Belcolade Belgian chocolate from ingredients supplier Puratos (Buckingham) has been repackaged to help customers differentiate between the dark, milk and white chocolates available. The new design features simplified graphics and a new strapline – The Real Belgian Chocolate – which the company says reinforces the brand’s authenticity and heritage. It says the new packaging, which coincides with the launch of new 1kg, 5kg and 20kg pack sizes, offers improved functionality and performance, and makes it easier for bakers, pastry chefs and chocolatiers to determine chocolate type, viscosity and storage conditions. “Belcolade, which is made from a blend of the finest cocoas and pure cocoa butter, has long been the hero among those who know their chocolate,” says Matt Crumpton, marketing director. “With sales continuing to rise across all sectors, we felt it was time to give the brand a more modern and stylish look. “We’ve also made the packaging easier to open, close, handle and dose,” adds Mr Crumpton, “and have developed a new and unique eight-layer material that delivers significantly extended shelf-life – better than anything else on the market.”
A Northern Irish bakery has extended its range with retail group Musgrave SuperValu- Centra (MSVC).Graham’s Home Bakery, based in Dromore, is to supply its ’Pick Me’ brand to all of Northern Ireland’s SuperValu and Centra stores. The range includes tray bakes, small cakes and muffins and it is estimated the value of the new order will initially be £250,000.Graham’s has supplied MSVC and its 121 independent SuperValu and Centra stores with a variety of other products since 2003.Alistair Toal, marketing mana-ger, said the deal was an opportunity to expand the brand into SuperValu and Centra stores in the Republic of Ireland and the rest of the UK through the Budgens and Londis stores owned by the Musgrave Group.”Over the past four years our business with MSVC has grown by more than 70%, making them one of our most important customers,” said Toal.
There’s a certain amount of faith required when following the recipes in Richard Bertinet’s new book Crust. The French baker, who runs a bakery and cookery school in Bath, is a firm believer in using a high percentage of water in his bread recipes, which he argues makes for light and airy loaves. Unfortunately, it also makes for a very sticky dough – so sticky in fact that there may be times when you think you have made a mistake in following the recipe.As Bertinet says in his introductory section on working dough: “When people who have been making bread for many years see how much water I use, then start to handle the sticky dough, they often struggle. But once they get the hang of the technique and feel the airiness and life in the dough, they never look back. You just have to believe!”It is amazing how the gloopy dough soon develops a silky-smooth texture as you follow Bertinet’s kneading technique, which involves slapping the dough on the worktop and stretching it back on itself to trap as much air as possible.Crust, which is subtitled Bread to get your teeth into, is aimed at the general public and some bakers may argue that working large batches of dough by hand does not make commercial sense. However, the higher prices these artisan breads fetch should balance out increased labour costs. Alternatively, says Bertinet, you can form the dough in a mixer, but he still advises working it by hand for a short time afterwards.Crust’s recipes, covering 158 pages, are more advanced than those outlined in his first book (Dough, published in 2005) and should appeal to craft bakers who want to tap into soaring demand for speciality breads, but feel unsure of some of the techniques involved. Equally, plant bakers should find plenty of new product inspiration among the recipes.The first chapter runs through the basics, covering tools and Bertinet’s techniques for working and shaping the dough, before a large chapter dedicated to ’slow’ breads. This includes excellent detail on how to produce sourdough loaves, with information on making and refreshing the ferment, as well as recipes for breads made with a liquid ’poolish’ ferment and the French autolyse method, which involves letting the dough ’self mix’.The third chapter is a collection of some of Bertinet’s favourite breads, such as spelt bread, dark rye with raisins (see recipe) and bagels.The final section is dedicated to sweet baked goods, including croissants and brioches.As you might expect, some of the recipes in Crust are relatively long and complicated – the fundamentals of making sourdough stretch over 14 pages, for example. But Jean Cazal’s step-by-step photography showing the different stages of production is very helpful. Even better, attached to the inside cover, is a DVD of Bertinet in his kitchen demonstrating some of the trickier techniques in the book. Being able to watch him work the sticky dough into a light fluffy ball gives you the confidence to try the recipes yourself. It’s just like Bertinet says: “You have to believe.” nl Crust – Bread to get your teeth into is published by Kyle Cathie and retails for £19.99.