With their unusual shape and pretty design, these will draw customers to the bakery counter, especially if they are displayed next to other breadsticks and rolls. They are perfect at Christmas.Makes 36 starsWholemeal flour – 900gStrong white flour – 600gSalt – 30gYeast – 30gWater – 1,050mlPoppy seeds – 150gPreheat the oven to 250°C. Mix the flours, yeast, salt and water into a dough in a spiral mixer on a slow speed for four minutes and fast for six to eight minutes. Rest the dough for one hour. Turn out the dough and divide into 12 pieces (about 70g each) and roll into balls. Scatter the poppy seeds on a plate and fill a shallow bowl with water. Flatten one of the rolls with the palm of your hand, dip the top into the water, then immediately into the seeds and press them in with your hand. Place on a lightly floured work surface, seed side up, and flatten a little with your hand. Make a diagonal cut across the centre of the dough – the cut should not reach the edges of the roll but should go all the way through it to the work surface. Then make two other diagonal cuts that intersect the first one equally, so that the three cuts form a star shape. Carefully push the roll from underneath, with your fingertips, and turn it inside out, so that the points of the star push upwards and outwards, resulting in the points being on the outside. Place the star on a baking tray, seed-side up, cover and prove for about 45 minutes until the stars have nearly doubled in volume. Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes.
Northern FOODS has confirmed the loss of more than 400 of the 1,900 jobs at its Park Cakes factory in Oldham as part of an efficiency drive. The business has also been put up for sale along with 16 other Northern operations, including several bakery businesses, as part of a move to slim down the group to concentrate on the pizza, biscuit, ready meal, sandwich and Christmas pudding markets. The businesses to be sold account for 40% of sales and employ some 9,000 workers (British Baker, June 2, pg 3). Park Cakes’ Oldham factory makes supermarket own-label cakes and has a sister factory in Bolton, which has also been put up for sale. Difficult relations with Marks and Spencer are believed to be partly behind the slim-down at Oldham. The plant has already remodelled its management structure as part of Northern’s Management Capability Programme to boost efficiency. The scheme saw a layer of management cut out and staff promoted to lead factory teams.
TALGARTH BAKERY has switched from block fondant to British Sugar’s Celebration Icing Sugar for fondant icing. The change, says Talgarth general manager Mike Morgan, has increased production and process efficiency at the Glamorgan plant, which doubled in size in December. Block fondant took 20-25 minutes to prepare, but Celebration takes three minutes, requiring only the addition of water and a short mixing time. The change has also been popular with wholesale customers, as the quality of the fondant is more consistent. Talgarth is currently investigating the use of British Sugar’s FreezeThaw icing sugar for some of its wrapped products. It prevents loss of shine and run-off associated with conventional icing when products are frozen and then re-thawed, according to British Sugar. It achieves this without the addition of chemicals.
