Bakery supplier and marketing company Bakesense has bought Oakdale Bakeries’ sites in Doncaster and Wigan from administration. The deal completed on 9 March, saving 247 jobs.Glenn Bancroft, co-owner, said Bakesense had received requests from supermarket customers to develop an own-label pies and tart business, and the acquisition would allow it to do this.The sites would operate as a sister company to Bakesense’s existing wet batter plant in Wales under the umbrella of its sales and marketing business, with centralised buying and logistics functions, he said.He added that the priority is to get Oakdale “back on track”, going “back to basics” on quality and availability. He commented: “Own-label supply is demanding and challenging but so is any sort of business. We are enthusiastic.”Oakdale Bakeries called in administrators on January 26.
Inter Link Foods has dismissed press reports that it is to sell its malt loaf business Soreen.Reports last week had suggested that Soreen was being marketed for sale by the cake company, in a move to to reduce its debt. But chairman Jeremy Hamer told British Baker that they were “total speculation and rumour”.Meanwhile, Brendan Hynes, who is to join Inter Link as finance director, has delayed his departure from Vimto-maker Nichols. Hamer said he was “very hopeful” that the situation would be cleared up soon.An interim financial management team would remain in place at Inter Link until after Hynes had joined.Hamer commented: “We are making lots of progress at Inter Link after a very difficult year.”
The Baking Industry Exhibition (BIE) board of patrons has held its inaugural meeting.Andrew Reed, chairman of the board, told patrons representing both exhibitor and visitor sectors about plans for the show, which will take place on 6-9 April 2008.Reed, representing organisers William Reed, said more than 63% of space had already been taken -“a fantastic response from the industry”. He added that plans were already under way for the feature areas, which will consist of a live working bakery with student competitions, a masterclass area for demonstrations and a bake-off theatre showing the latest launches.Reed stressed the importance of visitor promotion, which will take place across all William Reed titles, including British Baker, Bake & Take, The Grocer and Food Manufacturer, as well as other food magazines and web media in which bakery plays a part.The BIE will take place alongside Food & Drink Expo, Convenience Retailing and Foodex Meatex, with a central aisle linking the shows.BIE patron Nick Townend, Sainsbury’s category manager, bakery, said: “We want this exhibition to be the showcase for new products. We are interested in the environment, which means integrated sourcing from flour to plate, and ingredients such as chocolate and sugar with Fairtrade potential.”Craft baker and BIE patron Janet Carr, who owns five shops in the Reading area, said: “I want to see ideas that will support craft bakers on the retail side: better and more appropriate packaging, more efficient labels, better designed cake boxes, more drinks machines and sandwich fillings, for example.”Chris Freeman, craft baker with a shop in North London, wanted family-friendly support and welcomed the provision of crèche facilities. He said he would be looking for new ideas that could be translated into successful end products back at the bakery.Roger Tearle of Rondo said: “I really like the concept of the live demonstrations and lots going on. Also, theming in with other shows alongside is the right way to go.”
