A simple country baker

first_imgMany of the stupid announcements by politicians must irritate you as much as they do me. That arch feminist – she from planet Pluto not Venus – Ms Patricia Hewitt, the then Minister for Trade and Industry who, to the best of my knowledge, has never started, run a business or even worked for a commercial company in her life – which is of course the perfect qualification to tell us how to run our companies – came out with such nonsense in a consultation paper that I can only conclude she had spent the previous 24 hours in a pub trying to prove it is good for you to drink for that period.Mind you, she is now Minister for Health, a logical career move after all day and night pub opening; it’s a case, I suppose, of supplying extra customers for the hospitals.She tells us that, if we give working mothers 12 months maternity leave, allow them to transfer part of it to their husbands or live-in partners and allow them to demand flexible working hours, it will be of great benefit to business. What planet does she live on? After all, if these were such great ideas, we in business would have done it years ago and the government would never need to coerce us into doing it; we would all be doing it to improve our bottom line.Naturally, being a politician, she has no idea of costs. All she knows is the public sector with its bloated staffing levels where, if half the staff were away – and they usually are – no one misses them. This government’s idea of consultation is listening to the public sector unions and the Confederation of British Industry, which represents the very large companies and apparently has no interest in the small companies.Next, they say to us: “We are listening.” Then they totally ignore our needs and do exactly what they were going to do anyway. The only solution I can see is for the private sector to give very serious thought before employing ladies of child-bearing age and to be grateful, for once, to the public sector, which can carry on employing them.The downside, even of the public sector employing all the ladies, is that next, they will be coming to us for even more taxes to pay for extra accommodation to build hundreds of crèches to put all their children in and to fund wages for staff to look after them because they want to be seen as caring employers.We uncaring employers, meanwhile, will either be working our staff and ourselves to death to pay the taxes for this madness or will have said, “No way! I will sell out to some other fool who wants to try and support the country.” Again, as always, the snag: even the supply of fools will dry up.Now I will confess that my views are slightly to the right of centre and, at the moment, are not fashionable to the tie-less brigade of modern politicians.However, fear not! One day, two and two will make four again; I lived through the crazy ’50s and mad ’70s, but the day of reckoning came, as it will – without doubt – come again. Tony Phillips is past president of the NAMB and is (allegedly) retired from running Janes Pantry with 10 shops in Gloucestershirelast_img read more

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A simple country baker

first_imgFlicking through some back issues of British Baker recently, I came across a point made by the editor Sylvia Macdonald. She argued in February that the Government pays little heed to comments made by trade associations with memberships of less than three thousand.This made me think – where does that leave the National Association of Master Bakers? I am a serving member of the NA board and, like every member, I have my own personal views, which in no way reflect those of the board. In my view, if we want to increase membership to include all craft bakers, the subscription rate has to be lower. This would mean, inevitably, that costs would have to be dramatically reduced. The only way this could be achieved would be by reviewing all the services the NA provides and charging members as and when they use them.No longer would it be possible for a service to be provided for the very few, paid for by the vast majority of members who have no need for it.This means probably providing only a few core services such as advice on employment law, keeping members up to date with current legislation and lobbying. In essence, the NA would become a service facilitator rather than provider. Inevitably, this would upset many stalwart long-term members, but I would suggest our businesses have had to change to survive, in many cases dramatically, and the same must go for the NA – change or perish.Like many, I believe the majority of members want the NA to survive as a group run for and by bakers. To do that and have any influence with Government, we must become larger and more inclusive. This inevitably will mean a comparatively low subscription rate. There will be those who say that by providing a high standard of service, members will be willing to pay for them. True, but not enough will – that is a fact of life. Unfortunately, wishful thinking does not increase membership. There could be the creation of a main board representing various food sectors and consisting of working representatives from each trade association. It could meet, say, once or twice a year. This means actual working members, not just the chief executives of each trade group. I have always believed that, unless you are at the coal face, it is easy to lose a sense of perspective. Just as a poor man who becomes rich forgets what it was like to be poor. Unless you have to meet a wage bill year in and year out, it is only too easy to come up with ways to spend money. I am always being told: “You must realise, Tony, running a trade association is different to running a business.” Well, I thought you still had to balance the books and not waste money. And surely you have to provide a service members want.I have often wondered that if a member knows nothing about running a trade association, how do those running one know my problems? Are they not one and the same? Oh well, that’s the price of being simple I suppose!last_img read more