Italy does not do things by halves. And this year, it is doing them by the double – with two bakery shows. AB tech expo – the AB stands for Arte Bianco – is a bakery show taking place in Milan, from 5-9 May, at the new Rho-Fiera showground.The show has an impressive list of machinery exhibitors. “We want visitors to assess, compare and see machinery in operation,” says show organiser Aldo Tagliabue. But millers and ingredient manufacturers will also have a major presence.Environmentally friendly packaging will also be demonstrated at AB tech expo, also reflecting the move in the industry towards smart process packaging technology.AB tech expo has linked up with leading trade associations and experts to offer a number of events running alongside the exhibition. The emphasis is very much on bakery as an ’Enterprise of the Future’, which is the name of a special feature at the show, so while acknowledging the role of tradition, ’future’ will be much to the fore.? Enterprise of the Future – from outlets to production systems, organised by the Italian Federation of Bakers and Pastry Makers – features a life-like bread and pastry-making factory. The display includes a typical purchase outlet through to a fully-fledged production system, enabling visitors to assess new technology in operation from product-making to profit margin computing.? The Flavour Trail, organised by The Federation’s Young Bakers Group, will feature renowned bakers from every region who will make typical local specialities.? The Grand Central Pastry Workshop, organised by the institute of Culinary Arts will feature demonstrations by famous pastry chefs. Described as “an occasion to admire dazzling and sophisticated delicacies made with chocolate, marzipan and sugar”, another area will also display the art of making cupped desserts as well as pastry and will demonstrate innovative presentation techniques. A special section for younger bakers will allow them to exercise their skills.? Pizza, between Tradition and Innovation, is a conference for the exchange of ideas.—-=== Show view ===We asked Luca Vecchiato, MD of Antico Forno Vecchiato, of Padua in the Veneto region, about his company and what he hopes to see at the show.”I like to think that Antico Forno Vecchiato is part of the history of bread production in Padua. Our company encompasses seven generations since it started in 1887.”We make all kinds of fresh breads and pastries, but also deal with salted products, such as meats. From our production centre, we distribute to our seven outlets.”I have to think hard before taking time away from my business but I always pick up new ideas or spot those that will be useful to my bakery at a show. In Milan, there will be a large number of machinery and oven manufacturers.”He continues: “I also want to see Enterprise of the Future presented by the Italian Bakers’ Federation because I hope it will bring to light new trends and suggestions that I can use.”Every country is proud of its own production, but now ’own breads’ are crossing continents, Italian bread is ’raising bread’s profile’.”Our production includes many kinds of bread still unknown abroad. This is a market where diversification is crucial, so I hope AB tech expo will give British visitors the chance to see and taste the most characteristic products from various Italian regions that might enrich their repertoire.” nl For more details visit the A B tech expo website at [http://www.abtechexpo.com] or, for details on the Tutto Food show, go to [http://www.tuttofood.it/home_eng.asp]—-=== How to get there ===Flights to Milan Malpensa airportExpress train direct to Piazzale Cadorna Metro underground at Piazzale Cadorna: Red Line 1 direct into Rho-Fiera showground. Or airport bus to Milan Central Station. Metro, changing to Red line 1 direct into the Rho-Fiera showgroundFlights to Milan Linate airport. Bus 73 to Piazza San Babila, Metro Red line 1 direct into the Rho-Fiera showground—-=== Other events ===tech expo from 5-8 May at Rho-FieraSIAB in Verona (previewed last week), which is on at VeronaFiere 5-9 May, takes place at the same time as AB tech expo, 5-9 May, in Milan.An organisational split has resulted in the two bakery shows taking place simultaneously in the two large cities. It is hoped that the situation will be resolved in time for the next shows in 2010.
Think of Bank Holidays in the good old days: you could quadruple your bread production and customers would be waiting for you to open.Hot cross buns were amazing at Easter; you sold them all through the week and then, on Thursday, you could barely cope with production. On Friday morning, all you did was put the buns in the bags as fast as possible and there were still good sales on the Saturday.We have probably ruined the traditional seasonal sales pattern, but we have no choice: once the supermarkets start selling them early, our customers expect us to have them.Then there is Christmas, when our money comes from normal lines, such as hot savouries, morning goods and filled rolls. The novelty lines we make just lie there looking at us as though they cannot bear to leave our tender loving care.The demand for traditional Christmas cake is getting less every year and we are fast approaching the situation where we may stop making it. Mince pies are the same: we start making them so early that, on the last week, our sales are nothing like we should expect; to be truthful, I can never get used to how poor the sales are, compared to what I expected.modern difficultiesWhenever I meet and talk with people, you can bet your last dollar that the subject always comes round to how dreadful things are these days: the young ’out of control’; appalling educational standards; and punctual timekeeping a thing of the past.Why has it become like this? We all have a theory, and mine