With 15 bread classes among the 88 classes to be decided, the judges at this year’s National Baking Exhibition in Wales lost no time in trawling the tables, knives at the ready, to reveal the inner secrets of every variety, from bloomers and tins to currant loaves and French sticks.A strong entry in the wholemeal classes confirmed that the current market trend for low-GI products is increasing. Class three section judge Gilbert Curtis explained: “Wholemeal and Granary are becoming more popular, now that people are more aware of how their diet affects them. For the baker, it’s no more difficult to produce and it makes sense to cater to your customers’ requirements.”Winning waysHe said that when comparing the loaves he looks for softness and strength, a good quality of crumb and even structure. Volume and shape are also important. “The winner had all this going for it,” he said. “It stood out from the rest and made my job a bit easier for a change.”Heading up the confectionery judges, chairman Huw Weeks said he was disappointed with the number of entries this year, but still deemed the event a great success. “It’s always a joy and a privilege to be invited to this exhibition,” he said, “and although entries are down, it has been a great success for the Welsh Federation.”There was a good representation of craft and quality among the cake exhibits, he added, and the floral displays were outstanding, as were the sponges and Chelsea buns. He added: “Neath and Port Talbot College have proved their worth again, with the students excelling in producing work of the highest standards. Younger students in the schools classes also did well and should be commended for their efforts.” Judging the Culpitt Challenge trophy for a floral spray, Barbara Grainger and Pat Bell found one exhibit they considered outstanding. “We are really pleased with the standard of the sugar flowers this year,” said Ms Bell, “particularly the winning display, which is stunning and very well put together. All the cakes are well decorated, with some good designs and ideas and very skilful workmanship. You can see the attention to detail in the finished products.”Ms Bell also noted a decline in the number of entries. “That’s a reflection of changes in the industry,” she said. “The colleges are not getting the students in and there’s nowhere for them to go once they are trained.”Some might get into research and development or health and safety, she said. “But students today will never know some of the things we are able to do and, when these skills are lost, they will never return.” Beginner’s luckHousewife Saoia Iqbal of Cardiff was surprised to carry off the Culpitt Challenge Trophy and the Stuart Howells Trophy for best confectionery item in the show, as this was her first ever entry in a competition. “I am amazed to have won, especially on my first attempt. I’m delighted – it makes up for all the time I spent making my display,” said Ms Iqbal. Neath and Port Talbot student Rachel Thomas took four of the student class trophies home but credited her win to her tutors. “We were all encouraged to enter by our tutors. They gave us a lot of help with new skills, such as modelling, for example,” she said. “Working on the exhibits was hard, but I learned a great deal and I really enjoyed it. I’d like to get a job in cake decorating when I finish college. I know there aren’t that many jobs out there, but that’s what I love doing.”Clutching the Joe Horspool trophy, among others, for best bread in show, was seasoned competitor Roger Hants of Kathleens Kitchen, Colchester. Exhibition veteran and joint secretary Ollie Long has been involved with the Welsh National Baking Exhibition for 41 years. “It’s a lot smaller than it was 41 years ago – back then we were talking about around 2,000 entries, while this year we are down to around 700,” he said. “In those days we had so many local entries, as well as competitors from further afield. There used to be 125 bakers in Cardiff alone and now you can’t count 10. But you can see by the entries that trade skills are surviving”Mr Long is as enthusiastic about organising next year’s show as he was his first. “Some people say that if we can’t attract more entries, we should pack it in, but I tell them not to be so daft,” he said.“I’ve already booked the venue for next year. I think we’ve helped people achieve higher standards and new ideas, as well as creating long-standing friendships.”
Lyndale Foods is rolling out a new-format store following trials at its flagship Sayers shop in Liverpool.The company has now introduced the format into two of its Hampsons branded shops (with a new-look Hampsons fascia), and one new Sayers shop in Chester. The shops have more space given to self-serve products than standard stores – to get customers in and out quickly. The format also offers a breakfast range and improved hot drinks offer.The shops have been opened up by removing the window display, and new graphics brigh-ten the interior. On the Sayers fascia the text is bigger and the strapline “so fresh we’re famous” has been removed.The new look will also be introduced into a refitted Sayers shop in Borough, Birkenhead shop shortly.Lyndale Foods currently has 109 shops trading as Hampsons 116 shops trading as Sayers.Hampsons has shops under several local brand fascias – Annes, Spinks, Burneys, Burtons and Hampsons – spread throughout Manchester, Cheshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire. Goods are produced in a Liverpool bakery.Sayers also has a bakery in Liverpool, making cakes, morning rolls, breads, savouries, sandwiches, croissants and pastries for sale in its shops, all of which are under the Sayers brand name, spread throughout Liverpool, Mersey-side, Cheshire, Lancashire and North Wales. This large bakery supplies national multiple custo-mers, national catering chains and wholesale distributors.
