Many congratulations to Hovis on its 120th birthday! And particular congratulations to all the millers and bakers who have maintained the standard over the years, enabling the loaf to hold such a prominent place in our hearts – and on the shelves of course.Colin Lomax, RHM technical manager, merits a special mention. He is one of those individuals who has the talent to inspire others: company directors, fellow bakers, up-and-coming students, and the editor of British Baker, who has seen him at work. He knows vast amounts about milling and baking and, like so many in this industry, cares deeply for his craft. The last time he judged a competition, I heard a student say: “He makes me really want to get the crumb better – up to his standards.” That’s because he puts in enthusiasm and draws out talent.But his sense of humour is never far below the surface, as anyone who has worked with him, seen him demonstrate or sat in on a British Society of Baking conference he has chaired, knows.Paul Wilkinson and Peter Baker, famous names from RHM’s recent past, have moved on, but both contributed a great deal not just to Hovis but RHM’s success, and I am proud to have met and know them both.I must admit I went a bit wobbly when Hovis launched a crustless version of its loaf. I wanted to shout; “That’s where most of the flavour is!” But as soon as I learned it was aimed principally at kids, I felt a lot better.Importantly, Hovis has always “combined innovation and the desire to move forwards with an emphasis on quality and tradition” (pg 26). That is also obvious talking to Miles Warnick, who heads up RHM Bread Bakeries, and Jon Tanner sales and marketing director of the milling division. It must be a very proud time for them, too, with the parent company going for flotation last year and a recent rise in the share price.British Baker actually reached its 120th anniversary six months ago, so we have played an important part in each other’s lives.Tradition is being re-enacted as the famous commercial of the Hovis ‘boy and his bike’ makes a return. It pictures a traditional baker’s boy, wheeling his traditional delivery bike up Gold Hill in Dorset, delivering bread from a traditional basket. But if we look in that basket today, we see modern loaves, made on the latest plant and equipment – and still the pinnacle of success. A very happy 120th to Hovis!
The Mondial Forni Rotor Wide rotating rack, forced convection oven, from Eurobake (Bolton, Lancashire), features a rotating rack and bottom-to-top air distribution to give consistent baking, says the company.The load rack system can handle single or double racks up to 80cm x 100cm with a baking surface from 6.3 to 14.4sq m. The new electronic control panel makes it possible to programme up to nine operating phases for each recipe.
In the last couple of years, wraps have really taken off, and you only need to look in the food sections of high street shops or garages to see how popular they’re proving with consumers as a convenient, tasty snack. From busy mums preparing school lunchboxes to late night kebab fans, following an evening in the pub, it seems the tortilla wrap is fast becoming the new sandwich.Recent independent research by TNS found that 68 million fajita wraps will be consumed in the UK over the next 12 months, and are most likely to be popular with 20- and 30-year-olds.A GUIDE TO WRAPPINGThere are two approaches for anyone in the baking industry looking to sell wraps: either go for the New York deli-style set-up, where customers decide what filling they want and the wraps are made up in front of them to order, or prepare them in advance, in the same way that supermarkets do.Discovery Foods has recently launched a guide for consumers on how to make wraps, and the most popular version, The Classic, is made as follows: cover a round wrap with, for example, houmous and roasted pepper or plum sauce and Hoisin duck; fold in from both sides, and then fold up from the bottom. Roll over from the bottom twice, to make a ’parcel’, press down to seal, cut in half with a sharp knife and serve.Another style that works well is The Commuter, named because it’s ideal for busy people on the go and, unlike a sandwich, the filling doesn’t end up in your lap. Simply place the filling on the wrap, and fold up once from the bottom. Then fold over the left and keep rolling until you have an upright ’cylinder’, which you can eat with one hand and ride the Tube with the other.EXOTIC INGREDIENTSCustomers expect wrap fillings to be anything but traditional, so something such as Cajun Chicken or Hoisin Duck offers a slightly more exotic ingredient, compared to the traditional British sandwich. In many ways it offers a food fusion where East meets West. Wraps are also great for sweet fillings, such as strawberries and cream during Wimbledon – a great a summer snack.Sandwich wraps have been with us in the UK for over a decade. In fact, it was Discovery founder and chairman James Beaton, who spotted them in San Francisco and first introduced them into the UK in the mid-’90s. To start with, even sandwich giant Marks & Spencer didn’t understand the concept, but within six months, Discovery Foods was selling half a million wraps a week.Reports of the death of the sandwich have been greatly exaggerated, and there will always be a place for it in the nation’s lunchboxes. But if Britain follows the rest of the world, wraps will continue to increase in popularity. n
Costa Coffee’s sales were up by 22.1% and 6.7% like-for-like in the 50 weeks to 15 February 2007, parent Whitbread said last week.In a trading update, Alan Parker, chief executive said a rapid expansion was continuing at Costa and sister company Premier Travel Inn. He said: “The food offer has been improved and 185 new stores have been opened, including 78 equity and 107 franchise stores, 64 of which were overseas.”Overall sales for the group, which also includes David Lloyd Leisure, during the same period grew by 10.3% and like-for-like by 4.3%.Whitbread will announce its preliminary results for the 52 weeks to 1 March 2007 on 24 April.