is simple and, I suppose, completely politically incorrect. It is a lack of fear. When we were young we were wary of pushing our fathers too far. Then came school and teachers were like gods to us, who, while in the main kindly, would not hesitate to chastise us if we went too far.Work incentiveBack then we were so scared when we started work that if we did not do a good job, the boss would fire us. This has now disappeared and the young today would think our age was barbaric. Well, it was not, it was a polite, caring society where vandalism and swearing on the streets was virtually unheard of.When you think about it, a little fear is a good thing. If a hungry lion was after you, I’d guarantee you’d run faster than you’ve ever run in your life. The same would apply if you were always late or no good at your job. After all, if you knew you would be fired on the spot and there would be no unemployment benefit or another job (because you would have a bad reference), do you really think you would not contemplate mending your ways?Hard, cruel bosses are not the only sufferers. Fellow workers pay a high price for tardy colleagues by covering for them. As a result, we have less profit to pay these workers higher wages while they carry the lazy employees.Mind you, all industries are as bad: when I fly anywhere now, I always ask for a ticket to wherever my luggage is going. n
== Island Bakery Organics ==The Taste of Scotland event came at an important time in Tesco’s relationship with Island Bakery Organics from the Isle of Mull. Having supplied a number of the retailer’s stores in London for a little over a year, the company has just begun to supply its range of organic Lemon Melts, Shortbread, Oat Crumbles and Chocolate Gingers to larger Tesco outlets in Scotland. The Glasgow show provided joint owners Joe and Dawn Reade with an opportunity to inform both the public and the media about their new listing. The Reades arranged for visitors to taste-test two potential new products – an apple biscuit containing pure apple juice and a coffee biscuit with white chocolate – and to choose their favourite. Underlining the value of face-to-face contact with consumers, Joe adds: “People give you a very different response when you ask for a critique, rather than just putting biscuits out.”The firm is hoping to move to a much larger bakery in Tobermory by the second half of 2009.== Paterson Arran ==Debbie Ballach, brands manager at Livingston-based oatcake and shortbread specialist Paterson Arran, also believes first-hand consumer research generates “an honest impression” of new products. The company asked visitors to try its new shortbread recipe, which was introduced to Tesco stores in November last year.At present, some of Paterson Arran’s products enjoy a national listing with Tesco, while others are available only in the retailer’s Scottish stores. Attendance at such events builds a closer relationship with Tesco and could lead to further listings, she says. Also, her company benefits from the linkage to a top retailer and to “a highly professional event”.This year’s Taste of Scotland also enabled Paterson Arran to raise around £800 for the Orang-utan Foundation.== Border Biscuits ==”A cost-effective way of getting our products in front of approximately 20,000 consumers,” is the description of the event from Paul O’Reilly, business development manger at Lanark-based Border Biscuits. “We have been supplying Tesco for approximately four years,” he continues. “We do expect it to lead to additional business, not just with Tesco, although this is hard to quantify.”== Jackie Lunn ==”It’s always nice to be at the sharp end listening to customers,” observes Max Robbie, joint managing director of Galashiels-based company Jackie Lunn.”It is also good to support Tesco in its push to promote and use local suppliers,” he adds.== Macphie of Glenbervie ==As Tesco’s only ingredients supplier in Scotland, the name of Macphie of Glenbervie does not appear on the retailer’s shelves. So Taste of Scotland presents an opportunity to boost the company’s profile and to “promote and demonstrate products to key decision-makers within Tesco”, according to commercial communications manager Karen Scott. Indeed, a senior director visiting the stand identified one particular product and said: “I want this in my stores.”Shows such as this also “allow us to test-market products that aren’t on the shelves”, Scott continues. There have been examples in the past, she notes, where consumers have tried unlisted products and then written to Tesco asking when they will be able to buy them in their stores.== JFK Partnership ==According to John Kerr, director of the JFK Partnership sales brokerage, whose portfolio includes Duncan’s of Deeside, the choice of venue was “excellent” in attracting “a lot of passing trade”. Tesco lists shortbread and olive oil oatcakes from Duncan’s of Deeside in its Scottish stores. Kerr hopes that its support of the event and positive feedback from taste-testing at the show will lead to invitations to Tesco events elsewhere in the UK and ultimately to a wider listing.== Warburton’s ==Warburton’s presence in at the event in George Square was also “partly a charity exercise”, according to the company’s business development manager Marie McCance, since all the proceeds from products sold on the stand were destined for Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow.The Taste of Scotland event enabled the company to press home the message that it operates a bakery in Bellshill, to the east of Glasgow, because “a lot of people still see us as an English baker”, she says. “We were also able to let people know that we have got a new depot at Eurocentral, located on the M8 motorway, and to make people realise we have a wide range of bread products,” adds McCance.