Nescafé.go is a quick and convenient way to serve branded hot beverages, says the firm. The range includes all-in-one varieties of cappuccino, black coffee, white coffee, white decaff coffee, hot chocolate and Tetley tea.Bakers can make up to 60% profit on every cup of Nescafé.go sold, which means a business selling 15 cups per day will see an additional £2,730 profit annually, the company claims.Cups are available alone for bakers who already have access to hot water or with a compact, counter-top dispenser unit, which allows customers to serve themselves.
A series of reforms were voted through unanimously by 160 dele-gates at the 77th annual bakery students conference in Blackpool last weekend.The changes, including a new name and a new website, followed a strategic review led by outgoing president Paul Morrow.What was known as the NFBSS/IBB Alliance has been renamed the Alliance for Bakery Students and Trainees, or the Alliance for short, to clarify its purpose to those outside the baking industry – particularly those who control the structure of training and the provision of future funds, Morrow told the AGM, held on 6 May.Delegates at the conference, from nine colleges across the UK, also voted in favour of a new interactive website.President-elect Simon Solway unveiled the plans for the site at [http://www.bakersintraining.org], due to launch in early June. It will become a communications hub for students, where they can post questions and messages, he explained.As the meeting drew to its close, Unifine MD Simon Solway took over the chain of office from Morrow, and started his year’s term, with John Lindsay from BakeMark becoming president-elect.Solway and competition sponsors then presented prizes, which were won in the previous day’s bakery competition.The conference was attended by guests of honour the Mayor and Mayoress of Blackpool and the Master of the Worshipful Company of Bakers, Anthony Greenwood.
Tesco has launched its first range of breads made using no artificial additives. The range of eight products goes on sale across Britain this month.The breads are made by two key Tesco suppliers from single sites, said Tesco’s technical manager James Markie. They have removed emulsifiers, flavouring and preservatives.Three of the products are made using the same long fermentation process of up to 18 hours as used in some craft bakeries.”To see where we can take this new concept, we need to understand how the products are received,” said Markie. “If they do well, we may grow the range.”We know from our market research, that customers are very much interested in more natural, healthy foods and this is very evident in the bakery sector. Maybe one day all commercially baked bread could revert back to these traditional methods.”The current Tesco standard bread range will remain as is and will not be cut back, added Markie, “as we realise that for a lot of our customers, our standard breads, are exactly what they want”.The new products include: sourdough bloomer (400g), made with a long fermentation process of 18 hours, which costs £1.05; white bloomer (400g), a traditional sponge dough with a fermentation process of over 12 hours, which costs 90p; and seeded bloomer (400g), which is the same as the White Bloomer but with a blend of seeds.The five 800g tin loaves include oatmeal (78p); white (95p); stoneground (95p); multiseed (78p); and multigrain sliced (95p).Markie added that Tesco was communicating the ’free from artificial additives’ message to customers through simple back-of-pack declarations. It was also looking running into TV and press advertising, and developing point-of-sale material.
Demand for Welsh Cakes at The Village Bakery, near Wrexham, has soared after they were named Reserve Champion at the True Taste of Wales Awards, within the category for large producers for baked and confectionary products. Now, up to 340,000 Welsh Cakes are being produced a week at the bakery’s headquarters in Minera, North Wales.The original recipe was devised by employee Gwen Lloyd’s grandmother, Elizabeth Hughes, and has been passed down through the generations, being only slightly adapted to suit modern production methods. “My mam would cook them on a metal skillet and the smell was absolutely lovely,” said Lloyd. “It’s great that an old traditional recipe is still in use and that people buy them and enjoy eating them.”Robin Jones, the Village Bakery’s joint managing director said: “It’s becoming one of our bestsellers. We’ve recently started supplying Welsh cakes for a major retailer, a national chain and we now sell Welsh Cakes all over the UK – in Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland.“We use 100 per cent Welsh butter and Welsh milk and it proves again that our local sourcing policy is the right way to go,” he added. The Village Bakery was named Craft Bakery of the Year for the third time at the Bakery Industry Awards this September.
