The original recipe comes from a notebook kept by the Morton family who ran a bakery in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, between 1890 and 1912.This recipe, entitled “4d cakes”, indicates how much each 1lb cakes should be sold for; the modern equivalent would be around £1.30.Makes 10 x 450g/1lb cakesMargarine or lard – 450g/1lbSugar – 900g/2lbSelf-raising flour – 1.3kg/3lbCurrants – 1.12kg/2½lbMarmalade – 225g/½lbMilk – 520ml/2 pintsMethodCream the margarine and the sugar.Add the other ingredients and stir.Pour into 800ml/1½-pint loaf tins and sprinkle the top with sugar.Bake at 170ºC for 50 minutes.
Flour-buyers can order online in a new ADM Milling initiative which it claims is an industry first.The UK’s largest independent flour miller has set up [http://www.4flour.co.uk] which lets customers order and manage their flour and bakery ingredients online.Retail craft bakers and bakery food manufacturers can now access their business account information – from delivery to invoice and technical data, search for products and set up favourites lists to make repeat purchasing easier.The website also features information on product specifications and recipes, as well as wheat harvest updates, announcements and industry news.”4flour provides registered ADM Milling customers with a comprehensive and confidential account service, delivering a new era in customer service,” said sales and marketing director Tim Cook. “It is designed to make business operations easier, bringing convenience and manageability to the user’s fingertips.”
The National Federation of Bakery Student Societies/IBB Alliance is an organisation that has served the student body of the Baking Industry for the last 81 years. Lately, in light of the changing dynamic of education and the industry, the organisation has conducted a strategic review. As a result the Alliance is currently drawing up plans which, if accepted by the membership, will ensure that the right support is given to the industry and bakers in training well into the future.However, the organisation only exists because of its membership and, more to the point, those members who freely give up their own time and expertise to form the managing committee. There are numerous different skills required to run an organisation such as this and at present the Alliance is looking for someone with book-keeping or basic accountancy skills who is willing to volunteer their services.If you wish to be part of an organisation that is devoted to the future of the baking industry then please register your interest by contacting tel: 01283 212603 or mobile 07836 685746 or email: [email protected] May, general secretary, NFBSS/IBB AllianceOver the past three to four years, the contentious issue of training, its funding and its future has been discussed at length at the National Association of Master Bakers’ (NA) conferences.Sometimes, this has been to the detriment of other pressing issues that have been discarded. That said, the decision that has been made [British Baker, 26 January, pg 6] should not have been a surprise. The training previously carried out was taken up by few, paid for by all and the benefits were often enjoyed by our much larger members, who were cost-effectively having their training needs met by the NA.Training will not cease. Our understanding is that much more relevant training, helping us to increase our bottom line, is being offered. Training courses offered so far along these lines, such as sales skills for shop managers, have been well over-subscribed.The NA has taken a very tough but pertinent decision in safeguarding the services it supplies to us, without the detriment of using its funds on providing a service, which was effectively draining the resources available. These decisions are never easy to make and will never be popular with everyone, but the best decision has to be made for the benefit of the majority.We applaud what the NA has done and hope it has the encouragement and support of its members.Ian and Jackie Wilson, The Village Bakery, Bucks
n High street spending continued to grow in the first half of August, but at the slowest rate since last November, the CBI said in its latest Distributive Trades Survey this week. Some 42% of retailers said year-on-year sales volumes were up in August, while 26% said they were down.n Food sector employees will be put through their paces during a two-day mock disaster exercise on October 4 and 5. Held at the Campden and Chorleywood Food Research Association in Gloucester, it will be based on an imaginary crisis at a fictitious food manufacturer, which 40 participants will tackle.n Frozen foods supplier Central Foods has awarded a delivery contract to Christian Salvesen’s Temperature Controlled Business Unit. The contract, operated through Christian Salvesen’s Nuneaton distribution centre, will involve collection and delivery of frozen foods to more than 200 independent wholesalers and major groups.n Discounter Aldi has launched a price-cutting campaign on 130 items in its range of 900 core lines.n Iceland’s Bakkavör Group, which owns bakery companies including New Primebake, has acquired Exotic Farm Produce Group, a produce and fresh prepared foods company. The company, located in Lincolnshire, employs 370 people.n Last week’s British Baker published an article called ’Further flour price increases predicted as costs rocket’ (page 4-5). Due to a technical problem, the end of the last sentence was missed off, which read: “Greggs also indicated price increases of up to 10% could be needed.”
