Slicing up the high street bakery trade in Clapham – or not slicing, as the case may be – is DIY café newcomer, Breads Etcetera. It has toasters on every table with baskets of unsliced bread in the front of shop, where you cut as much bread as you like and toast it yourself.”It came about by trying to get people to try as many of the breads as they wanted to,” explains Kurt Anderson, who co-runs the bakery with Troels Bendix. Conventionally, customers confronted with a choice of breads would instinctively plump for the safe option. “How do you get people to try new breads? This is the novel idea that we came up with. We realised we wanted them to try them all. This is, if you like, the window to our breads.”The breads are made using a sourdough process, which has evolved over the last five years, and organic stone-ground flours from Cann Mills in Dorset and Shipton Mill. The breads are proved in cane baskets to give them a distinctive pattern. On weekends, stands are placed outside the shop to sell breads, flapjacks, cookies and muffins, market-style.The pair also run one of the most high-quality and expensive wholesalers in London, Doughboys. They came up with a novel twist on franchising to spread its sourdough craft under the ’Breads Etcetera’ retail banner. “We want to expand by inviting other people to join us to learn all about sourdough and the way we make it – and then to encourage them to go into business with us. We would co-own the bakery, they would come and train with us for six months, and we would continue to support them. We are good operationally: there’s no wastage, we only produce what we need, we know the ordering systems, the recipe systems and how to train people.”Sourdough is a process using no additional yeast, not a flavour. There aren’t many people that view it as a big business. Generally speaking, the idea doesn’t go hand-in-hand with expansion because of the time that it takes and the space that you need.” But he thinks they have cracked a model for turning over £500,000 within a 300sq ft space.commitment requiredThe first shop hit its budget within the first six months. Anderson has since been approached by other bakeries keen to convert to sourdough production, including an operator in Edinburgh. But running a sourdough-based bakery requires commitment, he cautions. “Sourdough is a very live product, which dictates day-to-day how it is going to perform – you need to keep an eye on it.”The two ex-chefs went through a learning process to get to grips with keeping the sourdough culture happy and well-fed. Two years ago, they would fastidiously feed the culture on the dot, but this has since relaxed. “What we find now is that, with the sheer volumes we’re doing – more than 100-litres of the culture put into the bread on a daily basis – it has become remarkably stable.”Anderson says they have a winning retail formula. “Our business is based on retaining customers and building on that with a skilled product.” n
Maldon, Essex) has developed its InfraLab range of at-line analysers for the baking industry, designed to meet the need for rapid accurate analysis of parameters, such as moisture, fat or oil and protein, without the need for special operator skills.Until now, the InfraLab analyser was used in conjunction with a PC, which acted as the interface and data storage facility to the analyser. Now, the InfraLab features an integral Operator Interface with onboard data storage and can download measurement record files to a PC via a USB, serial or ethernet connection.
Staff at Warburtons may be heading for strike action after they rejected a below-inflation wage offer and changes to their working terms and conditions.The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) will ballot its 1,000 members between 10 and 24 October over possible industrial action at Warburtons’ 24 UK bakeries and depots.Sources revealed that Warburtons has offered staff a deal including a 3.7% annual pay increase, but with team leaders considered separately, plus a regime where additional payments would be triggered if the company hits collective absence-reduction targets. For example, if overall absence was reduced by 1%, all staff would be eligible for a wage increase.However, unions are believed to be unhappy that the basic increase is below inflation, which has been running at 4%. Collective responsibility for absence-reduction is another sticking point as unions believe that only individual performance should be taken into account.A source said: “Warburtons is the second strongest brand in the UK behind Coca-Cola [Nielsen figures, 2007]. It wants to be a Premier League team, but it is not paying Premier League wages. It has put up its prices by 10%, but not its wages. This has been brewing for the last three to four years.”Warburtons said in a statement: “Warburtons can confirm that it has been in discussions with the BFAWU around annual pay negotiations. An agreement has yet to be reached.”The BFAWU is planning to ballot its members on 10 October to gauge support for the principle of taking strike action. Warburtons will continue to try to resolve any differences amicably and through negotiation, both ahead of and following any ballot.”
The coming recession is unlikely to affect Costa Coffee’s store expansion plans though pricing on food could come under pressure, Costa’s MD John Derkach told British Baker.Despite reports that people are cutting back on coffee shop visits he said the chain had not yet felt the need to adapt its pricing on coffee. “We haven’t felt the pressure thus far. Clearly there’s no cause for complacency, as you cannot predict what’s going to happen tomorrow let alone next year,” he said.However, he added that food, such as sandwiches and cakes, which represents around 30% of Costa’s business compared to 70% for coffee, may come under review. “Sandwiches and cakes are important to our business and it might be appropriate to look at the pricing of those in different ways. But more importantly, we’d look at developing slightly different products.”He added that the economic climate has not affected Costa’s expansion plans.”We might have to think twice about certain sites but there are still huge opportunities to grow, so we haven’t changed the rate of expansion. It’s constantly under review and we can turn that tap off and on at short notice, if we need to.”—-=== Costa Barista of the Year ===Costa Coffee has awarded Kat Finch, from Costa at Strensham Roadchef Service Station, its official world Barista champion. Twenty-year-old Kat competed against nine other finalists from all over the world at the annual Costa Barista of the Year Competition held at Costa’s Roastery in London.