Ingredients for coffee syrupSugar syrup (½ sugar, ½ water): 500mlInstant coffee (dissolved in a little boiling water): 5 tablespoonsBrandy to taste T his is a classic, multi-layered, coffee and chocolate flavoured cake or slice, which appeared in Paris in the 1930s. It was created in honour of the Paris Opera House.It has a very good shelf-life, as it is made in a slab and can be cut to any size as required and, if constructed correctly, looks absolutely stunning.The key is to ensure that each layer is completely flat throughout.We charge £1.80 per portion. Method1 Place a sponge sheet on a sheet of silicon.2 Brush generously with coffee syrup – we flavour ours with brandy.3 Spread out a flat, even layer of buttercream, approximately 3mm thick (see hint). Place the second layer of sponge carefully over the buttercream and soak with coffee syrup.4 Spread an even 3mm layer of ganache over the second layer of sponge. Place on the third layer of sponge. Again, soak with coffee syrup and cover with buttercream (as steps 1-3).5 Place on the fourth layer of sponge and soak. Spread on a last 3mm layer of ganache: the surface should be very flat at this stage. Refrigerate to set. The cross section should now have nice parallel and even layers.6 Carefully trim the edges so that they are true.7 Lastly, spread a thin layer of shiny chocolate glaze over the surface. Basic ingredients4 flat sponge sheets (joconde), approximately 4mm thick, coffee syrup (see recipe), coffee butter cream, ganache, chocolate glaze
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has launched new TV adverts to encourage shoppers to opt for healthy eating by using traffic light labels. They come as an international study names the UK as the number one fast food nation.The TV ads, voiced by comedienne Dawn French, were aired during GMTV breaks this month. They remind shoppers that they can find red, amber and green labels on many bakery products, which make healthy eating easier.The study, by global market research firm Synovate, found that 45% of those surveyed in the UK agreed with the statement: “I like the taste of fast food too much to give it up”, closely followed by the US on 44% and Canada 37%.The global survey looked at weight management among more than 9,000 people across 13 countries on five continents. Synovate’s global head of media Steve Garton said the survey had revealed conflicting attitudes. He explained: “People are inherently contradictory, and nowhere is it more obvious than on such a sensitive and important issue as their weight. The results show there’s a world of people who cannot deny themselves that hamburger or extra piece of pizza, but make themselves feel better by washing it down with a diet cola.”Around a third regularly weigh themselves, with 15% of the French and 12% of Americans weighing themselves every day.
Usman Zafar, the former owner of a Winsford, Cheshire bakery has been fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £700 for “appalling standards” of food hygiene.Zafar appeared before magi-strates on 29 January and admitted failing to maintain clean conditions at the One Stop Shop on Wharton Road. Magi-strates condemned the appalling standards of cleanliness.In July, inspectors found baking equipment and a walk-in fridge in “a poor state of clean-liness”, with mould and food debris on the walls, the floor and in food storage containers.
This little curio popped into our inbox tagged with the eyebrow raising heading: “Belcolade’s chocolate Manneken Pis jets in for 20 Years of Passion celebrations”, accompanied by a snap of a nude child made of chocolate.The press release revealed it was to do with Belcolade celebrating 20 years of producing Belgian chocolate. They chose to mark the occasion with a chocolatey version of Manneken Pis – which translates as ’little man pee’ – one of Belgium’s most famous landmarks.We’re still not quite sure how our friends at Belcolade managed to equate “20 Years of Passion” with chocolate statues of peeing children. But marketing assistant Lydia Baines explains the UK side of the celebrations: “During this leg of his celebratory tour, we took the Mannekin Pis to Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, an English pub, and even a game of cricket, before being guest of honour at Belcolade UK’s celebrations.”Fifty-five of these statues were shipped out to 16 countries worldwide. Belcolade teams from around the world will be snapping “Pis boy” at famous landmarks and the photographs will be exhibited in Brussels this summer.Forget Brussels, we think it should be put forward for the Turner Prize.
Dave Brooks, chief executive of major own-brand premium cakes supplier Finsbury Food Group, who steered the business into its number two position within the UK cake industry, is to step down from his role with effect from 29 September.Brooks will be replaced by major shareholder Martin Lightbody, previously group strategic development director.Brooks, 41, who spearheaded the group’s acquisition trail after it formed in 2002, told British Baker that his departure would be unlikely to lead to a change of direction for Finsbury.He said: “I don’t see us moving away from premium, celebration, health or from our brands.”The board is very clear that the next 18 months will be about driving the businesses we’ve got during tough econo-mic times.”Brooks revealed he had no imminent plans, other than to fulfil a consultancy role for Finsbury until March 2009, and left for personal reasons.Lightbody said “The group has an excellent portfolio of products, so despite the fact that I am taking over at a challenging time, it is an opportunity I relish.”
Greggs has announced a “robust performance” for the first half of the year, with pre-tax profit up 7.3% to £16.5m. The bakery retail chain saw sales increase by 4.4% to £312m, with like-for-like growth up 1.5%. Operating profit stood at £16.3m – an increase of 8.9%, for the 26 weeks to 27 June, 2009.The firm said the high street trading environment remained difficult and had not been helped by the recent wet weather. Chairman Derek Netherton commented: “The business has also begun to benefit from the initiatives we are taking to simplify and centralise our operations, in preparation for accelerated expansion.” Greggs also noted the continued harmonisation of its ranges and new product launches as successes in the year to date, and is currently experimenting with a new ‘concept’ store in the south east.For the full story, see the next issue of British Baker – out 14 August.