Like many businesses, those in the baking trade often feel that they have little spare time on their hands to dedicate to environmental issues. However, this is an area where a little investment can pay dividends in terms of improved resource efficiency and cost savings.By putting in place simple measures to improve environmental performance – such as using raw materials, water and energy more effectively – bakers large and small can usually make valuable savings in a matter of months.The UK bread and morning goods market is worth over £3 billion and is one of the largest sectors in the food industry. With total volume of 4.4 billion units, the equivalent of nearly 12 million loaves and packs every single day, according to the Federation of Bakers, reducing costs and overheads can be crucial to staying ahead in this highly competitive marketplace. So, what practical steps can bakers take to run a more efficient and streamlined operation?Firstly, it is of vital importance to understand the types and quantities of waste being generated and the associated costs. This will help you identify the largest areas of waste production and greatest opportunities to improve performance. This can be done by simply walking around your business and conducting a waste audit, looking at what is being done, how it is being done and recording information about the types of waste generated.It is also useful to check utility invoices and the volume of waste produced and, where possible, compare against the industry average for similar-sized establishments. Once these initial steps have been implemented, businesses should consider using a formal structure, such as the waste hierarchy, which provides a framework within which the most desirable waste management options are set out.== Green guidelines ==Bakery businesses looking to take steps towards good environmental management should consider the following guidelines, which are ranked in order of environmental impact and cost savings:l Eliminate – avoid generating potential waste. Work with suppliers to find ways of reducing the amount of packaging used, or look at the possibility of employing reusable packaging such as plastic crates.l Reduce – think about the packaging you use. Is it the correct size/shape for the product or is volume being wasted?l Reuse – there may be opportunities to reuse items normally thrown away after their initial use, such as empty boxes.l Recycle – once the amount of packaging has been reduced and reused as much as possible, consider recycling waste materials, which can save money through paying less for rubbish collections. Local authorities or waste contractors can offer advice about facilities in your area.l Dispose – it may be possible to reduce the cost of disposal, for example, by squashing boxes as flat as possible.== Employee involvement ==Like all successful business practices, the key to putting in place an effective resource efficiency programme such as this is good teamwork. Only by ensuring that employees are involved can waste minimisation be integrated into the organisational culture.A good starting point is to appoint a champion to co-ordinate and facilitate the resource efficiency programme. Staff should also be told the value of the materials they are handling and the cost of frequently taken-for-granted resources such as water and energy. Talking about potential savings in pounds is more meaningful than quoting percentages and helps bring home the impact of waste on profits.Once an initial action plan has been agreed, consider ongoing activities to keep staff motivated, such as regular team updates and inclusion of waste management issues in training programmes.Incentive schemes – whether a financial payment, small prize or personal recognition – can also be extremely effective in maintaining momentum. Bakery businesses could reward individuals for meeting waste reduction targets or coming up with good suggestions to improve resource efficiency.—-=== Baking Industry Summit: cutting waste ===Top industry figures will discuss hot environmental topics, including reducing waste, at British Baker’s Baking Industry Summit on Corporate Social Responsibility. Key speakers at the London event on 27 November include Harriet Lamb, director of the Fairtrade Foundation, and Asda’s bakery director Huw Edwards. See [http://www.bakerysummit.co.uk] for further details. To book, contact Helen Law at [email protected] or phone 01293 846587.—-=== Simplicity is the key ===When it comes to improving resource efficiency and minimising waste, many practical measures can be put into place with just a little investment. Simple ideas include:l Turn off the lights – even for short periods of timel Replace inefficient lighting with energy-efficient lamps or fluorescent tubes. These not only cut electricity consumption by more than 50%, but can also be cheaper to buy and last 10 times longer than conventional productsl Fit timers to temperature controls and electrical equipment to reduce energy use during unnecessary periodsl Reduce the temperature setting on heating. One degree less will save up to 8% on an individual store’s energy billl Set up separate bins for different types of waste to make recycling easierl Check water meters regularly to help identify whether there are leaks. If the meter is running when the shop is closed, there is probably a leakl Fit water displacement devices, such as hippo bags, in toilet cisterns. These reduce the amount of water used by up to three litres per flush. Envirowise has recently launched a new free initiative aimed at helping businesses understand and cut down on the amount of water they use – with the potential to save around 30% of the cost of rising water bills. The Rippleffect is a six-month initiative suitable for businesses of any size. See [http://www.envirowise.gov.uk/rippleffect] for details – registration closes on 10 September 2008l Choose minimally-packaged products or ask your suppliers to supply products in less packaging. Ask your suppliers to take excess packaging away with them when they deliverl Gain the support of staff so they can help to reduce waste.For further information about how to improve resource efficiency, call the Envirowise Advice Line on 0800 585 794 or visit [http://www.envirowise.gov.uk]. The website also has a range of useful, free good practice guides, which can help businesses cut down on waste, improve resource efficiency and reduce water consumption.