In today’s competitive baking environment, the pressure for higher throughput and maximum yield is unrelenting. Handling and transfer of the product during production is especially critical, and with target yields in the upper-90s percentage-wise, there is minimal room for error.Batch baking processes, which rely on manual handling, involve numerous steps where things can go wrong – many of which occur upstream of the oven. Raw materials selection and mixing are important to ensure correct proportions and viscosity; similarly, it is essential to ensure the correct weights of batter or dough in the depositing or make-up stage.If these steps are carried out manually, they can be subject to human error. Neither is the bake itself immune. Generally, a rack oven is used for batch processes and relies upon manual loading and unloading of trays. Parameters such as temperature, time and fan speed are also manually set. Given these factors, which offer greater opportunity for deviation, it is not surprising that, continuous ovens tend to display higher yields than batch ovens.Automation of baking lines eliminates many of the errors that occur due to manual handling and propels yields beyond 95%. Continuous baking lines, where trays are transported beneath depositing units and through the oven in a single process, provide an instant step-up in reliability. Here, computer control systems with touchscreen interfaces store recipes and handle baking temperature, time and synchronisation with ancillary equipment. Continuous baking systems can provide a smoother journey for the product.Perhaps the most high-risk of all product handling events is de-panning, where options include methods that incorporate vacuum cups, needles and various different ways of upending. In each case, care must be taken to ensure the product is not damaged. Fast de-panning speeds are also needed to support high-throughput lines.Many factors impact de-panning success. Effective greasing or application of the release agent prior to depositing is one. Another is the core temperature of the product being de-panned. The optimum core temperature differs from product to product. Automated systems, featuring integrated cooling modules, ensure that the optimum cooling regime is applied every time.Inclusion of a ’pre-release’ stage upstream of the de-panning equipment can help ensure de-panning success. Effective pre-release depends heavily upon adequate pan greasing. The pan greasing process is so important that errors in this stage account for up to 50% of de-panning problems.millimetre accuracyMillimetre-accurate and typically offering six-axis ’pick-and-place’ functionality, robotic ’multi-head’ de-panners can handle multiple trays at once, transferring products to different conveyors. Robotic solutions also permit the one line to have different types of de-panning heads to suit different products, activating whichever one is required.Automated baking systems create a fully repeatable and controlled environment, with speed of equipment and consistency of operation. Bakers that adopt automated solutions stand to reach their yield targets more quickly and maximise profitability.l Bill Mays is projects design manager with global baking technology group Auto-Bake
Improve and William Reed, publisher of British Baker, are joining forces to hold a training conference on 30 October.Bakery employers, trade associations, retailers and training providers are being invited to the One Voice conference, which will include short presentations on Improve’s new National Skills Council and flexible NVQs and SVQs, followed by an hour of workshops and feedback, giving attendees the chance to air their views.Attendance at the conference is free. It will take place at Bakers Hall in London from 10am to 12.30pm. To register, call 0845 644 0448.
Management at the Park Cake Bakery in Bolton, Lancashire, have begun talks with the workforce over plans to cut 40 jobs.The company announced the job cuts after a review of the bakery’s trading position. A company statement said: “The decision has been prompted by the need to consolidate the business and secure the jobs of the remaining workforce while realigning the business against the overall market place.”A 30-day consultation period has now begun to discuss ways of implementing the 40 redundancies out of a workforce of 345. Ian Hodson, Preston district organiser of the Baker’s Union, told British Baker its priority was to avoid compulsory redundancies and to ensure that, if the number of employees had to be reduced, it was done on a voluntary basis.He was due to meet company officials this week and hoped they could “look at opportunities for reducing the number of redundancies the company is asking for”. He added: “We will be fighting to keep everybody employed and will look at what their justification is for the redundancies.” Last year, plans to cut around 100 jobs at the bakery were withdrawn, Hodson said, following the union’s threat to organise a strike ballot and a sudden pick-up in orders.The firm was bought by investment firm Vision Capital from previous owner Northern Foods in a £160m deal in 2006. Employees had hoped this would provide stability at the firm company, which is affected by seasonal demand.