—-=== Recipe: Dark rye bread with raisins – Makes 40 small loaves ===”You can leave out the raisins if you prefer but, personally, I enjoy the sweetness the raisins add,” writes Richard Bertinet. “The addition of the fermented white dough helps to develop the gluten in the dough, strengthening it, and making the finished bread lighter than rye can sometimes be.”TimePreparation: Ferment, plus 25 minutesResting: 2 hoursProving: 1.5 hoursBaking: 65 minutesFreezing: Freezes well fully baked. Defrost at room temperature.IngredientsDark rye flour 10kgFermented white dough (see below) 5kgFresh yeast 250gSalt 200gWater 7.5lCaraway seeds 100gGround coffee (proper coffee not instant) 200gRaisins 4kgA little fine semolina, for dusting (optional)A little butter or vegetable oil for tinsNOTE: To make by hand, use half quantities for each batchMethod for fermented white doughFermented white dough Fresh yeast 50gStrong white flour 5kgSalt 100gWater 3.5kgPlace all the ingredients in a bowl and mix using a spiral mixer for four minutes on a slow speed and six minutes on fast. Rest covered for at least six hours or overnight in a cool place.Main recipe method1. Lightly grease bread tins or have ready proving baskets or bowls lined with baking cloths.2. Preheat the oven to 250°C.3. Combine all the ingredients except the raisins. The dough will feel extra sticky, but this is normal. Turn it out onto your work surface (don’t flour it first). Work the dough for 8-10 minutes, then add the raisins and continue to work until the dough is smooth and the raisins are all incorporated.4. Lightly flour your work surface and form the dough into evenly sized balls. Put back into lightly floured mixing bowls, cover with a baking cloth and leave to rest for one hour.5. Lightly flour your work surface, turn out the dough, fold, then form into balls and once more put back into the bowls. Cover with your baking cloth and leave to rest for a further hour.6. Lightly flour your work surface again, turn out the dough and divide into 650g pieces – 650g of this dough will fit into a 400g tin, as it is quite tight and won’t rise up as much as other doughs. Either shape each piece into a log-shaped loaf and put into your prepared tins or form into a ball and put into your (lightly floured) proving baskets or cloth-lined bowls. Cover with more baking cloths and leave to prove for 1.5 hours.7. If you’re not using tins, sprinkle some fine semolina onto your peels or trays and then place the loaves on top, seam-side down. Slash the tops – you don’t need to slash the tops of loaves in tins.8. Bake with steam.Set your timer for five minutes. After this time, turn down the heat to 210°C and bake for about one hour until the base of each loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Turn out of the tins (if using) onto wire racks. This is a very compact bread, so you will need to allow several hours for the loaves to cool down completely.
== So what’s new? ==A new generation of non-hydrogenated dairy cream alternatives. This includes new formulations of our brands Mactop, Mactop Extra, GlenDelight and Foodservice GlenDelight. Previously, all dairy cream alternatives in the market used hydrogenated fats.== What’s so special about it? ==The dairy cream alternatives are free from hydrogenated fats and artificial colours. They contain less than half the fat of dairy cream when whipped.== Why should bakers buy this? ==There has been a great deal of negative press surrounding hydrogenated fats. The UK’s multiple grocers have now banned their use in the majority of own-label products.== So explain the techie stuff. ==As air is beaten into a dairy cream alternative, fat particles begin to surround the air cells and ultimately lead to a stabilisation of the foam by locking together through a process of partial coalescence. That results in a creamy texture. The challenge was finding a non-hydrogenated alternative that would not compromise on the taste, quality or functionality.== Bottom line, what’s this product worth to the baker? ==Dairy cream alternatives offer the same versatility as dairy cream, but they out-perform it in many ways. They are suitable for whipping, fillings, piping and as an ingredient in cooking. They whip up to three times their volume and remain stable with the addition of colour, flavours and alcohol. And, unopened, they have an ambient shelf-life of six months.
