This sandwich was devised using La Brea Country White Sourdough OvalCountry White Sourdough Oval bread – 8 slicesExtra virgin olive oil – 1/3 cupTablespoons white wine vinegar – 2-3 Tablespoons Maldon sea salt – 2Tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper – 1Medium yellow onions, sliced 1/8-inch thick – 2Wholegrain mustard – 1/4 cup Swiss cheese, sliced 1/16-inch thick – 8oz To prepare the marinated onions Combine the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the onions, toss to coat them, and marinate for 15-20 minutes at room temperature. Season with more vinegar, salt, and pepperTo assemble the sandwichesSet half of the slices of bread buttered side down.Spread an even layer of mustard over the bread and cover with half the cheese slices, folding them back in toward the middle if they extend past the edges of the bread.Scatter the marinated onions on top and place the remaining cheese slices over the onions.Put the top slices of bread over the cheese, buttered side up.Grill the sandwiches using a panini press. Cut each sandwich in half diagonally.
Taking snuff out of a ram’s horn was a privilege that Andrew Fairley, British Baker’s Student Baker of Year, politely declined. He also hopes he will never need to invoke the right to a private cell in one of Glasgow’s police stations or indeed fight alongside Glaswegians as they defend their city. These entitlements are now his, following his induction as a member of the Incorporation of Bakers of Glasgow. He has been made member of this ancient guild in recognition of his achievement in British Baker’s 2005 Baking Industry Awards. Fellow winners Debra Cunningham, Celebration Cake Maker of the Year, and highly commended student baker Daniel Smith were also honoured at the ceremony at Glasgow Trades Hall as they became members of the order which dates back 500 years.“It was a remarkable honour to be given the opportunity to join and an exciting experience – a day that I will never forget, it was brilliant,” says Andrew. “The first thing I noticed was lots of people in thick gold chains like a mayor would wear and another chap wearing a strange dark cloak. It struck me that Dan (Smith) and I were by far the youngest at the ceremony. When my name was called I had to stand up and repeat after the deacon a sworn statement and sign the book which dates back hundreds of years.”The Incorporation of Bakers of Glasgow is part of the Glasgow Trades House, which was set up over 400 years ago to look after workers and their families involved in the 14 major crafts at that time. These included the maltsters, hammermen, coopers, weavers and bonnetmakers.Before receiving the award, the three bakers were granted the honour of Freeman Citizenship of the city of Glasgow as this is necessary to become a member of the Incorporation.Debra is head of cake decorating at 44-shop Skeltons Bakery, where she has developed a method of painting cakes with intricate designs. Andrew, aged 19, and Daniel, aged 20, are both coming to the end of their three-year apprenticeships with Greggs North East. Daniel was impressed when he arrived in Glasgow for the ceremony. He was even more taken aback by the company he was in when he heard the citations and saw others being given the honour: “I didn’t realise all the people were that much older and had titles to go with their names. When it came to my turn I was extremely nervous.”
Tortilla supplier Discovery Foods has denied industry rumours that it is about to be sold to Mission Foods, which claims to be the world’s largest tortilla company.Discovery, an independent family business, is looking at various strategic options for securing external investment, admitted MD James Beaton. But reports of an impending sale were “totally unsubstantiated,” he told British Baker. “We are looking at bringing more investment into the business, but not an outright sale, unless we have an irresistible offer,” he added.Discovery Foods, based in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, has two factories in Daventry, Northamptonshire and recently opened a third factory in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. Mission Foods, founded in 1949, is part of Mexico City-based Gruma Corp.
