) is a tow row, fully-automatic dough dividing and moulding machine, which produces round, long moulded and folded rolls to handmade quality. The machine can produce between 1,600 and 3,000 pieces an hour. Available in table or stand-mounted and wheeled versions, the Twin Star has a compact head and is easy to place close to other equipment. Its moul-ding belt can be extended to 80cm, which can be helpful when depositing manually; the belt can be tilted out of the way when production is paused. The machine can be incorporated into a full roll line with provers, long moulding stations and discharge belts to create a totally automatic roll line.last_img read more

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Packaging watch

first_imgA small bakery in Winscombe, North Somerset, has refused to join in a ’green’ scheme to ban plastic bags in the village, arguing the proposed replacement reusable bags are too expensive.The new scheme has been introduced by environmental group Winscombe Zero Waste. The new bags, introduced two weeks ago, are made from natural fibre jute. They are on sale in two butcher’s shops, a hardware store, a shoe shop and a carpet shop in the village.”We are expected to charge our customers £2.50 for a reusable “environmental” shopping bag, which comes from India,” Caroline Hawkins, joint owner of Birds Bakery, told British Baker. “What a contradiction. Workers are paid a small amount to make the bags and then they’re shipped half way across the world.”Bakery owner Hawkins said that Birds had recently put up its prices because of raw material costs. “So there’s no way I’m charging customers £2.50 for a bag on top of this. I think that consumers should have the choice. If they want to buy a reusable one then fine, but I’m not going to refuse to hand out our paper and plastic bags.”Elsewhere, the town of Modbury in Devon became the first in the UK to introduce a voluntary ban on plastic bags in May. All 43 traders agreed to stop stocking them. In August, the village of Llandysilio, Pembrokeshire, also introduced a scheme with reusable canvas alternatives.The Liberal Democrats called for the introduction of a plastic bag tax at its party conference. They said companies should be fined if they failed to meet new legal targets for reducing packaging sent to landfill.last_img read more

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The book of Ruth

first_imgWho said you should never put all your eggs in one basket? Not Ruth Robinson, that’s for certain. She is the founder of Ruthy’s Scones – a name that doesn’t lend itself particularly well to diversification. “I tried baking traybakes as well as scones, then realised everyone was making them, but the scones were unique!” she says.This former housewife, mother of three and avid home baker turned professional three years ago, baking scones for local coffee shops. “I just needed to do something for me; I thought I’d have a fiddle and see what happens,” she recalls. “I didn’t want to make ordinary scones with just currants in – I wanted unusual scones so I invented recipes, like Cranberry and White Chocolate, Wholemeal, Raisin & Cinnamon – even a Mediterranean version. I didn’t realise they would take off the way they did. It’s amazing how people love scones.”Earlier this year she launched a scone mix range in tubs for commercial bakers that are available delivered throughout the UK via the website. Take-home branded packaged versions have also been developed. “I couldn’t keep up with demand. So I created a scone mix so people could do it themselves,” she says.While the mix side of the business is still in its infancy, Ruthy’s Scones has started appearing at café-related trade shows to drum up orders from retailers, farm shops and delis. “It’s a very unusual product that you can’t really get anywhere else, especially the varieties I do. Scones can be hard to make but mine don’t fail.”While it was a challenge making the leap from home baker to being business-minded, the single income of her husband was enough to support her through the early stages. “I had one customer to begin with and every penny I made went straight back into the business, and it still does. I would get to a certain point and then buy a new machine, which might cost £1,000. When that wasn’t big enough I’d buy another for £2,500. I’ve always been able to keep my head above water.”Earlier this year she finally achieved her goal of setting up her own bakery. n—-=== Going it alone ===The business: Ruthy’s Scones, based in Dumfries, Scotland; established 2004The brief: No brief, just baking scones!Products: wholesale supply of around 30 varieties of scones; commercial and take-home scone mixesFlavours: cranberry and white chocolate is the biggest seller; other varieties include mixed fruits; apricot and white chocolate; date and walnut; wholemeal, banana and date; pizza; bacon and eggFinance: started small, baking from home; reinvested turnover in machinery; no loansStaff: Ruth plus two part-timersBackground: former runner-up in Jane Asher’s Home Baker of the Year competition—-=== The pros and cons ===Biggest Challenge: The hardest part has not been the finance or the running of the business, or the products. The hardest thing I found – having been a mum at home – was finding confidence – both in myself and my product. I was used to wearing a pair of jeans and no make-up!Greatest satisfactionI can work my own times. Sometimes I get up at five in the morning, while the kids are asleep, and work through; I can still pick the kids up from school; and my husband has been very supportive. Best of all, I love sitting in a coffee shop eavesdropping on people who are eating my scones!last_img read more

