Who says bagels have to be round? Sales of cereal bars have rocketed in recent years, as people grab a snack on the way to work.These fruit bagel bars could work in a similar way and contain an array of healthy ingredients, including fruit, seeds and nuts.Don’t forget to put these healthy inclusions on the label or ticket when you display them.Makes 110 barsFor the doughStrong white flour – 3.2kgBagel base – 160gShortening – 576gSugar – 147gInvert sugar – 128gFresh yeast – 120gWhole liquid egg – 512gWater – 1.3kgInclusionsRaisins – 1.152kgDiced dried apricots – 450gHoney pieces – 256gDried cranberries – 512gToasted sunflower seeds – 640gSesame seeds – 384gHulled millet – 384g Walnut pieces – 384gFrozen apple – 320gMethodMix the dough until well developed on a spiral mixer for three minutes fast and six minutes slow.Add all the inclusions, except the apple, and mix well.Add the apple and gently mithrough the dough. Cut into manageable pieces and rest for 20 minutes.Sheet out to about 15mm. Cut into desired shape to give a 90mm dough piece. Tray up and prove slowly or retard overnight.Egg wash before baking. Place in the oven at 225ºC with maximum steam for around 18 minutes.The steam helps to give the bars a chewy, bagel-like texture. Once baked, they can be frozen for up to six months, and then thaw and served.
The dairy sector has seen prices of raw ingredients rocket alongside all the other commodities, and the café and bakery retailing sector is no stranger to this. But aside from cost, what issues do bakery retailers and cafés face when it comes to the dairy products they use? Is it important to them to use locally sourced and/or organic products, and do customers care?Big-name branded café chains are increasingly going for organic milk to differentiate their offering. Formed in 1992, AMT Coffee, which currently has 45 outlets, decided to switch to using 100% organic milk in November 2005, partly on the back of its switch to 100% Fairtrade coffee, but mainly in response to comments via its customer feedback cards, asking why they weren’t doing organic milk. “We also noticed that using different milks was slowing down our speed of service,” says Daniel Buckland, buyer for AMT.Rise in costsThe move to organic has meant the price of the milk has gone up significantly, costing AMT approximately 20% more, but that hasn’t put it off. It was the first national coffee company to make the change to 100% organic milk, and now others are following in its footsteps. “Pret A Manger and Eat are now using organic milk as well,” says Buckland. If big names like that are doing so, it won’t be long before the trend increases. AMT also likes to keep its sourcing local, and has been down to the farm in Bedford where most of its milk supply comes from.The same is increasingly true of smaller operators, such as Bea’s of Bloomsbury in London, which sells artisan cakes and pastries as well as teas and coffees at its bakery café in Theobald’s Road. The business has a very strong environmental policy, sourcing locally as much as is feasible, and only sourcing from suppliers that use sea or road freight. Managing director, founder and head pastry chef Bea Vo says customers are becoming increasingly picky about the details, questioning whether milk used in products is organic. “A lot of people are asking about that now,” she says. “My biggest concern is that all the dairy products are locally sourced from the UK.”This is highlighted in the company philosophy, which features prominently on its website, and states a desire to make a difference in the world. However, Vo says, it isn’t always easy keeping track of whether products are of local origin, which is why her dairy produce is supplied by Allan Reeder, a family-run dairy goods firm, which specialises in supplying the restaurant, hotel, bakery and catering trade within the M25 area. The milk used is mostly organic, although she explains they use organic milk in their bakery products, but not in their drinks as she finds it doesn’t foam up properly.So, with this increasing interest in producing certified organic produce, does this signal a trend for organic milk? From July 1 this year, Arla Foods increased the payment to its organic co-operative members in Denmark and Sweden, in order to attract more organic producers. Arla is currently the world’s largest producer of organic milk and is intent on sourcing more. “We believe that interest in organic production will continue to grow both in Denmark and Sweden and abroad,” explains CEO Peder Tuborgh.Other businesses, such as Bettys Café Tea Rooms, which offers bakery treats across six locations in Yorkshire, serving an array of teas and coffees selected by its sister company, Taylors of Harrogate, alongside milkshakes and ice cream, says that while it offers organic, this doesn’t yet feature highly across its standard product range.Some of Bettys’ products, – mainly breads, in which it uses organic cheese for example – have been certified organic by the Soil Association, but it doesn’t offer organic milk in its teas and coffees, says Rhoda Bowers, technical manager of Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate Group, as customers haven’t expressed a strong interest in it, or asked about the type of milk used.As well as being less harmful to the environment, due to the lack of pesticide use, AMT believes organic milk is better for the cows and for us. Despite the fact that not all bakery and café retailers are jumping on the organic milk bandwagon, it is evident that some retailers are finding it can make a small differentiator on the menu.