As part of Marks & Spencer’s recently announced £200m, eco-friendly Plan A, it is pledging to reduce the use of packaging by 25%. In addition, packaging will be made from sustainable materials or recycled sources, such as cardboard, glass and plastic.The plan sets out to restrict the range of packaging materials, including sandwich and bakery packaging, to ones which are easy to recycle or compost, so customers do not have to throw rubbish away. These include using four types of plastic derived from corn starch: PLA, PP, PET and PE.Other plans include printing symbols on packaging to make it easy for customers to recycle or compost. It will also reduce the use of carrier bags by 33%, all of which are made from recycled plastic.”We are calling this Plan A because there is no Plan B,” said M&S chief executive Stuart Rose (pictured above). “We will become carbon neutral, only using offsetting as a last resort. We will ensure that none of our packaging needs to be thrown away. We will clearly label the food we import by air. Regional and local food sourcing will be a priority and we will trial the use of food waste to power our stores. We will do this without passing on the extra cost to our customers.”This is a deliberately ambitious and, in some areas, difficult plan. We don’t have all the answers but we are determined to work with our suppliers, partners and government to make this happen. Doing anything less is not an option.”Each month, British Baker reports on developments in packaging
14 – 15 Gluten-Free BakingLocation: Bread Matters CumbriaContact, tel: 01768 88189914 – 15 Continental, Italian and French breadsLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] Kingston & District Master Bakers Association meeting(with speaker Tony Phillips and a three-course meal)Location: Crown Hotel, Chertsey, SurreyContact, tel: 01932 345486 (Linda Clarke)/01483 489939email: [email protected] – 15 Bread Matters Fundamental, two-day courseLocation: Bread Matters, CumbriaContact, tel: 01768 881899September1 – 2 Continental, Italian and French breadsLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] – 5 Basic BreadmakingLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] Basic Breadmaking, one-day courseLocation: Ludlow, ShropshireContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] Ludlow Master ClassLocation: Ludlow, ShropshireContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] – 14 Advanced Practical Biscuit TechnologyLocation: CCFRA, Chipping CampdenContact, tel: 01386 842104 (The Training Department)14 Italian breads, one-day courseLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] FlatbreadsLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] – 19 Going ProfessionalLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] Baking For A Healthier Diet: developing products for optimal nutritionLocation: CCFRAContact, tel: 01386 842104 (The Training Department)22 – 23 Whole Grain Baking, two-day courseLocation: Bread Matters, CumbriaContact, tel: 01768 88189922 – 23 Wood-fired Oven WorkshopLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] – 30 Baking for a LivingLocation: Bread Matters, CumbriaContact, tel: 01768 881899October1 – 8 Bakers’ Tour in FranceLocation: Rhone valley, FranceContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] – 5 Basic Principles Of BakingLocation: CCFRA, Chipping CampdenContact, tel: 01386 8421046 – 7 Italian Baking, two-day courseLocation: Bread Matters, CumbriaContact, tel: 01768 8818996 – 10 International Richemont Club ConferenceLocation: CroatiaContact, tel: +385 1 662 2608email: [email protected] – 14 Basic BreadmakingLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] Bakers’ Fair North West 2007Location: Bolton Arena, BoltonContact, tel: 01293 846520email: [email protected] or visit [http://www.bakersfair.co.uk]16 – 17 French breads, with sourdoughLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447Email: [email protected] – 24 Residential breadmakingLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected] – 26 Advanced Practical Bread TechnologyLocation: CCFRAContact, tel: 01386 842104 (The Training Department)30 – 31 Italian breadsLocation: Cann Mills, DorsetContact, tel: 01722 341 447email: [email protected]
Having spent the past few months acclimatising to its new production headquarters in Inverurie, west of Aberdeen, JG Ross Bakers is embarking on the acquisition trail as it aims to turn anticipated sales of £8.3m for 2008 into an annual turnover of £11m by 2011. “We now have the capacity to target more volume,” executive chairman and company founder George Ross tells British Baker.The family company has already acquired two retail outlets in Aberdeen and several other firms have contacted JG Ross recently to see if it would be interested in taking them over, reveals George. These approaches are under consideration. At the same time, the company is constantly on the lookout for potential new retail outlets.George and his wife, Betty, started up JG Ross in 1962 with a single shop. The empire he now runs with his two sons – production director Cameron and commercial director Graeme – extends to 23 shops, two coffee shops, two bakeries and a thriving wholesale division. But following the move to the new production facility