On a cold winter’s day there are few things more comforting than a hearty bowl of soup. And for a light summer lunch, a flavourful consommé or a healthy bisque can be the ideal alternative to a plain sandwich or meagre salad – not to mention as a snack at any time of the day, or to pad out smaller lunch bites with a heartier option.With this amount of diversity, it’s no wonder that soup is becoming a popular option for bakery retailers to increase profits and consumer choice. And as the need for fast lunchtime choices becomes increasingly pressing, those selling pastries and sandwiches are realising that a hot option on the menu can give their meal offerings added appeal.Neville Morse, MD of Janes Pantry, with 10 bakery shops around Gloucester and nine delivery vans, recently took on a chef who has devised six new soups. Best -selling winter soup, he says, is home-made vegetable. Others in the range include Tomato and Basil, Tomato and Red Pepper, Potato and Leek and Parsnip and Ginger. The only one that is not selling in such high volume at the moment is Parsnip and Ginger, which Neville thinks may be better-suited to the London market .Consumer research also suggests that a liquid lunch in the form of soup is a growing market. TNS Worldpanel Foodservice’s report on out-of-home meal consumption found that fast casual dining is on the rise and almost a quarter of all lunchtime meal occasions are out of home, leaving the market wide open for options that bridge the gap between take-out choices and filling meals.”We’ve moved over to offer a lot more ’meal’ or ’main course’ style soups in response to demand,” says Simon Hargraves, director of food and communications for Pret A Manger. “We started out offering quite basic soups and classic recipes, but we’ve found the most popular are those which mimic a meal, so we’ve really gone down that route. We offer a mushroom risotto soup, for example, which comes with rice and is a very hearty choice. Our Thai chicken soup is extremely popular and has become quite a classic now. We offer a chilli soup, which is more like a liquid chilli con carne, and a spaghetti bolognaise soup which is also very thick and filling – like a full meal.”Seasonal variationBakery retailers would be right in thinking these hearty options might be better suited to winter. Sandwich chain Pret varies its soups three times a year to suit the seasons. But even Pret’s summer options have gone down the route of thick and appetising. “We have a red pepper soup, which, while being very colourful and low in calories, is also very thick,” says Simon. “We serve that both in January when people need a bit of extra colour in their food and in summer when they want light options.”As Pret is showing, it’s not just any old freeze-dried powder that will generate turnover. While soup sales are growing, so too is customer discernment, and most are no longer willing to opt for a soup from a sachet. “Fresh soup continues to outperform the other sectors as consumers increasingly trade up to higher-quality, fresh products,” says a spokesperson from Mintel, whose 2008 report on soup reveals a distinct move away from the powdered soups of old.”Dried soup is in long-term decline and has a less healthy and appealing image than either ambient or fresh soup,” she continues. “There is also a gradual trend towards soups free from artificial flavours, colours, preservatives or MSG. A focus on healthy eating and heartier ’meal’ soups has continued to push value forwards and healthier, more natural and wholesome-sounding recipes are the key drivers.”Gourmet appealWith wholesome and healthy the key message, varying your soup range throughout the year helps persuade your customers that you’re taking the freshness aspect seriously, and adds an extra gourmet appeal to your kitchens. Soups respond to seasonal change better than any other food product you’re likely to sell, and customers will be looking for thick and hearty in winter, and light, flavoursome creations in the summertime. “Soups are great for throwing seasonal ingredients into,” says cookery writer Sophie Conrad, whose latest book is Soups & Stews. And while the idea of having to constantly vary your menu might seem like extra work, Conrad suggests it’s actually a great way to cut costs and improve your offering at the same time. “Cooking with seasonal ingredients is much cheaper – particularly if you’re producing on a commercial scale,” says