Finsbury Food Group plans to extend its share of the snacking cake category by extending the Toffee Crisp and Munchies confectionery brands.It has launched new Nestlé Toffee Crisp and Munchies Mini Bites in Tesco and Morrisons and plans to further extend distribution. Toffee Crisp Mini Bites are a crispy cereal product, blended with toffee caramel and coated in milk chocolate, while Munchies Mini Bites combine a biscuit and chocolate base, layered with smooth caramel and covered in milk chocolate. Both products come in boxes of 15 and contain no added colours or flavours.Brand manager John Steele said: “We have worked closely with Nestlé to develop cake versions of Toffee Crisp and Munchies confectionery, adapting the concept to create a mini bite. We believe they will be popular among consumers for office sharing, take-home indulgence and treats.”RSP: £1.99www.finsburyfoods.co.uk
From March 6-10, Europain will welcome hordes of craft bakers to its popular site at Parc des Expositions near Paris. It will fill almost four halls. And it is certainly not an exclusive craft show indeed, Hall 4 is given over to industrial bakery. But just as Iba leans more towards machinery, the character of Europain is different and, as the French are keen to say, “Vive la différence”.At Europain there is more of an emphasis on new products, crusty products, high-class pastries and patisserie and creative ways with ingredients and chocolate. Hall 3 is for artisan bakery and it is the biggest hall.The French are very proud of their skills and their lengthy training to become a skilled boulanger or patissier. So Hall 2 is patisserie, pastry and a shop ’Le Magazine’. It is also the Rue des Ecoles the street of schools so look out for the end-result of all that training: demonstrations and competitions. This is where it promises to get really lively.Europain always plans to be a show that inspires and measures quality, as well as informing visitors about everything from mechanical updates to ovens and mixers. However, Hall 1 is a little different: sugar, chocolate and ice cream sit under the umbrella of sister show, Intersuc, but visitors can wander freely between the two.International flavourHave you heard of the Lesaffre Bakery World Cup? The selection procedure takes place in 40 countries around the world, including our own Baking Industry Exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham from March 2124. It takes place over a two-year period and is narrowed down to nine teams of finalists, each comprising three people.The competition also takes place at Europain but the next Europain in two years’ time, not this one. Instead, at this show, there is the Bakery Masters event, where 24 candidates from seven countries, all renowned professionals aged between 18 and 55, will perform individually in their specialist category: bread-making, Viennese pastries and an artistic piece made from dough.The competitions will take place on the opening on Saturday, 5 March through to Tuesday 9 March. The winners will be announced on Wednesday 10 March at 11am.Judges will include Peter Becker, a master baker, past-president of the German Bakers’ Association and now president of the International Union of Bakers, and Christian Vabret, a master baker who holds the title Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Trade Craftsman in France), having beaten all other craft trades to win the title.According to the organisers, the competition events each day require “the highest level of professional expertise, but also great emphasis on imagination, reactivity and the ability to adapt”.Hopefully UK bakers will find some interesting innovations among the equipment and products or will simply enjoy watching fellow craftsmen at work. Events and registration The Bakery Masters Event: Experts make bread and pastry.The Rue des Ecoles: Brings together some 25 training institutions, covering every level of experience. They will give talks and demonstrations.The French Schools Cup: Features three categories bakery, Viennoiserie and pastry. The competition is directed at students in education aged up to 22 years. International Confectionery Art Competition: Takes place over three days and 21 hours of competition and comprises mixed-doubles teams (one male, one female contestant) from around the world. The pieces to be made will include: 1 pastillage piece; 1 sugar piece; 3 fresh petits fours (1 tartlet, 1 choux pastry and 1 free choice); 1 pistachio trilogy (1 dessert, 1 small cake and 1 petit four); 3 chocolate sweets (1 fruit ganache, 1 praline and 1 free choice); 1 chocolate piece; 1 plated dessert with small verrine (presented on the plate). Innovation area: Devoted to innovative products and equipment. This future-oriented area showcases actual products or photos of products. The organisers state: “It is a big hit with attendees, with 58% visiting this sector in 2008. After all, it responds to one of their main reasons for being there: in 2008, 65% of visitors stated they came to the exhibition on the look-out for innovative products and equipment.”To register for show atten-dance: go to the website at www.europain.com or tel: +33 (0) 1 40 16 44 48; fax: +33 (0) 1 42 85 29 00; or email: [email protected]
Bakers across the country took part in the Lammas Day celebrations from 31 July to 1 August, baking special loaves to mark the festival of the wheat harvest.The pictured Lammas Loaves whose name derives from the Old English for loaf mass, ’hlafmaesse’ were baked by head baker Anna Griffiths and baker Katie Bruce at Ludlow Food Centre, a member of The Real Bread Campaign.Their ’Tomato and Basil Scrumble’ Lammas Loaf was named as such, because the ingredients are ’scrumbled’ together and baked without a tin.Lammas has disputed origins in pagan and Christian festivals and the loaves would originally have been made with the first grain of the new harvest.