in Inverurie, the company has greatly increased its production capacity. “We now have the ability to double our production. There is a phenomenal amount of growth available,” says Cameron.”We have gone through a period of consolidation here. We are bedded in and now we are ready to hit the accelerator,” he adds. “Our intention is to look at where we can acquire shops and grow our business, either organically or through acquisition. We are definitely looking to go outside our current area.”At present, the company’s delivery area extends from Inverness in the north to Ballater, Royal Deeside in the west and across to Stonehaven, Kincardineshire in the south. Its retail presence, meanwhile, stretches from Elgin down to Stonehaven. Its other bakery operation, located in Portsoy, Banff on the Moray Firth, came under the company umbrella in the late 1990s when JG Ross acquired Forrest the Baker, a craft baking business which continues to operate as a separate entity.expanding businessJG Ross is planning to achieve its £11m annual turnover target not only through acquisition but also through organic growth. For example, the company already counts several retail chains among its regular customers – including most notably Tesco and the Scottish Co-Op Group – and is engaged in discussions with the aim of significantly expanding its business with these and other multiples. JG Ross has also been approached to produce retailer-specific products under the retailer’s own label. “The new facility offers the company the opportunity to explore this and other avenues available for growth,” it says.The company also acknowledges the role new product development must play if it is to realise its ambitions. Morning goods account for some 40% of company turnover and sandwiches a further 15%; savouries/ready-meal products provide a further 15% of company sales; cakes and fancies 12%; biscuits and hot plate goods 12%; and bread/rolls the remaining 6%. “We are looking at growth over all of these areas,” says Cameron.Indeed, the company has not allowed the inevitable distractions of a major bakery move to stand in the way of product launches, with recent examples including low-GI muffins and bread. “The sales of these products are going extremely well and allow us to meet the consumer demand for healthier products,” he says.additional capacityThe new bakery stands on 3.7 acres of land. The building accounts for 37,000sq ft compared with 14,000sq ft at the previous Port Elphinstone site; the production area has expanded from around 10,000sq ft to nearer 25,000sq ft. JG Ross has closed its separate sandwich-making operation at a leased site in Dyce on the outskirts of Aberdeen and has moved this function to a segregated, high-risk product manufacturing area within the new Inverurie bakery. The Port Elphinstone building is owned by the company and options are being considered for development of the site.The availability of additional baking capacity at Portsoy certainly helped JG Ross in maintaining normal levels of production during the move, especially as a significant proportion of the baking equipment had to be transferred between the old and new Inverurie facilities. “Customers would have seen no difference at all,” says George.The new bakery project cost £4.2m, with the building itself accounting for around two-thirds of the total expenditure. A further £500,000 was invested in new kit, including additional ovens from Revent, a larger roll plant and a couple of provers from Acrivarn which, according to Cameron, have boosted capacity from 10 racks to 27 racks and improved the consistency of the final product. The facility has been designed to ensure the best manufacturing flow – from goods in to weighing out of ingredients, production, packing and distribution.JG Ross’ production hub has moved barely two miles but, in jumping across the A96 to Highclere Business Park, the company enjoys significantly improved access as well as excellent vehicle parking capacity – which George says was “one of the major problems at the old bakery”.popular coffee shopWith the new facility in a prominent location next to other commercial units and a burgeoning housing estate, the management team has looked to cash in on local trade by setting up a convenience store, a take-away outlet and a 120-seat coffee shop/restaurant within the bakery building. “The coffee shop is already very popular and we have done very little advertising,” says George.The move to Highclere has also boosted the local economy, creating a further 46 jobs. If the company realises its growth targets, workforce numbers are expected to increase from the current 388 to nearer 450 over the next three years. “We can now offer staff a better canteen and changing rooms – and generally better working conditions,” says Cameron.Indeed, the company’s role in the community was recognised in early June when, as part of the 2007 Grampian Awards for Business Enterprise, it was named winner of the Alick Buchanan Smith Spirit of Enterprise Award. This recognises companies demonstrating commitment to the community in which they operate – through initiatives that promote community development, staff volunteering or growth of a business that contributes significantly to the local economy.Another