The tangled web of Finedon Mill whose tentacles have stretched from Shipton Mill to New Rathbones plant bakery and beyond turned another corner this week when Finedon ended up in court over unpaid levies (pg 5). The company, which is in administration, is also believed to owe the taxman, odd bank and multiple creditor.I expect many of you see it as a turn for the better. Indeed, the words “may justice prevail” probably sit seething on your lips. We shall have to wait for the outcome.In the meantime, one supporter of Harvestime (2005) bakery, in terms of keeping the 400 or so jobs at the Walsall site, which is still trading in administration, has been Tesco. But in two weeks time, Tesco’s bakery director Tony Reed departs for higher echelons at the retailer (pg 4). Many suppliers talk about wheeling and dealing with the supermarkets. I have not been in that position and can only say that Tony Reed himself has always been utterly straightforward, called a spade a spade, worked hours most people would dread, but kept a distinct sense of the importance of family and the dedication this industry feels about bakery.Last year, I asked him if my repeatedly voiced anger over below-cost bread, often sold in supermarkets, irritated him. “No,” he said, “do keep banging the drum.” And when bakers have lined up, sometimes in a queue, at the Baking Industry Awards to introduce themselves to him, it has never gone to his head. He started off pushing trolleys for Tesco and worked his way up. On first meeting him five years ago, I was impressed by his manners and by his drive to really move things forwards. He has always bubbled over with initiatives – be it new products in breads and cakes or pioneering new bread baskets. He has had huge pressures from both bosses and competitors, but, where possible, has supported forward-thinking companies. One reason I support salt reduction targets in bread is because I totally agree with him that the government should once again be able to proclaim bread as healthy – as it did in the COMA report – before it withdrew that support due to salt levels.Finally this week, Allied Mills is re-entering the customer market with new ideas and equipment.It will have to work hard; the others have done well in its absence.
Almost all plant bread would get an amber light because of salt content, if latest Food Standards Agency (FSA) “red, amber and green” labelling criteria were applied on loaves.Almost all branded and own-label loaves of bread fall outside the threshold for low salt food – a maximum of 0.3g per 100g is allowed. For example, Kingsmill Sandwich White and Hovis and Warburtons branded loaves have 1.25g salt per 100g. Only Sainsbury’s own-label bread, which boasts 0.3g salt per 100g could use a green label on salt.However, bread would get a green light in the other three criteria the Agency wants marked on labels – fat, saturates and total sugars. The FSA Board has recommended labels should use red, amber or green colour coding to indicate whether levels of these nutrients are high, medium or low, and give information on the levels of nutrients per portion.The FSA released these recommendations for front-of-pack labelling schemes last week, asking supermarkets and manufacturers to adopt the scheme in categories including ready meals, pizzas and pre-packed sandwiches. Bakery is not one of the categories targeted, although the FSA says suppliers and retailers may choose to apply the scheme in that area. Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have already endorsed the FSA’s colour-coded approach, but have indicated they would combine the FSA system with information on Guideline Daily Amounts. And Sainsbury’s has said its Wheel of Health labelling system is in line with the FSA’s recommendations. Tesco is sticking to a system, already introduced, which avoids colour-coding foods but gives figures for the percentage of a guideline daily intake of fat, salt and sugar that each product provides.Deirdre Hutton, chair of the FSA said: “Developing a consistent way of clearly highlighting how much fat, sugar and salt a food contains will make it simpler for people to put healthy eating advice into practice when shopping. We want to see more supermarkets and manufacturers adopting our core principles as this type of labelling will be effective in helping their customers to improve their health.”