Alcohol-free exportCumbrian bakery business Country Fare has worked with scientists at Liverpool’s John Moores University to create a fruit cake for export to the Far East. Their Orange Blossom Honey Cake, which has a shelf-life of 12 months, contains no alcohol, to cater for communities with religious beliefs that ban alcohol, as well as English customers with a preference for a tipple-free luxury.Telecoms to bakeryBakery Andante, the brainchild of a former telecoms manager, opened last week in Edinburgh. Jon Wood spent the past 20 years working in marketing and product management, but when faced with redundancy last year, he decided to turn his hobby into a new career as an artisan baker. The bakery features an open bakehouse, so customers can see the goods being produced.Co-op cares for carersA donation from the sales of The Co-operative Group’s new Christmas sandwich range will go towards helping young carers in the UK. Ten pence from each of three sandwiches sold Turkey, Stuffing, Bacon & Cranberry, Wiltshire Ham & Braised Red Cabbage, and Christmas Dinner Triple will be donated to online support service YCNet part of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers.Costa wins crown Costa Coffee has been crowned winner of the Best Branded Coffee Shop Chain in the UK and Ireland by Allegra Strategies at the European Coffee Shop Awards earlier this month. Jeffrey Young, MD and founder of Allegra Strategies, said Costa had a “clear focus on serving great coffee”, backed by strong marketing campaigns.
Soreen launchMalt loaf brand Soreen says it is positioning itself within the morning goods category with the launch of the first-ever Malt Toastie loaf, available in Asda from 12 September, at an RSP of £1.39, followed by other supermarkets. The Malt Toastie loaf has been developed specifically for toasting and is pre-sliced. The launch will be backed by a major national marketing campaign. A fruity version will follow.Aberdeen openingScottish cake shop chain Bibi’s Bakery plans to open a third shop in Aberdeen in October. The retailer, which is a finalist in this year’s National Cupcake Championships, already has two shops, in St Andrews and Edinburgh.Fine for Just BakedSunderam Premanand, owner of Just Baked, in Bolton Road, Luton, was fined £10,000 at Luton Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to 10 food hygiene offences, including failing to protect food against contamination, failure to keep fixtures and fittings in good condition, and failure to keep the premises clean.Lewis revamps webSwansea-based Lewis Pies is relaunching its website at www.lewispies.co.uk following a major overhaul. The site includes a blog page on news and views at Lewis Pie and Pasty Co.Support NCW charityDon’t forget to support British Baker’s partner charity CLIC Sargent during this year’s National Cupcake Week from 12-18 September. You can help to raise vital funds for children with cancer by making a percentage donation of cupcake sales during the week or by selling 100 cupcake pin badges for a suggested donation of £1 each. For details, go to nationalcupcakeweek.co.uk.
BB’s Facebook pageBritish Baker now has a page on Facebook. Post pictures, news, and ’Like us’ on the new page www.facebook.com/pages/British-Baker/ 180723008662958.Sat fats pledgeThe Department of Health has not ruled out adding a saturated fats ’pledge’ for food manufacturers to its Responsibility Deal. A spokesperson told BB: “Sat fats are on our radar and the Responsibility Deal is involved in ongoing discussions with industry on these matters.” The Food and Drink Federation anticipates that the Responsibility Deal Food Network will consider sat fats next year.Burton’s strike ballotWorkers at Burton’s Foods in Blackpool, who make Jammie Dodgers and Maryland Cookies, were being reballoted over strike action as BB went to press, after rejecting a 6% pay deal that had been endorsed by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union.Cocoa replacementTate & Lyle’s new cocoa replacement Carcao could help bakers make ingredients cost savings, according to the company. “In light of volatile cocoa pricing and supply issues, many food manufacturers are looking for solutions that reduce the cocoa content of their products as a means of controlling recipe costs,” said a spokeswoman.Topping piesDoncaster-based firm the Topping Pie Company has launched its first range of pre-packed pies and quiches aimed at the major multiples after investing in new packaging equipment. The company has previously only supplied deli counters with ’loose’ pies and quiches.