recent accolade recognised JG Ross’ efforts to enhance its ’green’ credentials at the new bakery: a system that captures rainwater from the roof and filters it for reuse in toilets and vehicle washing has earned a Green Butterfly award from the Aberdeenshire Environment Forum for the conservation of natural resources.George acknowledges the help and advice from other members of the Scottish baking industry for making the bakery move as smooth as it ultimately proved. He stresses the importance of detailed planning before undertaking such a monumental project, with one of his favourite adages: “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” Nevertheless, he adds, companies should accept that even the best-organised new builds can run behind schedule: the new bakery was due to begin production last summer, but it finally opened in March this year.While he is understandably proud of this massive commitment to the company’s future, George is keen to maintain the current balance within the business between retail (60%) and wholesale (40%). He also wants it to remain faithful to its roots: “We still want to be seen as a craft baker, not as a mass producer.”The company’s stated aim is to be a major Scottish food producer without forsaking traditional craft baking methods and recipes. But these goals will not be pursued without a weather eye on the balance sheet – a point George emphasises with another favourite saying: “Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity.” n
It was a bumper Christmas for two Midlands-based bakeries, which enjoyed record sales.Mike Holling, retail operations manager, Birds of Derby, told British Baker last week that there was a queue of 45 customers waiting outside the bakery shop at 5.30am on Christmas Eve, with a peak of 60 people by 7am. “It was an indication of their concern to make their purchases at the last minute in order to get fresh produce,” he said.Sales highlights included more than 30,000 Birds pork pies, which were snapped up in the last three days before Christmas, and 37,600 mince pies sold on Christmas Eve itself. Impulse novelty items, such as gingerbread Santa and snowmen, together with Santa lollies, also proved a roaring success.Christmas proved “outstan-ding” at the Buxton Spa bakery in Derbyshire, which supplies Co-op’s Fairtrade mince pies, with both volume and value up 100%, said marketing manager Helen Riley. “In 2006, our mince pie business was 98,000 cases, while in 2007 we moved 183,000 cases through the doors,” she said.The firm also registered its first-ever turnover of £1 million in a month in November, and plans to boost production facilities and increase capacity.
Husband and wife partnership Tricia and Paul Barker run a very individual bakery and café called Cinnamon Square, in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire. What makes it unusual is that this is Britain’s first ’theatre of baking’, where customers can watch the bakers make cakes and pastries and quiz them about how they do it. This area is known as the Makery. Children’s parties can be held here and Paul Barker also runs evening courses in bread and cake-making.He and Tricia, who has extensive marketing experience, started a company called KiddieKraft in 2001, selling mail-order home baking kits for children. This firm is still running and is a past runner-up in The Daily Mirror’s Excellence in Enterprise competition. But having decided to set up their own bakery, the couple spent a long time finding the right property, eventually locating the current premises in a 16th-century listed building in the heart of Rickmansworth. Their big idea was to establish the Makery as the focal centre of the premises, with an emphasis on participation and involvement. The bakery takes its name from the company’s signature product, the cinnamon square, a delightful sweet bun, rolled with cinnamon filling and covered with a delicious cream cheese topping.The Barkers’ approach to the Baking Industry Awards was, they say, very professional. “We prepared thoroughly and backed it up with facts and figures,” says Tricia. “I did a Powerpoint presentation for the Marketing Award and had samples, too. The judges came here, then Paul did a stand-up presentation for the Skills Achievement Award at a hotel in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.”Paul adds: “There were four independent judges at the hotel. Two of them hadn’t visited the shop, so I brought samples and photos. I went though my background and we had visuals of what the kids wear at parties. The children wear white lab coats and the party host wears a professor’s hat.”The awards presentation was based around one product, the cinnamon square. “Paul had spent a lot of time developing this and people said it was not just nice, but delicious,” says Tricia. “We’ve expended a lot of effort creating a dedicated point of sale; in the centre of our shop we have display materials about the cinnamon square and, below that, boxes of them.”The Barkers also highlighted the Makery, which is booked out three months in advance for children’s parties, as well as the baking courses that Paul runs. “The credibility of winning the awards has highlighted the courses we run. We have had several large companies come in for an