T he milling and baking industry’s responses to my book Bread Matters (British Baker, 6 October) are reminiscent of Nelson’s tactics when he put a telescope to his blind eye and declared, “I see no ships.” Much of the evidence I assembled is based on recent scientific research, that shows how changes in wheat varieties and production and in milling and fermentation technology have combined to degrade bread’s digestibility and nutritional quality.Yet only professor Jeya Henry of Oxford Brookes University seems to recognise a problem. The industry hides behind regulations – which it has historically resisted or sought to bend to its own purposes – when the emerging evidence suggests that these may no longer serve the public health. Stan Cauvain accuses those who take time to make bread properly of basing their production on ’myth, magic and word of mouth’. But the real myth is peddled by those who assert that low price is compatible with quality; using hidden additives to make bread stay ’fresh’ for weeks is surely magic, albeit of a tawdry kind.commercial opportunityI believe the plant baking indus-try and the intensive farmers and millers have gone down a blind alley. But I don’t advocate tearing down the plant bake- ries. Rather, there is an enormous commercial (and moral) opportunity for a plant baker that engages with the evidence assembled and says: “OK, we may have got it wrong. But now, we’re going to use our capital, technical expertise and ingenuity to make nutritional and digestive health the top priority in all our bread, not just the added-value ’healthy eating’ ranges. We’re going to put time back into fermentation and we’re going to remove all additives and processing aids from all our breads.”competitive edgeJust imagine how they could wipe the floor with the competition, who would be left defending all the dodgy processes and additives which they are not even willing to disclose to their customers, let alone discuss seriously with critics such as me. Meanwhile, as British Baker’s recent article on French bakery Poilâne shows, there are craft bakers making good bread, using vital ingredients and long fermentations, who are finding ways of operating on some scale.Whether this scale is ’industrial’ depends on what that word entails. The late Lionel Poilâne made large quantities of artisanal bread – and sent it all over the world – by assembling 22 wood-fired ovens in a large circular building outside Paris. Each oven was operated by a team of two or three bakers, but they drew ingredients and fuel from a central source in the middle of the building. So he achieved economies of scale without compromising essential artisanal handcrafting.Ultimately, the issue is not one of scale, but one of principle and method. The industrial mentality holds that efficiency is measured by output per man or margin over ingredient cost, when we all know that other measures, such as human nutrition and environmental impact, are crying out to be taken into consideration. Healthy, nutritious bread can be made on a large scale; indeed it must, if the health of the nation is to be improved. nlwww.breadmatters.com
The cult of youth sometimes gets out of hand. Many people seem to think that, once you get up to or past 70, you are ready to be put down.Many of us serve on committees and I’ll bet one of the perennial comments is: “We need more young members.” Of course we do. But if we have been trying to get them for some 10 or 20 years without success, maybe they are not ready to join our various organisations.Up to the last 20 or 30 years, age, experience and wisdom were respected. And if your business was having problems and you were looking for advice and help, would you rather go to Albert Waterfield and some of his contemporaries or a young man with, say, 10 years’ experience?In my view, there’s no contest. I would be on the phone to Albert or Ray Reeves or so many other mature successful bakers whom I know, rather than one of the young men I read of in trade journals who have been in business for, say, three years and are going to set the world alight. Usually, the only thing they set alight is their creditors.MINDS BETTER THAN EVERWe older folks are often ignored and made to feel guilty that we are out of touch and not with it. But that’s rubbish. For most of us, our minds are better than ever. True, we do not have the energy levels we had and the driving need for success is no longer there, because we have achieved it to some degree. I always say I feel 35 years old from the neck up and 85 from the neck down and I bet many of our mature folk feel the same.Yet what we lack in energy and staying power is compensated for with years of experience. Most of us have made – and learnt from – our thousands of mistakes; that’s why we survived.TAKING SOUND ADVICEIn writing this, I