Bakers and millers have been warned to expect a rise in wheat prices of around £20 a tonne by 2010, due to rising demand for biofuels made from wheat.The UK government has ruled that 5% of road transport fuel should be from renewable sources by 2010, and the EU has a target of 6% by 2010. National Association of British and Irish Millers (NABIM) director general Alex Waugh told British Baker these targets equate to around 20 million tonnes of renewable fuel being used across Europe in 2010.Renewable sources for fuel include bioethanol, made from wheat and bio-diesel, made from oilseed rape. Much of this is likely to be imported into the UK, Mr Waugh said. However, as an illustration, if the UK was to rely solely on its own wheat to make its 5% renewable fuel, half the annual crop – or seven million tonnes would be required.Mr Waugh said it was more likely that 1-2% of the UK’s stipulated 5% would be sourced domestically, amounting to three million tonnes. Wheat prices were likely to be pushed up across the board, due to increased demand, although wheat used for processing was likely to be the cheaper varieties.At the moment, the UK is an exporter of wheat, but the changing pattern of demand could mean it becomes a net importer. Mr Waugh said: “If the market moves from a position of being dependent on exports to get rid of surplus to only have enough wheat for its needs, the difference could be £20 a tonne compared to the local price. Other market fluctuations will also apply and it may be that it is more than £20 a tonne. My opinion is that, all other things being equal, we are likely to see the price of wheat going up.”However, the increased demand for wheat for processing into bioethanol is likely to be a short-term phenomenon. As processing for renewable fuels becomes more sophisticated, other sources, such as straw and waste, are likely to be used.The UK is set to build its first bioethanol processing plant in Somerset in 2007.
Northern Foods said its remaining bakery business returned to growth of 1% in the third quarter, in a trading update this week.Its Christmas pudding business had a good seasonal period, it said. But year-to-date revenue was 4.9% lower in its remaining bakery companies than the previous year, for the third quarter of 2006/07 (13 weeks ended 30 December 2006).Northern Foods completed the disposal of its chilled pastry, cakes, speciality bread and flour milling businesses on 13 January 2007, raising a total of over £200m after fees and expenses. It had already sold its distribution business last year.The company’s continuing businesses include sandwiches in the chilled division and biscuits and puddings in what remains of its bakery division.Including discontinued businesses, underlying revenue for the group fell by 3% in the third quarter and 1.3% year to date. Underlying revenue in the discontinued businesses, which were sold to independent investment firm Vision Capital, fell by 14.2% in the third quarter and 9% year to date.
Polish company T&W Bakeries makes a range of Baltona breads in dark, garlic, caraway and poppy variants. It also makes sunflower and plum breads, as well as 100% rye breads and Polish sweets and rolls. All its breads are made with sourdough.Baltona White BreadIngredients for 100 loaves (weights are approximate)Wheat flour 38.3kgSourdough 29.0kgWater 20.0LRye flour 9.0kgWhite salt 1.0kgYeast 1.0kgMethod:The sourdough is manufactured in tanks, operated by a computer, which looks after the proper temperature and conditions during the entire mixing process. The ready starter is weighed then poured into the mixing bowl, where it is combined with all the other waiting ingredients, including: wheat flour, water, rye flour, salt and yeast. The mixing time is approximately 20 minutes.1. The dough is transferred to a divider then a rounder. The shaped pieces of the dough end up in plastic baking baskets and are moved to a proving room for approximately 50 minutes.2. In the proving room, the pieces of dough are leavened into proper loaf sizes under optimal conditions of 40ºC and the appropriate humidity.3. They are transported to the ovens and are baked in a temperature of 215ºC for approximately 45 minutes.4. After cooling, slicing and packing, the final product is ready for sale.—-=== About sourdough ===Sourdough has a long history in northern Europe. In this part of the world, there is an abundance of rye, which grows better in colder climates. Rye flour does not contain enough gluten for baker’s yeast to be effective, but the use of sourdough lowers the pH level of the dough, causing the starch to partially gelatinise. This enables it to retain the gas bubbles produced by the Lactobacilli.Sourdough is a symbiotic culture of Lactobacilli and yeasts used to leaven bread. It gives the bread a very distinctive taste, due mainly to the lactic acid produced by the Lactobacilli bacteria.When the sourdough is prepared, a mixture of Lactobacilli and yeast cultures is used in a ratio of approximately 100:1. Water and rye flour are added to the mixture to feed the micro-organisms and to help the sourdough to propagate.This culture is stable, due to its ability to prevent colonisation by other yeasts and bacteria as a result of its acidity and other anti-bacterial agents. It is these properties, too, that act as a natural preservative, enabling these bread varieties to be more resistant to spoilage.How to make sourdoughThere are many methods for making a sourdough starter. In general, a ’mother’ dough is made by mixing equal parts flour and water and allowing it to ferment at room temperature over time. As you use it for baking, you should always hold back around one-fifth of the mixture and top it up with fresh flour and water. Sourdoughs respond better to regular ’feeding’.For more tips on making sourdough go to [http://www.bakeryinfo.co.uk] and click on ’recipes’ and then ’bread’ links.