evening,” says Tricia. “We had a cabinet specially made for the awards upstairs and it looks really good,” says Tricia. “They are so prestigious.”In the year before winning two awards, the company had already won a Gold Star from The Guild of Fine Food for its cinnamon square. But what has really pleased the Barkers is the way their start-up company has “grown organically”.”To come in and make such an impact was great,” says Tricia. “Word of mouth is huge. We set this business up to look professional and to deliver a good product, so that people talk about us.”Paul adds: “We’ve only been going two years and four months, and it’s getting busier and busier. In the first two months of this year, sales were 40% up on last year and 100% up on the first year.”One of the Barkers’ aims was to create something for everyone. “If the children are happy decorating cookies, then parents can have quality time over a cup of coffee,” says Tricia.In competing for the awards, the Barkers were aware that they were up against big companies with excellent reputations, but they remained confident about what they could do. And their confidence proved justified. “For us, as unknowns, it was fantastic to win,” says Tricia. “We were absolutely delighted to pick up two awards on the night. It was a great evening ? a bit like the Oscars. We were so overwhelmed.”The Barkers’ business is growing strongly at the moment. “The publicity from the awards made people aware of what we do ? it certainly helped,” says Tricia.”Winning gives substance to our courses,” adds Paul. “As soon as you say, ’an award-winning company’, it creates a certain perception. We’re introducing corporate training courses and we’ve just had the MD and the entire board of a well-known electrical company making bread together.”With the business growing on all fronts, the Barkers have taken on more staff, including another baker. “We’re trying to free some of our time to concentrate on where the business goes from here,” says Paul.New products are still being introduced. The latest are a yeast-free bread and freshly baked panatone. “They go like hot cakes, they’re so fresh,” says Paul.The Barkers say they would enter the awards again, but not necessarily the same categories. So do they have any tips for this year’s entrants? “Prepare well and put together a good presentation,” says Tricia. Then she chuckles, “No, I’m not going to tell them anything! I want to win it again myself!”
Encouraging consumers to eat five portions of fruit and veg a day is a big part of the food industry, writes Wayne Caddy. For consumers, the five-a-day concept makes sense and is easy to understand. Given this, can the baker target incremental sales with products specifically designed for achieving one of your five-a-day?Super fruity orange and raisin muffinThis muffin recipe is typical of a healthier product without any compromises on indulgence.IngredientsHeat-treated cake flour 1,000gBaking powder 60gSalt 20gRapeseed oil 480gEgg 480gOrange pulp with zest 760gHoney 760gRaisins 880gMethod1. Sieve all dry ingredients and weigh into a mixing bowl. Using a beater attachment, mix the dry ingredients until they are evenly combined.2. Add all the liquids to the bowl and mix for 2 minutes on first speed. Scrape down.Top tip: ensure the honey is weighed out last. The oil will stop the honey sticking to the sides of the container.3. Now mix on second speed for 3 minutes. Scrape down and mix in the raisins on first speed for around 30 seconds or until evenly dispersed.4. Deposit into large muffin case (120g). Alternatively, use a lined loaf cake tin.5. Add 5g of the orange pulp and zest.6. Bake at 200?C for 25 minutes or until golden brown.7. Brush with a little runny honey.Top tip: I discovered a great tinned orange and zest pulp supplied by Treelinks Ingredients – basically an unsweetened pulp packed with chunky zest. If you use freshly squeezed orange and grated zest, then I would recommend reducing the honey level accordingly to balance out the increased sweetness.I have based some of my research on the following sites. I found the NHS five-a-day site particularly useful:[http://www.5aday.nhs.uk]tinyurl.com/56gkw6[http://www.treelinks.net]Also, check out the FSA guidance to compliance version 1 April, 2008, based on European regulation No. 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods.[http://www.foodstandards.gov.uk]
Waitrose has opened its first food shop in a convenience format in Trinity Square, Nottingham, which will stock freshly made baguettes, sandwiches and salads as well as freshly made bread.The 5,815 sq ft outlet is the first of a four branch trial of the new format. The second shop is due to open in Bristol in spring 2009.The outlets have been designed to offer something new within the convenience store sector, with an emphasis on fresh quality products. There will a specialist counters for bread, as well as cheese, meat and fish.“We believe you shouldn’t have to compromise on the standard of your shopping experience just because a store is smaller and designed for convenience,” commented Waitrose managing director, Mark Price.“We want to revive that traditional sense of service typical of convenience shops, which customers value, but within a fresh and contemporary setting.”