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Zeelandia

first_imgZeelandia Ltd (Billericay, Essex) supplies release agents suited to industrial and craft bakers. Its Carlo brand has been used since 1935 to release tinned bread. It is available in five-litre cartons, 22.5-litre tins, 200-litre drums and bulk delivery.The Zeelandia range also includes specialist release agents for more stubborn applications. The Carlex range of products includes 10 different types. Each contains a combination of oils and waxes for difficult-to-release properties.last_img

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Foster Refrigerator

first_imgThe Slimline range of cabinets from Foster Refrigerator (King’s Lynn, Norfolk) are compact with an added temperature (-2/+2ºC) option.They have a bottom-mounted refrigeration system that draws in cool air from the lower part of the bakery ensuring efficient operation and lower running costs. The cabinets also feature a forced air refrigeration system which evenly distributes the temperature throughout.Slimlines also feature an electronic temperature display.last_img

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Our new arrival… www.bakeryinfo.co.uk

first_imgYour new gateway to the baking industry, the bakeryinfo.co.uk website will offer a selection of the bits of both magazine titles, while also providing a sneak preview of upcoming news and feature exclusives.On top of that, in the coming months we will be offering a whole host of online exclusives, from recipes to reader offers, so keep your eyes peeled!On our home page, you will find out what’s coming up in our next issue, as we trail the biggest news stories and features for the week. We will also tell you about any upcoming specials, such as our popular recipe supplements, the latest of which came free with British Baker last week. The Around the World Recipes supplement featured a selection of great commercially scaled-up international recipes. A selection of the recipes, including those from top names including TV chef Paul Rankin (pictured) and bakery writer Richard Bertinet, will appear in our dedicated recipes section on bakeryinfo.co.uk.Featured regularly in the pages of British Baker are recipes from some of the top bakers and confectioners in their fields working in the UK today, such as Dan Lepard and Paul Hollywood, which will also appear on bakeryinfo.co.uk. From Irish soda bread to French pain de campagne, Indonesian salmon baguette to Italian slipper pizza – all our recipes are there to inspire you and introduce you to classic products.You’ll also find some old recipes that we’ve scoured the archives for, as well as tips on how to create an impact with seasonal decorations.== online archive ==Need to track down that elusive recent news story about a hot new bakery deal that took place recently, but don’t have the time to flick through your back issues of British Baker? Then search our online archive resource and find it in a flash.While you’re there, why not participate in our monthly online poll, with which we hope to gauge your views on key issues. This month we ask: what is the biggest challenge facing your bakery business – is it energy prices, training and recruitment, the cost of ingredients, or the supermarkets? Visit bakeryinfo.co.uk and let us know.The bakeryinfo.co.uk website also offers a useful online diary, listing all the relevant bakery and food industry events coming up, from conferences and exhibitions, to courses on plant baking and classes on sugar craft. Are you hosting a bakery event? Visit bakeryinfo.co.uk and publicise it by listing it easily online yourself.Are you new to baking and looking for more information on how to progress in the industry? Our comprehensive list of links to non-commercial industry bodies and trade associations will steer you along the right path. And if you’re looking for a new job, or you’re an employer with a vacancy, visit our online Jobs section. For further details, contact our recruitment sales on 01293 610460, or email: [email protected], if you need to know anything about British Baker or Bake & Take, from circulation figures to advertising opportunities, contact details or a downloadable copy of our media pack for 2007, then bakeryinfo.co.uk is the place to go. If you’d like to subscribe to either magazine or register for our email updates on breaking news and new online features, you can now do so easily through the website. In the meantime, watch this space! nlast_img read more