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Tough times hit Brace’s Bakery

first_imgBrace’s bakery will be making some of its staff redundant as it restructures its business in response to challenging market conditions.The redundancies could hit staff across both of its plants in Crumlin, Newport in south Wales. A spokeswoman said: “The slowing economy and increasing manufacturing costs, such as spiralling fuel and wheat prices for us, has been well-publicised. There has been a huge impact on business and we are no exception. “We have had to review our costs and restructure some parts of the business and, as a result, unfortunately there will be several redundancies across the business over the next few weeks.”At this time, we are considering all vacancies within the business so that we may re-deploy the people affected and avoid a redundancy situation, if possible.”Brace’s said redundancies were a last resort for the business.last_img read more

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In the market for… ethnic breads for sandwiches

first_imgBy bakery consultant Wayne CaddyIn my last article, I discussed the potential impact of hero products and how they could often be at the heart of a good business strategy. Following on from this, while travelling in India, I saw some great ideas for street food – tandoori chicken or lamb served in fresh-baked flatbread called roomali, typically taking no more than 1 minute to bake on an ulta tawa (inverted wok).Now I am not suggesting that you must install a tandoori oven and ulta tawa in your bakery. However, could your business grow by using ethnic flatbreads in your sandwich and snack ranges? It’s not as if ethnic recipes are new to our consumers; chicken tikka masala is one of the UK’s most popular meals.Many cafés and bakery retailers have fresh sandwiches on offer in the UK, being typically a good tool to draw in consumers at lunch, who often then buy other goods, as well as to drive incremental sales. This is why, characteristically, it is a hard area to crack and is only going to see further competition through outlets such as Pret A Manger and Subway in the UK.To create interest in the sandwich market, I would recommend using ethnic flatbreads that are typical to the UK consumer, such as naans and chapatis. They make great wrap sandwiches and are easy to fill; think of them as a tortilla wrap. I am not suggesting you replace your existing ranges with ethnic flatbreads. However, I would urge that you add in specials that run for a short period to create interest and choice in your ranges.If manufacturing on-site is a possibility, then great! All you will require is a small dough mixer and a hotplate to make fresh flatbreads. If your unit cannot manufacture, then why not buy in? There are several good flatbread manufacturers and wholesalers out there. You can refresh ethnic flatbreads in just seconds to revive the full freshness of the bread.So far, I have suggested using ethnic flatbreads in fairly conventional ways. But how about taking this a step further, with a healthy lunchbox as an alternative to a sandwich? Try a disposable, segmented lunchbox, filled with salad, protein and a freshly sliced toasted flatbread – for example tandoori chicken on a bed of spinach and watercress salad drizzled with a mint and yoghurt dressing or a toasted wholewheat chapati, cut into several slices.It doesn’t just have to be ethnic. How about Mediterranean? Or maybe roasted red peppers and feta cheese on a bed of couscous, served with a freshly toasted sliced pitta bread?Create your own lunchboxes to suit your customers’ requirements or let them decide what goes in!last_img read more

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Recipe: Galette des Rois

first_imgBy craft baker Christophe BlondIn France, January is the month bakers make a traditional ’Galette des Rois’, using some puff pastry dough and “almond cream”. The ’Galette’ is sold with a crown, given to the person who discovers a figurine, which the baker has placed inside the Galette.The shelf-life of this easy-to-make product is excellent. Your customers can eat it warm or cold and it is absolutely delicious!== Almond cream ==Ingredients AmountAlmond powder 1,000gSugar 1,000gMargarine or butter 1,000gEggs 16Flour 100gRum 100ml== Method ==1. Mix 240g puff pastry for 10 minutes with a planetary mixer. With a pastry brake, pin the puff pastry dough down to number 4.2. Then, cut two 25cm discs of dough and pipe the almond cream on the top of one of them, leaving an edge of pastry, a 1.5cm wide, all around.3. Remember to place a figurine inside the cream. Then egg wash the pastry around the cream and stick the other pastry disc on top of the cream, crimping the edges firmly together. Egg wash the top of the Galette, then, with a knife, make a criss-cross pattern in the pastry on top.4. Leave the Galette to rest for at least half an hour, then bake it on a tray for 20 minutes at 220°C.5. Next, take the Galette out of the oven and, using a brush, coat the top with a sugar syrup. Then bake it again for a further 5-10 minutes.last_img read more