can almost hear our younger readers saying, “You have had your day, let us have ours.” Of course the present belongs to you, but learn from your elders; youwill make more money andhave a lessstressful life than we did.Equally, I say to older parents, let your young have their head and guide them, without forever butting in and saying, “Well I never did it that way.” I always try hard not to stop our managing director Neville testing out new ideas – even if I think it won’t work – provided it will not bankrupt us.On a personal note I am thrilled that Neville has been elected to that august body the British Confectioners’ Association. But I did wonder why I was never asked. Could it be because they considered I had no talent? Even by mentioning this, Neville could be elected and thrown out in the first few months. Jealousy is such an ugly trait. n
MARCH5 Sugar Craft – Human Figure ModellingLocation: The Slattery School of Excellence, ManchesterContact, tel: 0161 7679303email: [email protected] – 8 Convenience Retailing ShowLocation: Birmingham NECContact, tel: 0870 429 4664Visit: [http://www.cstoreshow.com]7 – 8 The European Sandwich & Snack ShowLocation: Palais des Congrès de Paris, Porte Maillot, ParisContact, tel: 01707 36536410 – 11 Bread Matters FundamentalLocation: Bread Matters, CumbriaContact, tel: 01768 881899 (Andrew Whitley)13-16 International Materials Handling Exhibition 2007NEC, BirminghamVisit [http://www.imhxonline.com]14 Annual Processor ConferenceHome-Grown Cereals AuthorityLocation: The British Library, LondonContact, tel: 020 7520 3948Email: [email protected] Sugar Craft – Simple Cake Decorating SkillsLocation: The Slattery School of Excellence, ManchesterContact, tel: 0161 7679303email: [email protected] – 21 International Food & Drink Exhibition (IFE)Location: ExCel, LondonContact, tel: 020 7886 3054 (Kieron Haycock)18 – 21 Pro2Pac showLocation: ExCeL, LondonContact, tel: 020 7886 3054website: [http://www.pro2pac.co.uk]19-20 British Society of Baking Spring ConferenceLocation: CCFRA, Chipping CampdenContact, tel: 01869 277164email: [email protected] – 21 Essential Skills For Working With ChocolateLocation: The Slattery School of Excellence, ManchesterContact, tel: 0161 7679303email: [email protected] Advanced Skills for Working with ChocolateLocation: The Slattery School of Excellence, ManchesterContact, tel: 0161 7679303email: [email protected] Easy to Make ChocolatesLocation: The Slattery School of ExcellenceContact, tel: 0161 7679303email: [email protected] Half Day Chocolate WorkshopLocation: The Slattery School of ExcellenceContact, tel: 0161 7679303email: [email protected] – 29 Sugar Craft – Advanced Human Figure ModellingLocation: The Slattery School of ExcellenceContact, tel: 0161 7679303email: [email protected] Half Day Children’s Easter Chocolate WorkshopLocation: The Slattery School of ExcellenceContact, tel: 0161 7679303email: [email protected] – 18 Chocolate Displays, Decorations and CentrepiecesLocation: The Slattery School of ExcellenceContact, tel: 0161 7679303email: [email protected] Chocolate Wedding and Celebration CakesLocation: The Slattery School of ExcellenceContact, tel: 0161 7679303email: [email protected] Half Day Chocolate WorkshopLocation: The Slattery School of ExcellenceContact, tel: 0161 7679303email: [email protected] Full Day Chocolate WorkshopLocation: The Slattery School of ExcellenceContact, tel: 0161 7679303email: [email protected] – 22 Two Day North European Baking CourseLocation: Bread Matters, CumbriaContact, tel: 01768 881899(Andrew Whitley)25 Richemont Club of Great BritainAnnual General MeetingLocation: John Slattery’s, WhitefieldContact, email: [email protected]
More than 400 bakers and food-to-go retailers from all over the country travelled from as far afield as Devon to the Bakers’ Fair North West on October 14.The show, held at Bolton Arena in the shadow of Bolton Wanderers’ stadium, kicked off at 9am on Sunday morning. And the queue of visitors waiting outside for the doors to open already suggested it was going to be a successful day.The one-day event, sponsored by Norbake, brought together specialist bakery exhibitors, millers, ingredients manufacturers, machinery suppliers, wholesalers and drinks companies, attracting names such as Coca-Cola, Unifine Food & Bake, British Bakels, Aga Foodservice, Christian Salvesen and Rank Hovis.Many of the visitors who poured through the door were carrying large cake boxes or trays of baked goods. It was not a case of coals to Newcastle, though; these were entries into the prestigious Richemont Club of Great Britain annual competition, which was being judged live at the show.In all, some of the UK’s finest bakers and confectioners tested their skills across 19 categories, ranging from fresh creams to Christmas novelties. There were also newly introduced