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Boyne to analyse folic impact

first_imgA new study is to be carried out in Ireland, by the privately funded Boyne Research Institute in Drogheda, to evaluate the likely impact of Ireland’s forthcoming programme to fortify flour with folic acid.About one in 1,000 babies born annually in Ireland has a neural tube defect, one of the highest rates in Europe. The project will focus on families most likely to have children with this condition.Last year, Ireland’s national committee on folic acid food fortification reported to the Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney, that fortification should be made mandatory and this recommendation was accepted by government. Legislation still has to be prepared on behalf of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, but is expec-ted to be in place in a year’s time.Around 120ug of folic acid will be added to each 100g of most white, brown and wholemeal breads, but exceptions will be made for some minor breads and retail flour, in the interests of consumer choice. When adding folic acid becomes mandatory in Ireland next year, bakers will have to modify the baking process.last_img read more

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Strike at Warburtons averted

first_imgWarburtons and the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) have reached a pay agreement following the threat of strike action.The union, which called off planned strike action before Christmas over what it saw as a low pay offer, confirmed on 11 January that an agreement had been reached.No pay figure was available but Warburtons described it as “an extremely competitive offer in the context of the food industry” and pronounced themselves pleased with the resolution of the dispute.last_img read more

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Caught on the web

first_img* Psycho Doughnuts’ shop in California features staff wearing nurses’ uniforms, a white padded cell and doughnut names like Bipolar, The Massive Head Trauma and Psycho www.psycho-donuts.com* Fat Princess has been released for the Playstation, where you have to rescue a kidnapped princess who has been fattened up with cake, and carry her home using your whole army tinyurl.com/lceoln* The Mandeville in London has twisted gender stereotypes in London by launching a Men’s Afternoon Tea, designed for manly bonding www.mandeville.co.uklast_img read more