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Esquires coffee chain expands in UK

first_imgEsquires Coffee Houses UK has announced plans to open another eight franchised stores in the UK, by summer 2009. The company, now in its tenth year of trading, currently has 25 outlets in the UK.Peter Kirton, managing director of Esquires Coffee Houses UK, said he had identified a number of locations that he believed would fit with Esquires’ offering. “We’ve had an overwhelming level of interest in the Esquires Coffee Houses franchise operation over the past year,” said Kirton. “Though we are not able to disclose exact locations at this point, I am pleased to say that the new stores will be well spread across the country.”The chain’s Canadian parent company has also just announced agreements to open a combined total of 585 outlets across China, India, the Middle East and Egypt, as part of the firm’s plans to further expand its international franchises.last_img read more

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Stars in their eyes

first_imgCleaning schedules and food safety management systems are hardly the most exciting of subjects. But thanks to the controversial Scores on the Doors scheme, a lot of people have become surprisingly hot under the collar about hygiene standards – and bakers, supermarkets and cafés are no exception.Set up to give the public information about hygiene levels in restaurants and food shops, including bakeries and cafés, Scores on the Doors rates the food safety of individual businesses and posts the score on the internet for the public to browse. Companies are also encouraged to voluntarily display their score on the premises (hence the name).The scheme has developed in piecemeal fashion, so councils currently rate businesses in different ways – some score them out of three or five stars, others use smiley faces or give a ’pass’ or ’improvement required’ rating. Some councils do not operate a scheme at all.To standardise the situation, the FSA approved a single six-tier scheme for England, Wales and Northern Ireland just before Christmas. This will mean a business can score between zero and five (which will probably be represented with star symbols), with five being the top mark. Scotland will continue to use a two-tier ’pass’ or ’improvement required’ system.== Revealed on the internet ==It might sound complicated, but the bottom line for bakery retailers is that if their hygiene levels are not already available for the public to see on the internet, they will be soon. While display of scores on the premises will remain voluntary, most food safety experts think that compulsory display is only a matter of time. Indeed, last year, London councils tried to pass a law making display mandatory, which has been overturned for the time being.Trade associations have slammed the Scores on the Doors system on several counts. Chief among these is that a six-tier scheme could give consumers a false impression of a food business. Two stars, for example, translate as ’broadly compliant’, but most consumers would assume that there was something wrong with a business that had only scored two out of five.The other big criticism is that a six-tiered system gives more scope for inconsistent interpretations from one Environmental Health Officer (EHO) to another. EHOs are meant to follow set criteria when assessing businesses, but there is evidence that their interpretations can vary dramatically. In Westminster 45% of businesses have been given two stars or less, yet in nearby Camden it is just 27%.Chris Freeman, owner of Dunn’s Bakery in Crouch End, is concerned about consistency between EHOs. His business received one star when it was inspected in 2007. But after complaining that this was inaccurate, it was upgraded to two stars. He was then inspected again a year later and received four stars. “I made very few changes to the way I manage food safety between inspections, but ended up with completely different scores. I know EHOs have tried to improve consistency, but inspections are, by their nature, subjective,” he says.At the moment, businesses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that feel their score is inaccurate generally do not have a right to re-inspection, although they can dispute an EHO’s findings, as Freeman did. In Scotland, however, all businesses can be re-inspected, free of charge, if they receive an ’improvement required’ rating.The good news is that under the FSA’s proposals for a single scheme, provision for re-inspection is provided, although the business will have to pay for it.== More explanation needed ==At Thomson’s Bakery in Newcastle, co-owner Jan Thomson is proud of the company’s four-star rating and displays it in the shop, but she also has concerns about the scheme. “It seems strange that a newspaper shop selling pre-packed sandwiches is scored in the same way as a bakery that makes all its products from scratch on-site. The scheme doesn’t compare like for like and I think that’s unfair,” she says. “More needs to be done to explain to people what the scores mean. People might think that there is something wrong with a business with two or three stars, when actually it is completely safe.”It’s not just craft bakers who feel uneasy about Scores on the Doors. Asda and Sainsbury’s have both criticised the scheme in the past for being confusing ? a view echoed by the British Retail Consortium. A spokesman says: “The Scores on the Doors proposals are overly bureaucratic and will do nothing to raise standards. The scores will be confusing for customers who don’t know what they mean. Under the FSA’s proposed six-tier scheme, locations meeting all the legal requirements won’t necessarily receive the top score, which could undermine their reputation unfairly.”A specific issue for the big retailers is that some councils rate supermarkets by individual department, so that a single store could have different scores for its in-store bakery, butchery counter and deli. “Separate scores for individual parts of the premises will be even more confusing, especially if shoppers see the lowest score and assume it relates to the whole business,” says the BRC spokesman.The FSA’s steering committee on Scores on the Doors, now being set up, is due to consider the issue as part of its wider discussions. It hopes to finalise the details of a single national scheme later this year, although it could be years before every local authority adopts it.Bakers who have not properly got to grips with the latest food safety regulations need to do something about it now, to ensure they get a good score. The National Association of Master Bakers is helping its members with a series of workshops run by consultancy firm Shieldyourself. Sarah Delaney, the company’s head of compliance, says that bakers tend to fall down in two or three key areas of food safety. These include operating in old buildings across several rooms and floors, which are difficult to clean, and the fact that they make such a wide range of products. “Bakeries have quite a high risk of cross contamination, because they make everything from pork pies with raw meat to fresh cream cakes,” she says. Under regulations introduced in 2006, all food businesses must also have a documented food safety management system, based on HACCP principles. Without one, you will almost certainly end up with a low score on your door.And that’s enough to get anyone hot under the collar.—-=== What the stars mean ===?????Excellent: Very high standards of food safety management. Fully compliant with food safety legislation????Very good: Good food safety management. High standard of compliance with food safety legislation???Good: Good level of legal compliance. Some more effort might be required??Broadly compliant: Broadly compliant with food safety legislation. More effort required to meet all legal requirements?Poor: Poor level of compliance with food safety legislation – much more effort requiredNo stars: Very poor: A general failure to comply with legal requirements. Little or no appreciation of food safety. Major effort required—-=== Top tips for achieving 5 Stars ===1. Make sure your Food Safety Management System is available for inspection at all times2. Accompany the EHO on their inspection. It helps to be proactive in explaining your approach to food safety3. Ensure food handlers maintain a high standard of personal hygiene. The EHO’s first port of call will be the bakery or café’s wash hand basin. They will check for hot water, soap and a means of hand drying4. Ensure the structure of the bakery is maintained. An old bakery should not score badly under the scheme providing it is well maintained5. Ensure staff training records are available for inspection. To achieve a top score, all staff should be trained to an appropriate level or be instructed and supervised where appropriate.Source: Kent Hygiene Solutions www.kenthygiene.co.uklast_img read more