Conrad. “You’ll also find that soups can naturally take a lot of vegetables, which means you can use less meat or cheaper cuts and still have plenty of flavour in there.”As a bakery retailer who wants soup on your menu, you don’t necessarily need to make it fresh on the premises. There are now several companies which supply high-quality soup in pouch form. Heinz, for example, has launched a five-strong range of soups for the foodservice sector, including Chunky Farmhouse Vegetable, Rustic Minestrone, Hearty Mushroom, Tangy Tomato & Basil and Sweet Carrot & Coriander, all based on leading retail varieties. The ambient soups are available in boxes of six one-litre standing pouches and are free from MSG, artificial colours and preservatives, and comply with FSA salt guidelines. Bakery retailers will be offered point-of-sale material, including branded soup bowls, a soup kettle and chalk boards.In general, it pays to shop around, however, as different soups can vary across a range, so you might find a supplier with an excellent leek and potato soup, but another that does the best minestrone.From a logistical perspective, these soups often keep much longer than fresh with a shelf-life of around 22 days, and while a five-litre bucket is standard, many wholesalers sell smaller two-litre versions, which are ideal to get started with. In terms of pricing, fresh soup wholesaler Rod & Bens recommends a single 350g portion of its soup should retail from between £2.37 and £2.95, and sells its two-litre buckets from £5.05 to £7 depending on the soup. So even buying in very small six-portion quantities of soup would mean a profit of around £10. Scale that up to 50 portions and the returns are much higher.So while you may be thinking of adding one or two soups to enhance your profits and drive a few extra customers through your doors in winter, it could be the start of something much bigger.—-=== Souped-up equipment ===Whichever type of soup you opt for, you’ll need the right equipment to keep it warm. Soup kettles start at around £600 for a 10-litre model and can be either ’wet’ or ’dry’ versions. ’Wet’ involves a bain-marie base, while ’dry’ is an exposed element, and both have their advantages. The former must be constantly topped up with water – not ideal during the lunchtime rush – but the latter dries out the soup towards the bottom, and can even burn if left unattended.If you’re making soup from fresh, alternative servers, such as Hatco’s Heat-Max Heated Wells offer a handy way to both cook soup and keep it warm for serving. This is a more expensive option than the traditional kettle, but in terms of saving space in a small preparation area, it might be a better investment, as there is no need for a separate pan, and washing-up is also minimised.Likewise, choosing a blender specifically designed for soup is important. Non-industrial blenders won’t be able to take large enough quantities of hot liquid, and it’s important to get the right blades. “Our blenders have blades that actually throw the vegetables up into the soup as it’s blending, so you get a better consistency,” says Alex Shannon, sales manager of catering equipment supplier Apuro. “With other blenders you can end up with some completely pulverised around the bottom of the blade and some not blended at all.”If you’re retailing other food items on your premises, opting for the do-it-yourself version can also be the ideal way to showcase your products.
Greggs group business director Martin Kibler will share the secrets of the chain’s success at Café+ Live.He will be presented with a special certificate for heading up the prestigious British Baker magazine Top 50 list, before taking part in the panel discussion, ’Sandwich Debate: Sandwiches, Health, Sales & Profitability’ at the Café+ show at Birmingham’s NEC, at 12.30 on Monday 2 March.The three-day exhibition, part of the established Convenience Retailing Show from 1-3 March, is for anyone interested in, or involved with, the food-to-go market and will be an opportunity to learn from experts and successful retailers and to meet suppliers. Debates, panel discussions and seminars will bring together successful foodservice firms, including Brakes, Coffee Nation and Subway, who will share their expertise on subjects such as coffee, sandwiches, and bakery.Bakery firms exhibiting include Warburtons, Brambles Foods and Cakes for the Connoisseur. For details, visit www.cafeplusshow.co.uk.