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Take time for tea

first_imgAsk most customers if they want a hot drink to go with their cake or sandwich and they might be tempted by a cappuccino. A humble tea bag just doesn’t have the same allure as coffee, particularly if customers want to treat themselves. And let’s face it, there’s more theatre around an espresso machine, when you can make a bog-standard cup of tea at home.But that’s a shame, as quality, speciality tea is a different proposition altogether to most Brits’ usual brew. “The average person isn’t used to very good-quality tea, but if shops spent just a bit more, they could offer their customers a really good and different experience to the one they get at home,” says Christine Collins, director at Cup of Tea, which supplies Ronnefeldt Tea.Indeed, it’s only in recent years that coffee has become quite so high profile everyone used to be happy with instant coffee before they sampled cappuccinos and lattes. Gail Rowley, marketing manager at Mighty Leaf Tea, says: “Coffee has a lot of big-brand advertising behind it, with high-profile high street outlets such as Starbucks and Caffè Nero, while there is no tea equivalent.”Turn of the tideYet the tide is turning and Mighty Leaf Tea reports that it is seeing particular interest from new coffee shops and delis, which want to differentiate their tea offering.Customers are more interested in putting chai on their menu as the sector develops and it becomes more popular, says Drink Me Chai. Its Chai Latte offers that ’latte’ experience that is similar to the coffee experience. Founder Amanda Hamilton adds: “Tea bags do not attract a high retail price, but our product is a powder that uses real, ground spices and is usually made up with steamed milk. The price is similar to a premium hot chocolate or latte. Customers seem to respond to this price, as the product is seen as an alternative to coffee, not compared with a traditional cup of tea.”Ethically sourced teas can be another point of difference, and Country Range has sourced tea from one of the world’s first Rainforest Alliance Certified tea estates for its new range of tea bags, offering a premium blend Kenyan tea with the assurance that it comes 100% from sustainably managed farms. It believes that consumers would like to see more ethically sourced products on menus, while research shows that 92% are willing to pay more for a product perceived to be ethical.While English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Chamomile and Peppermint are often the most popular varieties with consumers, unsurprisingly, most manufacturers advise shops to stock a lot more across the range of black, green and white teas and herbal infusions. Teapigs recommends that shops start by selling six to eight of its varieties and rec-kons some end up stocking all its 21.Twinings senior customer marketing manager Andrea Stopher says offering a variety can drive incremental sales. “People don’t want to replicate the experience they have at home they want something slightly dif-ferent and will be interested in meal deals, such as Earl Grey and lemon cake or Assam with a scone.”Chatwins in Nantwich, Cheshire, offers a selection of teas at its four coffee lounges, including decaf, chamomile, and Earl Grey. Says chairman Edward Chatwin: “We only charge 5p extra for these speciality teas and have seen a steady increase in sales of herbal and decaf teas, as more people move away from standard tea for health reasons and are prepared to pay a bit more. It’s easier to offer a range of speciality teas as, unlike coffee, staff don’t need barista training to sell them.”Also, don’t imagine that you have to serve loose-leaf teas to attract tea drinkers, as many consumers are unused to strainers these days, while it’s just not practical when you’re doing takeaways.”There is a general perception that loose tea is better, as many tea bags contain very finely chopped tea leaves, even tea dust. But at Mighty Leaf Tea, we use exactly the same high-quality whole leaf product in our tea pouches as we do for our loose tea,” says Rowley.If you’re serving a choice of teas then individual string tagged tea bags are a popular choice as these can be displayed front-of- house for consumers to select, says Ward at Country Range.It can be more important to promote your offer with point-of-sale front-of-house, using branded tent cards, because consumers need to know what they are drinking. Literature to raise awareness of the benefits of ethically sourced products has led to a significant increase in demand, says Ward.Staff can also be an important weapon: “In general, the staff in coffee shops are coffee drinkers themselves, so they are more enthusiastic about promoting their favourite,” says Rowley. “However, where staff are committed tea drinkers, they are much more likely to engage in conversation and actively sell tea.”Sampling or promotions can be a good way to re-educate customers, and some manufacturers even spend time teaching staff about how tea grows, is produced, and how to brew and serve it, as a way of creating confidence around the product.They can help create the right tea-drinking experience, as good-quality teas are best enjoyed in-house where customers can relax with a pot of tea and savour the whole ’tea ceremony’ experience, according to Café du Monde director Mike Osborne which distributes Newby Teas. “The best way to drink it is from a cup not a mug,” he advises. “The water needs to be extremely hot and a pot is much nicer than just a teabag if you present it at the table, there’s a bit more of a ceremony. If you use loose leaves there’s a bit of an upsell stiuation in that you can charge more, even though it doesn’t cost any more.”Indeed, consumers do seem willing to pay more, if the product is right. “Many of our customers are finding that, with Mighty Leaf teas, they can command a similar price to a good cappuccino or latte, whereas ’regular’ tea has always trailed behind coffee in terms of price,” reports Rowley.According to Teapigs, some shops just absorb the extra cost of its premium product, while others put prices up by about 15%, so customers pay £1.60 rather than the usual £1.45. “The difference doesn’t usually register, as it’s still generally below the price of a coffee,” explains sales and marketing manager Sofia Buttarazzi.Belgique bakery chain is an inspiration for any baker or coffee shop owner debating whether to trade up. It used to sell Lipton/Twinings teas for 90p, but decided to introduce 12 Teapigs-branded whole leaf teas as a way of generating extra turnover and margins, and now charges between £1.70-£1.85 a cup. Despite the price hike, sales quadrupled to 25,000 in three months.Says owner Igor Bakaert: “We marketed them quite aggressively, putting a spread in our menu with a description of each tea, and advertised them in-store. Every three months, we take off the two least popular and replace them with new ones from the range. Our strategy worked, as the products are great quality and offer customers good value.”last_img read more

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CSM cupcakes

first_imgThis recipe combines CSM’s Craigmillar-branded Extra Moist Cake and Crembel Lemon Fudge Icing.Easter Cupcake baseDeposit Craigmillar Extra Moist Cake Mix in Plain or Choc into a cupcake tray lined with paper cases. Bake at 190°C for approx 12-15 minutes.ToppingOnce cool top with melted Craigmillar Natural Colour & Flavour Lemon Fudge Icing and decorate.DecorateTo make bunniesPipe using icing coloured brown. For his ears use sugarpaste cut out in a heart shape, colour pink and pipe outline in brown. Finish by piping icing to make his eyes.To make chicksUse icing coloured yellow to pipe a bold chick head and body. Colour desiccated coconut yellow and sprinkle over Mellomallo chicks. Finish with sugarpaste coloured orange for a beak and pipe coloured black icing for his eyes.To make lettersCut letters to shape using sugarpaste, coloured green, and pipe lines on the letters using icing coloured yellow.Cost per unit: 12p-13p (incl foil case)RRP: 65p-85p per unitlast_img read more

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