—-=== Mariano Semino’s top tips on making a great cappuccino ===Mariano Semino works at the Ca’puccino branch at Harrods, and has won the Italian championship in cappuccino-making.l First it is important to make sure the steamer is cleaned properly, so that milk never curdles in it, which will spoil the cappuccino.l The key to ensuring you are able to taste the milk and the coffee together in the cup is to keep a check on the milk’s temperature.l Baristas must check the temperature by keeping a hand on the jug during the steaming process, to make sure the temperature doesn’t go over 72?C, as overheated milk instantly loses its protein and tastel The milk must also be frothed up until it becomes creamy, as opposed to airy and thin. The core ability of the barista lies in allowing no air bubbles to form inside it, so that the milk doesn’t go flat within seconds.—-=== Every little bit helps ===With pressure on companies to reduce packaging and become more eco-friendly, what dairy products can you use in a café environment to make a small contribution to cutting packaging waste?One dairy innovation, created in response to storage and environmental issues is a new type of single serve milk portion. Dairystix, based in Plymouth, Devon, claims to have manufactured the world’s first ’milk in a stick’ portion for the foodservice market. “They have been developed in response to a perceived need for an alternative to the old plastic jigger pots,” says Andrew Gibb, marketing controller at Single Source, which co-owns Dairystix. Many single source products have evolved into single stick portions, and Dairystix has been developed in the same format, using milk from UK farms.Gibb explains the product produces 50% less waste going to landfill than standard jigger pots, as well as saving on transportation space. “Standard jiggers fit about 120 to a box, whereas Dairystix can be packed about 200 to a box, so its a 40% saving on space,” says Gibb.—-=== Cravendale’s guide to creating latte art ===The key to latte art is texturing your foamed milk, says Cravendale, which supplies filtered fresh milk.Texturingl To texture the milk, once the foam has grown and the milk has reached about 40?C, lower the steam wand into position on the jug’s side before tilting the jug to a 40? angle. This causes a whirlpool effect, and will break down any bubbles, creating a thick, smooth foam.l When the temperature of the milk reaches 60?C, turn off the steam. The temperature will then continue to rise to 65-70?C.l Next, tap the base of the jug on the counter. This will burst any large surface bubbles.l Then gently swirl the jug until the microfoam flows and appears thick and shiny, giving it a final swirl before each pour to stop the bubbles from sticking.Creating a leafl Tilt the jug and pour the crema with a wide wiggle starting from the cup centrel Draw towards yourself with smaller and smaller wigglesl Pour away from yourself in a straight line, to turn the wiggly shape into a leaf.
Coffee Republic chairman Peter Breach has promised to “forcefully address” the “disappointingly weak” performance of its company-owned coffee shops.Full-year results to 30 March 2008 show the company made a net loss of £2.5m (2007: £2.42m), in the first full year since Breach and chief executive Steven Bartlett took control of the business.While overall sales – covering both franchises and company-owned stores – grew by 9% during the year, sales at company-owned stores dived by 39.8% to £5.8m.“This has been a year of significant change with the brand now represented across the UK and in twelve countries overseas,” said Breach. “We are still in a turnaround period and our costs have continued to out-pace our income as we vigorously invest in the future of this global brand.”Over the past year, the number of Coffee Republic outlets has more than quadrupled to 193, with major growth coming from a doubling of franchise units to 53. CR now has 10 stores abroad, with roll-out commitments for 200 stores over the next five years. Bartlett, who has a substantial shareholding in the business, is stepping down as chief executive at CR’s AGM and will remain on Coffee Republic’s board as a non-executive director. Breach said: “I intend to propose his appointment as vice-chairman at that meeting.”The company said it was entering a phase of “consolidation and refinement”.