competition classes for young bakers, with an exceptionally high standard of entries, according to judges.The Richemont Club, which has a membership of top craft bakers and confectioners, also hosted a live cake-decorating demonstration and competition at the show, with five stunningly talented teams put through their paces for two-and-a-half hours in front of eager crowds.Around the show, visitors were also checking out the exhibitors’ wares, or even tasting the evidence. Greenhalgh’s, which exhibited alongside Eurobake, did a roaring trade in hot sausage rolls, with wholesale sales manager Garry Thew taking the opportunity to tell visitors about the wholesale side of the business.Jus-Rol also had tempting savouries on offer to an eager reception and both Puratos’ and Bakels’ samples proved more than a little popular. Coca-Cola also did its bit in keeping visitors’ strength up; it was offering free drinks through a promotion in British Baker. On its stand, a specially made video demonstrated a makeover at Sparks bakery and it also showcased automatically energy-efficient open chillers, which adjusted their temperature.Rob Ledwith, regional sales manager at distribution firm Christian Salvesen, another exhibitor at the show, explained that the company was building its name in the baking industry and was very impressed with the show as a means to do that.richemont crowdsRichard Lyons, UK manager of equipment supplier Koma, had just one complaint: his stand was too busy at times! He was located in front of the live Richemont competition, which attracted crowds of five rows deep. Show sponsor Norbake also had a suc—-=== Richemont winners ===Section OneClass 1: Three Sausage Rolls – Charles Bamford,Peter Herd of WilmslowClass 2: Three Meat Pasties – Eric CranClass 3: One Vegetarian Product – Rob Simms, P&A DaviesClass 4: One Quiche Lorraine – Rachel Wilkinson, Arthur ChatwinMilling & Baking Trophy -P & A DaviesSection TwoClass 5: One Brown Tin loaf – Andrew Parkinson, Glovers BakeryClass 6: One Multigrain Cob – Martin Ormisher, Glovers BakeryClass 7: One White Plaited Loaf – Richard Griffiths, Glovers BakeryRank Hovis Trophy – Glovers BakerySection ThreeClass 8: Four Fresh Creams – Kelvin Davies, P&A DaviesClass 9: Four Danish Pastries – Kelvin Davies, P&A DaviesClass 10: Four Christmas Fancies – Jeanette Ramsden, Slattery’sClass 11: Four Puff Pastries – Steven Barnes, SlatterysBakeMark Trophy – P&A DaviesSection FourClass 12: One Novelty Celebration Cake – Tracy Jones, Arthur ChatwinClass 13: One Sugar Paste/Marzipan Model – Marianne Stockton, Arthur ChatwinClass 14: One Character Biscuit – Margaret Ellis, P&A DaviesClass 15: Three Almond Goods – Michael Wilde, Slattery’sRenshaw Trophy – Arthur ChatwinSection Five (Open)Class 16: Four Fruit Scones – Gabrielle Baxter, Tameside CollegeClass 17: One Oven Bottom Loaf – Monique Spivey, Tameside CollegeClass 18: One Round Pizza – Monique Spivey, Tameside CollegeBritish Baker Trophy – Monique SpiveySection Six (by invitation)President’s Challenge Cup (sponsored by British Sugar) – Elaine Hamey and Lisa Smith, Peter HerdsBest in Show (sponsored by Smilde Bakery Group) – Martin Ormisher, Glovers BakeryRichemont Trophy 2007 – P&A Davies
== Compass points to positive cost control ==Catering company Compass Group said it was managing food costs in its UK operations “through price increases, supply chain efficiencies and menu planning” in its trading update last week. Strong performance seen in the first three months of the current financial year had been carried on in the second quarter, it said, and it expected a favourable impact of around £6 million on operating profit from the movement of key currencies for the six months to 31 March.== South African bakery greets UK delegation ==Leading UK food safety experts visited Mantelli’s bakery in Westlake, Cape Town, when they went to South Africa to advise food and drinks companies ahead of the 2010 football World Cup. The delegation also met with Food Bev SETA, the South African equivalent of UK sector skills council Improve.Tesco takes time out on US store plansTesco has put its plans to roll out more Fresh & Easy stores in the US on hold for three months. Marketing director of Fresh & Easy Simon Uwins wrote on his weblog last week: “We’ve given ourselves a little time to…make improvements that customers have asked for.” Tesco opened its first US store last November and had planned to add a further 50 outlets in California, Nevada and Arizona by February this year.Co-op expands on store portfolioThe Co-operative Group has bought 10 convenience stores from Sainsbury’s, located in northern England and the Midlands. It will spend £2.5m refurbishing them. Co-op chief executive Peter Marks said the stores had “great potential”. Bake-off sections will be rolled out gradually to the stores.