Point-of-sale touchscreen technology manufacturer J2 Retail Systems is celebrating its fifth anniversary this month with plans to sign more contracts with companies in the baking industry.J2 has more than 50,000 touchscreen tills in operation and clients include national chain Greggs as well as 12 regional bakery groups.It plans to expand the business in the UK, Europe and the Middle East, said the company.
Toaster graffiti has been, ahem, popping up more of late. Sightings date back to 2002, from New York to Birmingham, and this recent daub was spotted in London. It could be a reference to an early Jamaican precursor to rap music, known as ‘toasting’, or it could be about elevating an everyday device to cult status. As long as it gets people eating more toast, we’re not complaining
Barry Callebaut has opened a new factory in Spain, dedicated to the production of frozen pastry – “haute patisserie” – in the Alicante/Valencia region.Barry Callebaut Pastry Manu-facturing Iberica is an 80:20 joint venture between cocoa and chocolate product manufacturer Barry Callebaut and master pastry chefs Paco and Jacob Torreblanca. The new factory forms part of Calle-baut’s strategy to expand its offering to professionals in ’ready-to-serve’ convenience products, said Philippe Janvier, vice- president gourmet Europe, of Barry Callebaut.Paco Torreblanca will create the desserts, while his son Jacob takes on the role of production manager. Callebaut is respon-sible for international dis- tribution. The factory employs around 40 people and is capable of producing up to 30,000 pastries per day.
As the UK gets set to relax rules on patients using mobile phones in hospital wards, bakers on the other side of the globe are doing the opposite – by banning mobiles in bakeries. The Australian reported on one, Sam Hansen, who has taken the bold step of banning mobile phones from her Sydney shop, Bakers Delight. The snapping point came after a trainee shopkeeper was hassled by a mobile-wielding customer for – perhaps unforgivably – enquiring what said shopper would like to purchase. “She yelled at him for interrupting her and then apologised to the person she was speaking to on the phone,” Hansen is quoted as saying. “All he was doing was asking her how she was. We’re not robots. We do have feelings.”Hansen now snubs any customers who are on the phone and has put up posters in the shop warning them off. Hear, hear!!But is she going far enough? Stop the Week has learned of a number of mobile ’jammers’ on the market. Imagine the joy of seeing the pained faces of mobile phone abusers as their pointless prattling is cut short while approaching the counter? Sadly regulator Ofcom has banned their use in the UK. Spoilsports.
British bakery companies are being urged to take advantage of grant funding made available to businesses planning to exhibit at international food and drink trade show Anuga. The exhibition, which is marketed as housing 10 trade shows under one roof, runs from 10-14 October 2009 at the Cologne Exhibition Centre in Germany. Eligible exhibitors can claim a UKTI grant of £1,400 towards their participation costs.The show features a bread & bakery and hot beverages section, as well as fine food and organic, and has an exhibition space of 300,000sq m.The last Anuga show in 2007 saw 163,348 trade visitors attend – 54% of which came from abroad. This year, 60 companies are expected to exhibit across the UK pavilions, with 21 first-timers signed up, including Glebe Farm, which produces gluten-free bakery products and mixes. Dorset-based Honeybuns will also be exhibiting for the first time.Formerly organised by Food from Britain, the UK pavilions are now organised by PS8, run by directors Sandra Sullivan and Paddy Edwards.“PS8 is thrilled to be working with so many exciting companies at Anuga this year and our hard work has paid off, with the group almost sold out,” commented Sullivan. “With such strong international opportunities available to all levels of exporters, we urge anyone who has not yet booked their stand to contact us urgently to check availability.”