Japan is to import 5,000 tonnes of emergency butter supplies from Europe, New Zealand and Aus-tralia, in response to a serious shortage. Bakeries and supermarkets are among businesses that have been experiencing shortages, due to a decrease in milk production following an unusually hot summer. Farmers have been asked to focus all their efforts on increasing milk supplies.A spokesperson from The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said: “The production of raw milk was lower than the target production in April and May. We estimate that butter supply will be about 5,000 tonnes short from autumn to the end of the year.”
Finsbury Foods’ sales for the 20 weeks to mid-November were up 11% on the same 2007/08 period, with sales in its cake division up 3% year-on-year.”Cake growth has slowed, both within the whole market and within Finsbury,” said a company spokesperson. “There has been a reduction in demand for high-value celebration cakes, and a general market decline in own-label healthier cakes; however, the WeightWatchers brand hasn’t seen any decline.”Year-on-year sales in its free-from and bread divisions rose 26% and 18% respectively.Chief executive Martin Light-body said Finsbury would rely on its “core competencies” to deliver high-quality products in the current trading environment.
Tameside College bakery students will be carry out product demonstrations as well as pitching ideas in a bakery-themed Dragons’ Den at the British Society of Baking spring conference, to be held from 11-12 April. The conference takes place at the college in Ashton-under-Lyne.As well as talks by Tameside bakery lecturer Lorna Jones, Vera Foreman, training and apprenticeship coordinator at Morrisons, and BSB vice-chairman Sara Autton, there will also be a panel discussion on current issues and on the future direction of the baking industry. The panel will consist of Foreman; Chris Marsh, head of product development, Speedibake; David Tomlinson, bakery consultant and former technical director, Warburtons; and Mike Holling, head of retail operations, Birds of Derby and chairman of the National Association of Master Bakers. Asda’s bakery director John Cummings will also be attending the conference.For details contact Sharon Byrne on [email protected] or call 01869 247098.
Small and medium-sized businesses looking for a supply route into Waitrose could benefit from a new distribution centre, set up by Hayden’s Bakeries.Hayden’s – a major bakery, patisserie and desserts supplier into Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and Costa – has launched Hopton Distribution, based at the firm’s site in Devizes, Wiltshire. This features a picking operation that supplies Waitrose stores, with consolidated loads going into Waitrose depots.“We want to market services to smaller third party suppliers who would otherwise not be able to get into Waitrose,” explained MD Paul Smith.“Small manufacturers would never be able to get into the increasing number of Waitrose depots on an economical basis as they start up. We offer them, and some larger manufacturers, an ideal opportunity to get their products into one of the fastest-growing retailers in the country.”Hayden’s is riding high having recently sold 13,000 Heston Blumenthal Royal Wedding trifles through Waitrose, at a premium price of £13.99.“The product was a resounding success,” he said. “It was a fantastic opportunity for us and one that we are really set to take advantage of, looking at new products with Heston and his team for the future.”Meanwhile, Smith revealed at parent Real Good Food Company’s AGM in London yesterday that sales were up 50% on 2008, as the firm continued its restructuring and investment programme, which includes plans for four modernised production lines and an increase in capacity.Click here to view Real Good Food Company’s AGM statement.