A lot of time is spent here at the SoHo Sandwich Co working with both our chefs and numerous bread suppliers to create interesting combinations of fillings with the right bread to bring out the flavour. We need to use a perfectly balanced selection of flavours and textures to make the customers keep coming back.Over the last six months we have been working with an Italian master baker based in Rome, who uses a traditional Roman method of baking bread, with ’00’ flour. He manages to create wonderful slabs of pizza bianca, inspiring us to come up with some really interesting fillings to complement the bread. Here is the Spianata – great for summer.There are wonderful plum cherry tomatoes in season right now, which we slowly roast in the oven with lemon, thyme and sea salt. Then we add English wild rocket pesto, which is not too expensive to make as there is an abundance of English rocket available at present. However, make sure you use a good-quality olive oil and an equally high-standard shaved Parmesan cheese.IngredientsSlow-roasted plum cherry tomatoes 40gThinly sliced prosciutto 60gSliced buffalo mozzarella 40gWild rocket pesto 40gToasted pine nuts 10g
Don’t forget to get creative and enter British Bakers’ cupcake cake-off competition in the run up to National Cupcake Week, which takes place from 14-19 September.British Baker and co-sponsors of National Cupcake Week, Puratos, welcome all professionals up and down the country to join in the fun by submitting their outstanding recipes and designs by the extended deadline – 8 July.The competition is open only to bakery professionals, who want the chance to compete to showcase the best of British cupcakes.In order to contend for the cupcake king or queen title, we need you to send us a commercial scale recipe and method including topping (one that could be produced in a shop), plus photography, along with an application form, which you can download from the dedicated cupcake week page on our website – www.bakeryinfo.co.uk.Entries will be selected and judged anonymously by a panel of judges, made up of representatives from British Baker, National Cupcake Week’s co-sponsors and an independent expert. The 10 best recipes and images will be shortlisted, and the chosen entrants will then be contacted by the judges.The panel will then whittle down the shortlist to six winning recipes. Each of these will represent one retail day of the Week, from Monday to Saturday. An overall champion of cupcake champions will also be crowned.National Cupcake Week is being used to support the sale of cupcakes in any outlet that sells them, from craft bakers to cafes, supermarkets and convenience stores.Look out for more details on the competition in the next issue of British Baker, out 19 June, and on the official National Cupcake Week Facebook page.Please remember:Only professionals who either make or supply cupcakes as a business are invited to enter.The deadline is 8 July 2009.Send your entries to [email protected] or post to Cupcake Competition, Elizabeth Ellis, William Reed Business Media, Broadfield Park, Crawley, West Sussex RH11 9RT.
Dear Editor,I wholeheartedly agree with you that answers on salt in bread-making are needed and I look forward to them being found in a manner which satisfies all interested parties.However, I feel I must comment on the last paragraph in your recent Viewpoint (5 June, 2009) and correct the small misconception that you have regarding the manufacture of bread with less salt in the Chorleywood Bread Process. It is not the Chorleywood Bread Process that “cannot cope with low salt levels”, it is the ’processing’ of dough that cannot cope with lower salt levels. This potential problem applies to all bread-making processes, even those used by in-store and craft bakeries. The plant baking industry, which mostly uses the Chorleywood Bread Process, has a particular problem in that it is the scale and speed of production that create issues requiring a potential change in the dough processing equipment. If the in-store or craft bakery had to produce 5,000 loaves an hour for 24 hours, then it would not be very long before they were crying out for new equipment to cope with the changes in dough quality.So that my letter is not seen as a ’blind’ defence of the plant baker I would like readers to note that as a trained and City & Guilds qualified baker, I work with all bread types and processes and all sizes of bakeries. Similarly, I am not blindly opposing reductions in salt intake; I never add discretionary salt and have not used salt in home cooking for the last 20 years.My greatest concern is to find a sensible solution for salt reduction that ensures that consumers continue to buy and enjoy eating bread – whatever process is used to make it!Stanley P. Cauvain, Director and VP, R&D activities, BakeTran
The Irish arm of the sandwich chain O’Briens has been bought out of liquidation by Impless, a newly formed subsidiary of Irish fast food group Abrakebabra Investments (AIL).The chain, which was put into examinership the equivalent to administration in the UK in July this year, was put into liquidation in early October, after attempts to sell the business failed. Paul McCann of Grant Thornton, the official liquidator, confirmed the trade and assets, including the brand of O’Brien’s Irish Sandwich Bars, had now been sold to Impless.The AIL Restaurant Group is owned in partnership by entrepreneur Graeme Beere and promoter Denis Desmond. In a statement, the pair said they had always respected O’Briens as a brand and were “delighted to put this well-known Irish brand back on a solid financial footing”.O’Briens comprised 85 franchised outlets in Ireland, but AIL would not confirm whether any stores had been closed.Commenting on the deal, Don Cahalane and Collette Moyles, franchisees from Cork, said: “We have invested heavily in the O’Briens brand and are delighted that this deal has gone through.”However, according to the Irish Times, it is believed that a number of franchisees are opposed to the arrangement and are considering legal action in an attempt to block it.The UK arm of the business, comprising 109 franchised outlets, was put into administration in August this year but its position is not affected by the deal in Ireland. A spokesperson for the firm confirmed that the business is still in adminis-tration, though “it is business as usual”.