Dawn Foods has launched energy cookies to complement its range of energy-boosting products. The Mega Muesli and Jumbo or Mega Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies are available individually wrapped. The Muesli Cookie contains rolled oats, raisins, apricots and pumpkin seeds and is high in fibre. The Oatmeal and Raisin Cookie contains rolled oats and raisins and is also available as pucks for baking off on-site.According to Wim Ledaine, Dawn Foods’ trade marketing manager, Europe: “Out-of-home eating continues to increase and consumers look for great taste delivery and indulgence and a healthier option, particularly at certain times of day.”The 105g Mega Muesli and Mega Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies come in cases of 36, while the 53g Jumbo Oatmeal cookies come in cases of 54.Dawn has also launched two ’Improved Traditionals’ in its muffin range – its Apple Cinnamon Muffin and Blueberry Muffin.[http://www.dawnfoods.com]—-=== 60-second sales pitch ===== managing director, Rational UK ==== So, what’s new about the product? ==The Rational SelfCooking Center is the first combi that doesn’t need a water filter, never needs descaling and tells you when it needs to be cleaned. You just pop in the cleaning tabs – it then cleans itself.== Why is it so special? ==It will slash running costs, save space and help protect the environment.== Why should people buy it? ==For all the reasons above, plus the fact that it bakes and cooks everything just so. It will prove and is ideal for bake-off. All you have to do is push the relevant button for bread, cakes, pies, pizzas and so on.== So, explain the techie stuff ==The CareControl system monitors what’s being cooked and for how long, telling staff to run the cleaning programme when required. At that point, the operator simply places biodegradable tablets (’care tabs’) into the unit’s drawer, puts detergent tablets into the basket in the cooking cabinet and pushes the button – the Rational then cleans itself.The technology determines what level of cleaning is required. For example, if the machine has been used for baking bread, it will require less cleaning than if it’s been roasting chicken. This saves time and effort and means running costs are reduced.== Bottom line, what’s the product worth? ==It will save hundreds of pounds a year in running costs. And the way the SelfCooking Center bakes means results are always consistent.
Major sandwich shops and coffee chains have announced commitments to produce ’healthier’ products as part of a wider project by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) targeting food outlets.Caffè Nero, Greggs, Costa Coffee, Starbucks, Eat, Pret A Manger and BB’s Coffee & Muffins have published commitments, ranging from reducing the level of salt and fat in their products, to providing additional nutritional information.The FSA has specifically looked at targeting the larger sandwich and coffee chains, as they have a wide consumer reach, but is encouraging other businesses selling baked goods and sandwiches to work with them, said an FSA spokesperson.Starbucks has said it has already identified 10 products on which it believes it could further reduce the level of saturated fat, calories or salt, and recipe reformulation is under way. Caffè Nero is to look at the saturated fat in its wedge sandwiches, as well as the portion size of its more indulgent items such as cakes, while Pret has said it will look at the performance of its smaller portion sizes to see if it can be rolled out to additional lines.
The first ever British Pie Awards took place at St Mary’s Church, Melton Mowbray, Leicester this week.There were 277 hot pies and 234 cold entered – a grand total of 511 pies across 12 categories. These included Steak and Kidney, Cornish Pasty, Football Pie, Vegetarian, plus the famous Melton Mowbray Pork Pie, which was judged jointly by Ian Clarke, a Quality Guild butcher and Sylvia Macdonald editor of British Baker.Champion of Champions was won by Walker’s Charnwood Bakery of Leicester with its hand-raised Sainsbury’s Melton Mowbray Pork Pie. Other winners included Dickinson & Morris of Leicester, which won both Pork Pie and Game Pie classes, and Stuart’s of Buckhaven, which won British Apple Pie.