Puff pastry supplier Jus-Rol has launched ’Shape It Up’, whereby bakers can source ideas and recipes using Jus-Rol’s three different pastry shapes – oval, round and square. Jus-Rol’s Puff Pastry Shapes are pre-rolled, cut to size and defrost in a few minutes. Recipes include Cheese, Tomato & Bacon Wraps, Chicken Spinach & Red Pepper Open Tarts and Goat’s Cheese & Aubergine Windmills.”The success of Shape It Up is based on the fact that caterers don’t necessarily have the time to make puff pastry from scratch, never mind consider different presentation styles,” said John McKears, the firm’s foodservice sales manager. “Jus-Rol’s Puff Pastry Shapes will make their dishes a real talking point with customers.”[http://www.jusrolfoodservice.co.uk]
London-based manufacturer The Bagel Group, which filed for administration earlier this month, has been sold to a new company, Mr Bagel’s Limited, as a going concern. The business has been acquired by the Mansouri family for an undisclosed sum. According to a statement released by the new company, the purchase has been backed by Kevin Mansouri, who has appointed previous MD of The Bagel Group, Paul Kahalani, as a consultant adviser to the business.Under the terms of the acquisition, the business and other assets were sold to Mr Bagel’s Ltd on 28 January, according to administrator MCR Corporate Restructuring.Paul Williams, partner at administrators MCR, said it had been able to preserve “the majority of jobs in the company”. According to the Mansouri’s, the business is seen as “an exciting opportunity for growth”, and it will look towards offering a “broader range of food products” such as confectionery.Paul Kahalani said: “I believe the new plans will enable the company to accelerate the growth of the business.” He added that the company is also hoping to expand its employment requirements soon.Kevin Mansouri said he was “excited” to be backing the acquisition and sees signficant growth opportunities.The company, previously known as Mr Bagels plc, reportedly produces around 150 million bagels a year under its Mr Bagel’s and Natural Bagel brands, supplying the retail and foodservice markets.The Bagel Group hit national headlines in December after alleging an executive at rival Maple Leaf Foods was involved in attempted price-fixing, an allegation that is still under investigation. Mr Bagel’s Limited was registered at Companies House on 13 January 2009.
Located in the heart of the Cotswold hills in the picturesque village of Shipton-under-Wychwood, specialist independent flour miller FWP Matthews has been putting its money where its mouth is.The company is owned and run by Paul and Graham Matthews, great great grandsons of the founder Frederick William Powell Matthews, who commissioned the building of the mill, which was completed in 1912. However, the history of the company dates back as far as the 1860s, when Marmaduke Matthews started a small business selling seeds from his barn in Fifield, Oxfordshire.The company now supplies organic, speciality and conventional flours, as well as distributing a wide range of French flours from Moul-Bie. It sources as much wheat from local suppliers as possible and local farmers still personally deliver their wheat to the mill, which currently employs around 38 people.Despite having its feet firmly rooted in the grains of tradition, FWP has recently made a considerable investment in its mill, namely with the building of the new warehouse – The Wychwood Building – which was officially opened in February this year by HRH Princess Royal. Among the family members at the opening were the architects and builders who completed the project, as well as representatives from various local community groups, such as the local football team, the Brownies and the local theatre group, to which FWP contributes money.Alongside the new warehouse, the company is also installing an on-site test bakery, as well as a new blending plant and £50,000 palletiser, at a total cost of around £1.2m. “We had outgrown our existing warehouse to the extent that we had a bit of warehousing we rented about a mile away,” explains joint managing director Paul Matthews, who says a lack of office space had also resulted in the need for a portacabin to house three members of staff. “It took around two years to get planning permission, but we started building in January 2008 and completed in October/November.”The new building provides the firm with a flour warehousing facility and extra office space, and has also enabled them to install the test bakery, which is due to be completed soon. “It will be great for when we have customer days or are working on specific product development for individual companies,” Matthews explains. “It will also be used for quality control, which will be useful for our organic works, as well as our conventional and French works.”The test bakery will also be used to bake test various wheat blends, for product development with customers at their request, principally with Moul-Bie, and for introducing customers to the French products as well as our own, he says. “The flour will come through to the new blending plant and then we can bake-test it. When we have customer or company days, we can then bake-off various products at their request and they’ll be able to do a tasting panel if they like.”FWP Matthews is capable of producing around 600 tonnes of flour a week, but it is one of the smaller mills in the country – the larger being