This truly great-tasting dessert can be made so simply. Crème brûlée (burnt cream) is a smooth custard dessert with a caramelised sugar topping, often overlooked by bakers to sell, leaving it to the restaurateurs. If you have retail plus a coffee shop, you have two opportunities for a sale.Crème brûlée is a rich, heavy custard made from cream rather than any milk. The finishing touch of a warm crispy caramelised sugar topping, sitting on top of the chilled ultra-smooth custard, seems to complement each other.Unable to find ramekins for under 10p each, I managed to source some dessert foils that look and feel high quality. I also use these foils for individual profiterole desserts. The crème brûlee is baked, sold and eaten out of the same vessel.RecipeThis recipe makes enough for 12 x 110g crème brûléesIngredient AmountWhipping cream 1,000gVanilla essence to tasteCaster sugar 125gWhole egg 100gEgg yolk 170gTotal weight 1,395gMethod1. Boil the whipping cream and vanilla essence. 2. Blend together the caster sugar, whole egg and egg yolk. 3. Pour the boiled cream into the sugar/egg mixture, stirring continuously, then pour into ramekins or foils (110g for foil size 90mm x 35mm).4. Bake at 170ºC in a water bath for about 20-25 minutes. To check if baked, insert a knife and it should come out clean. 5. When cool, place in fridge to chill.6. To finish, sprinkle with caster sugar and caramelise with a blow torch. Keep the blow torch moving around the top to achieve even caramelisation of the sugar. 7. Alternatively, leave the top un-caramelised and sell with a sachet of sugar for your customer to finish.
French bread manufacturer, Délifrance has just launched a new rustic bread range called Heritage, which uses traditional French recipes. It consists of part-baked breads in various shapes and sizes, including: Heritage Poolish, Sourdough and Multicereal Half Baguettes; the Losange, a diamond-shaped roll; and the Poolish, Sourdough and Multicereal Pavé.The firm has been developing its pre-filled, pre-grilled microwaveable paninis, which now includes the Spicy Mexican Chicken Provencette. It contains chicken breast, spicy jalapeños, grilled red onion and chargrilled red and yellow peppers in a spicy Mexican sauce.The company has also expanded its speciality breads range to include a Brown Petit Pain Long and a Multicereal Bloomer. The baguettes come 80 to a case and can be baked from frozen in 10 minutes. The bloomers are packaged at 16 per case.www.delifrance.com
In these challenging times, it is more important than ever to recognise the passion and hard work of Britain’s best bakers and bakery companies. Times may be tough for some, but we must not forget that there are still a huge number of highly successful people and businesses in the baking industry, producing top-quality products at affordable prices.To this end, British Baker is delighted to launch the Baking Industry Awards – now in its 22nd year. The awards celebrate the people and companies that make the British baking industry one of the most exciting and innovative in the world.Open to businesses of all sizes, from one-shop retailers and tiny artisan bakers to the largest plant manufacturers, this is an opportunity to bang the drum for your business and celebrate our vibrant and diverse industry. With several new categories launched this year, there should be an award to suit everybody.Key players from the baking industry will attend the gala Awards Dinner, to be held at the Park Lane Hilton in London on Tuesday 8 September. These will include representatives from major plant bakeries, craft companies, millers, leading supermarkets, bakery trade bodies and suppliers. It’s a glamorous networking opportunity not to be missed.The closing date for the Awards is 1 May. For an entry form or advice on completing it, call Helen Law at William Reed Events on 01293 846587. Alternatively, complete the slip on page 17 and return it to the address provided. Details can also be viewed at www.bakeryawards.co.uk, which gives advice on how to fill in the quick and simple entry forms.Entrants do not have to be a supplier or a customer of any of the category sponsors. A panel of judges, organised by the sponsoring company, will adjudicate each of the categories in the Awards.Each panel contains representatives from the sponsoring company, plus an independent expert judge, selected in agreement with British Baker. This panel will draw up a shortlist of competitors and will visit each finalist’s business or workplace. Or, the panel may call the short-listed finalists to their premises to be judged.A British Baker staff member then joins each of the final judging panels to help decide the finalists, who will make the trip to the Awards ceremony in London, as well as the overall category winner.A company may enter more than one category, BUT different company representatives must enter each of the chosen categories. No one person can enter more than one category.The winner of each of the categories will receive a trophy, while finalists receive a certificate. Last year’s glittering awards night featured various exciting events and entertainment. Look out for news of what will be happening at this year’s ceremony in upcoming issues of British Baker.More awards follow soon. In the meantime, please browse the various awards categories in the following pages and work out which you want to enter. We wish you the best of luck.
A panel discussion at the FoB conference, chaired by Julian Hunt of the Food and Drink Federation, touched on the issue of salt.Paul Molyneux, quality director of Hovis, said that salt had been reduced by 30% since 2000. But Dr Susan Jebb disputed the figure and said there was still more for the industry to achieve.She also mentioned portion size and said there was over- consumption with overly large portions of food items and meals.She pointed out there could be as many as 750 calories in a muffin and stressed the importance of compensating – a high intake one meal should be followed by a low intake on the next eating occasion.Meanwhile, Scott Clarke of Tesco noted that people should exercise more. “It’s about balance in life,” he said.