Greggs has continued to defy the downturn after its latest figures showed total group sales were up 5.2% for the 19 weeks to 9 May.The bakery retailer also saw like-for-like sales grow 2% in the same period. It “enjoyed a successful Easter”, having sold over 2.3 million hot cross buns so far this year – a 10% increase on 2008.Chairman Derek Netherton said there had been encouraging signs of greater stability in customer numbers over recent weeks, and performance remained in line with expectations.“Margins are as we budgeted, with ingredient costs continuing to increase overall but offset by some improvement in energy costs, which we expect to continue during the second half,” continued Netherton.The chain launched the latest phase of its television advertising campaign last month, featuring comedian Paddy McGuinness, and is currently emphasising the promotion of its improved three cheese recipe cheese and onion pasties and new Belgian chocolate muffins.It is continuing to create a single Greggs brand and has now converted 35 of its 160 Bakers Oven shops.A proposed ten-for-one share split, subject to approval at Greggs’ Annual General Meeting today (13 May), will take affect on Monday, 28 May. “We believe that this will make the company’s shares more accessible, particularly to small shareholders and our own employees,” said Netherton.
Morrisons is taking on another bumper crop of apprentices this year, signalling it intends to continue championing craft baking.The supermarket chain will put 160 people through the NVQ Level 2 in Dough Production and Baking qualification.Most of the trainee bakers will already be working in Morrisons stores, while it usually only has to advertise externally in a few areas around the country where it is harder to attract staff.Nearly 1,000 bakery apprentices have been through the scheme since it started 13 years ago, which Morrisons bakery, cake shop specialist Martin Clayton said proved the retailer was investing in the future of the bakery trade. “Sometimes supermarkets can get bad press from smaller bakers, saying they are not proper bakers, but we’re focusing on craft skills and keeping scratch baking alive,” he said. “When there aren’t many bakers around, you need to provide your own.”Clayton said Morrisons needed to take on so many apprentices because, although some bakers left the firm, many were promoted or moved stores. Last year apprentice intake was 177. “Past apprentices are now running bakeries we need to keep people coming through the system.”Morrisons uses colleges at Birmingham, Tameside, Glasgow and Barking to train staff, where they study for four weeks during the nine-month course, covering baking of all fermented goods, bake-off and quality control.Barking College bakery lecturer Raymond Morum said that the calibre of apprentices was consistently good. “It’s a really good course and very well-managed.” Students range in age from their late teens to early 50s, said Morum: “What pleases me most is that these people are always so keen.”The chain has about 1,000 retail vacancies across the country, including 40 for bakers; it currently employs 2,000 bakers in its 420 shops.
According to foodnavigator.com the German bakery market is likely to see further consolidation as the dominance of small bakeries are unsustainable in the long-term, claimed the new director of the bakery ingredients division of Arla Foods, Søren Krarup. She said the time was ripe for larger companies domestic and foreign with better economies of scale to make a play for market consolidation in the German bakery sector.High-fibre rye bread enriched with plant sterols (naturally occurring cholesterol-lowering compounds), is said to help reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) levels, according to a new study from Finland. Research published in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases looked at the effects of eating enriched rye bread and associated a reduction in total cholesterol of 5%, and an LDL reduction of 8% over two weeks.A report by CNBC suggested that rising commodities would not cause inflation. It pointed to work by the USDA, which suggested only about 30% of a wheat price rise ends up in flour, with 10% contributing to the price of bread. It added that it could take from two to six months for a commodity rise to filter through to consumer prices.Bread prices look set to rise in eastern Europe, with the Romanian Farmer Association predicting a hike of 10-12% there.
United Biscuits (UB) plans to cut around 85 jobs at its McVitie’s factory in Tollcross, Glasgow, which manufactures biscuits such as Go Ahead and Hobnobs.The proposed reduction in staff forms part of plans to invest in new products and production capability at the site, which employs around 700 people.“Under these proposals, this investment will safeguard the future of the site and the roles of the vast majority of employees. However, changes to head-count needs on different shifts and some working practices may result in some redundancies.New jobs are also being proposed, so despite 93 roles being affected, the proposed net reduction in roles will be in the region of 85,” said UB in a statement.The company has entered into a consultation on the proposals with union representatives.>>United Biscuits hitting zero waste targets