the likes of Rank Hovis, ADM and Allied Mills. As it cannot compete in terms of the volume of flour it produces, how does FWP differentiate itself? “In the last eight or nine years, we’ve specialised in the more premium products, such as organic, speciality French – we do around 50-60 products for Moul-Bie – and the more premium-type flours, saying that we’ll provide standard flours for large bakeries as well,” says Matthews.In terms of trends, he says, value breads are definitely making a comeback, purely on the grounds of cost. “Some organic bread is actually cheaper than conventional branded loaves, but the problem we have is the perception of organic – namely, that it’s expensive.” Matthews believes they’ll be playing a waiting game over the next couple of months to see which way consumers decide to go. The organic trade is difficult enough as it is – and more so in the current climate, he says; production has fallen dramatically, so it is difficult to know how much wheat to buy. “You’ve got major retailers pushing prices down, so at the moment, we’re very squeezed on our organics supply,” he adds.Currency has also had an effect in terms of wheat that’s imported from outside the UK, with regard to TRQs – tariff rate quotas. The wheat only comes without a levy if it’s high enough in protein: if it’s not 15.3% protein, a E94 (£85.35) levy is slapped on it. “Buying organic wheat is extremely fraught, as we’ve had two bad summers and we’ve hardly been able to buy any UK organic wheat this season,” says Matthews.”I believe retailers are looking to promote home-grown organic products, and we’re hoping to have a good harvest this year, and that there’s going to be a lot of promotion around 100% organic UK loaves.”There is only one word for why organic wheat does so badly in the UK and that’s ’climate’ – or rather unsuitable climate. “You can grow it, but at the end of the day, to make a loaf of bread, you need a certain amount of protein and you cannot get it by artificial means. On top of all that, you need a lot of sunlight hours between the beginning of June and the middle of July,” explains Matthews. FWP has sourced organic wheat from the likes of Canada, Argentina and Eastern Europe, as well as the UK.In terms of the recession, Matthews views it as just another challenge. “Obviously we’ve invested heavily in the new facility and we’ve just put a new flour tanker on the road,” he says. “I think that, although it is tough, there will be tremendous opportunities for us. We have many advantages, not least that we are a small team – there are essentially only three or four of us that make the decisions.”Matthews believes it is being able to act on decisions quickly that has helped the success of the business. Although the family aspect of the business is important, he says that decisions have to be made for the good of the business, not the family, or that’s where things start going wrong.—-=== Then and now ===Founded by: Frederick William Powell Matthews and now run by great great grandsons Paul and Graham MatthewsHistory: Dates back to the 1860s, when Marmaduke Matthews started selling seeds from a barn in Oxfordshire. Mill completed in 1912New developments: £1.2m investment, including the building of a new warehouse, The Wychwood Building, an on-site test bakery and a £50k palletiser, completed last year
Almonds: From mid-May, the first of the official crop estimates start to generate and pricing will react accordingly. Demand appears to be stronger than ever, especially from the Far East and, despite the global economic downturn, will probably prevent any major further price decrease, despite bearish news on a big crop size.Hazelnuts: Hazelnut prices have confounded expectations for lower levels, following the Turkish national elections at the end of March, as traded levels have climbed exponentially.Walnuts: The grading of the Californian walnuts, particularly on halves, does not offer a like-for-like comparison with China or India, although their prices have been competitive for the first time this season. Despite the excellent Californian prices, we would advise caution on prices over the July-December 2009 period.Cashews: With stock levels buoyant in Europe and in the US, with relatively low levels of new demand showing at origin, we may see prices ease in the short- to medium term while they find the next level of origin buying interest.Pistachios: Despite some recovery by sterling over the past month, this has only marginally limited the relentless ascent of US pistachio pricing. With stocks in origin now precariously low, there is more demand than supply.l Based on information provided by ingredients supplier RM Curtis
A newly formed association, the National Organisation of Bread Tasters, is due to attend the SIAB exhibition in Italy from 22-26 May next year, where it will reveal plans for courses on the sensory assessment of bread.Founded by Walter Cricrì, an agronomist and sensorial analyst, and formed in conjunction with the Richemont Club Italy, the organisation plans to approach bread-tasting in a similar way to that of cheese, wine and olive oil.Aimed at consumers, bakers and caterers in Italy, regional courses will train people to become expert bread tasters, able to recognise, identify and evaluate the sensory qualities of bread, such as aromas, flavours and textures. “The first step,” Cricrì said, “will be to standardise the terminology used when assessing bread.”