An American newspaper is qualifying for a monument from the housewives of the world. It has discovered, or calculated, that, in the course of a year, the average mother of four or five children makes the ’equivalent’ of 1,095 loaves of bread… 50 cakes and 750 pies. She also prepares meat which, if assembled, would make one or two cows and about six pigs, peels 5,100 potatoes, makes 1,200 beds and dusts on average 7,500 chairs every twelve-month. This sort of stuff makes one hungry for statistics. Cannot some baker come up with some intensely human story of the number of times a year his nose begins to itch as soon as he plunges his hand into the dough? If the trade should ever decide to answer its plague of critics, a wagon-load of distressing statistics of this kind would make the public weep oceans of tears. Really, bakers are a most unenterprising lot of fellows.
Valera has a curvy counter suitable for delis, patisseries or fresh meat serve-over.The Passion Lux counter has been designed in a contemporary style, with a stainless steel display deck. It has refrigerated under-storage and is available in an ambient or heated version.Buyers can choose from a variety of lengths and four different wood finishes on its curved panels. It comes with granite or steel worktops and has electronic controls and digital display, plus automatic defrost and condensate removal systems.[http://www.valera.co.uk]
David Armstrong, MD of Bako UK for the last year, left the company at the end of January. Armstrong, who formerly worked for Threshers and Unwins, has been recruited by supermarket Asda to work in a senior position within the retailer’s wine and spirit buying team.Bako chairman Michael Bell, of Bells of Lazonby, said: “We are sad to see David leave Bako. However, we wish him every success in the new role. Before we recruit a replacement, we can review how we do things.” Bako is a co-operative between five different regional buying groups; Northern in Durham, North West in Preston, Wales in Swansea, Western in Cullompton, and London and South East in Merton. Bell added: “This allows us to provide a great local ser-vice through national purchasing strengths. Our aim is always to obtain the best price for the local baker.” Queries can be referred to John Smyth, group purchasing manager.
British Lion Egg Products SupplementThe stamp of assuranceThe Lion Code of Practice sets higher standards of hygiene and food safety than required by law and stringent rules govern every stage of egg production, from breeding farms and hatcheries, to packing stations and finished product. Learn more.Click here to download the pdf
British Baker is delighted to announce that renowned TV presenter and producer Esther Rantzen CBE is to host this year’s Baking Industry Awards on Wednesday 8 September at the Park Lane Hilton, London.Rantzen has both produced and presented BBC show That’s Life, and has fronted other successful series, including Hearts of Gold and The Big Time. She has won the BBC TV Personality of the Year and is founder of the charity Childline.This year’s circus-themed black-tie event will, as ever, be attended by the key players in the industry. The evening begins with a drinks reception, followed by a three-course meal, entertainment, and the announcement of the Award winners.Associate sponsors for this year’s event feature a host of top names from the world of bakery. Warburtons is sponsor of the VIP champagne reception; Délifrance sponsors the bread rolls; Kluman & Balter sponsors the cracker raffle; the alcoholic dessert is sponsored by Thomas Lowndes; and the Champagne magnum table centres will be sponsored by Bako. Casino sponsor Cereform is offering a fantastic prize of two tickets to the Cirque du Soleil Totem show in Amsterdam, including travel and overnight accommodation.Individual tickets cost £215 + VAT. Tables (of 10 guests) are £2,050 + VAT. To book your place at BIA call Elizabeth Ellis on 01293 846593 or email [email protected] Further details are on www.bakeryawards.co.uk.