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Sandwich forum

first_imgFollowing on from BB’s sandwich forum in 8 May issue, we ask:How do you increase the amount your customers spend with you?MY: By offering great value meal deals – this drives both extra eat-in and take away sales. Staff will also ask customers if they would like a drink with their sandwich or remind them about our delicious freshly baked muffins.AV: Sandwiches should always be placed immediately above savouries in the fixture, so that you encourage consumers to shop both categories and therefore increase spend.While meal deals have a role to play, it’s important to note that they are not the be-all and end-all. Good range, good availability, good service and value for money are also important.You need to be clear exactly what you are trying to achieve with the meal deal and who you are trying to attract. For example, research shows that 18- to 35-year-olds are more responsive than other age groups. The meal deal needs to be refreshed on a regular basis, or menu fatigue will set in and you will be ’giving product away’ without achieving any long-term growth in sales.’Eye level is buy level’, so put your best-selling, high margin SKUs on this shelf to drive sales. If necessary, double-face the top sellers to ensure they are always in stock.BA: Customer service is key to the purchasing process and our staff should engage the customer without being pushy and politely suggesting ’add on’ products, such as impulse sweet and savoury products at a low price point and highlight any ’Buy 2 for £x’ deals to ensure our customer walks away feeling like they’ve just got value for money.JJ: To gain extra sales, we use monthly promotions – a meal deal or adding a drink for 60p or introducing a new flavour.SW: We offer several meal deals – these include our Baguette meal deal at £3.25 and sandwich meal deal at £2.99. Wenzel’s has always offered a variety of sandwiches to suit different people’s budgets. Starting with our 99p range – which is made up of thin bread with a single filling such as ham – to our premium range, which includes products such as New York deli and chicken club.Our latest marketing campaign is a credit crunch lunch which includes a filled petit pain, bottle of water and a jam doughnut for £1.98. We have to ensure that we keep up with our competitors on deals, such as M&S’ new £2 lunch.Industry bread-headsMichele Young [MY], retail and brands director, BB’s Coffee and MuffinsAndy Valentine [AV], head of brand marketing, GinstersBritta Ashu [BA], brand manager, Upper CrustJason Jobling [JJ], product development manager, Warrens BakerySarah Wenzel [SW], owner, Wenzel’s Bakerylast_img read more

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