At the Federation of Bakers conference last week, John Cridland, deputy director general of the CBI, told the 100 delegates: “We predict 0.1% growth for the British economy next year, not 1.25% like the government.”He highlighted the main problem areas for businesses as being trade credit insurance to cover the supply of goods to customers and the fact that investment has been scaled back by about 9%. He said: “Globally this is the most uncertain economy in decades, and there is still a long way to go. But the British government needs to get its act together.”Cridland’s remedies were that the government should tackle public debt and issue a coherent plan. “It needs to show how it will tackle public sector pay and pensions. It must also remedy the fact that credit flow to business is still not getting through in many cases.”And he highlighted some successes achieved by the CBI, including the 48-hour working week opt-out, and pointed out that over 50% of our regulations come from Brussels. The CBI is non-party political.
Family pie firm Chappell’s Fine Foods has revealed ambitious expansion plans following its sale to food industry expert Ian Nicholls.Based in Wigston, Leicestershire, the company was founded by David Chappell in 1972 and supplies butchers, delis and retailers with pies and pasties, including its Forryans Melton Mowbray Pork Pie.Nicholls, who has previously worked for Associated British Foods and RHM, said he plans to quadruple turnover from approximately £750,000 to £3m in the next few years and double the 14-strong workforce at Chappell’s factory in Wigston’s Chartwell Industrial Estate.He took over in mid-May, when a replacement was needed to run the business, after the founder suffered a stroke a couple of years ago.”Our first objective is to double the turnover this year,” explained Nicholls. It will be done through a focus on the marketing of the company’s range of products, including servicing existing customers, winning new customers and new product development for new and existing customers, he said.”One thing we’ve not done much of is distributing pies as raw-frozen, which could be a good opportunity for growth, as the company has traditionally been distributing its products baked and chilled.”Nicholls also plans to take full advantage of Melton Mow-bray Pork Pie’s recently acquired protected geographical indication status (PGI).
Irish coffee shop chain Insomnia says recession-busting deals linking coffee and baked goods are driving sales, with over half its business now coming from promotions. It plans to continue the tactic throughout 2009.The Dublin-based 52-shop chain has run a series of successful discounts and ’meal deals’ since the onset of the recession, with promotional activity now accounting for 55% of sales and helping to drive up footfall by 5%, according to CEO Bobby Kerr.”Our muffin and a coffee promotion for E3 (£2.57) saw us selling 20,000 muffins a week and we’re planning to introduce a new cinnamon bun at the discounted price of E1.50 (£1.29),” he told British Baker. Other successful promotions include any scone or pastry with a coffee for E3.50 (£3) and any sandwich with a coffee for E5 (£4.29). “We were first out of the block with these kinds of deals in September and they have become so successful that the difficulty will be in dropping them,” said Kerr.Insomnia outsourced sandwich production in January to Newry-based firm Around Noon. Sweet bakery comes from Dublin-based Soul Food and Cuisine de France. The company, which turned over E12.1m (£10.4m) in 2008 and employs 190 people, plans to open another two high street shops this year and has managed to renegotiate an average rent reduction of 15% across 20 of its 32 leases.It also aims to extend its tie-up with Spar, opening five more barista-led franchise operations to make a total of 25 and adding a further 20 self-serve bean-to-cup machines to Spar stores by the year-end. Around 70 Spar stores already have the machines.
When consumers buy lunch from a high-street bakery or sandwich shop, how many of them buy a drink and a snack to go alongside a pasty or roll? OK, an exact figure isn’t available, but it’s a lot. Looking to other retailers that have considerable success with the lunchtime trade, bakers might think about taking a leaf out of their book. Boots, for example, is known for its meal deals, offering a sandwich/salad with a drink and snack – such as crisps, bags of nuts or dried fruit, cereal bars or chocolate – for £2.99; and Boots is a chemist!MD of Salty Dog Crisps Dave Willis agrees it is important for bakery retailers to stock a wide range of crisps and snacks. “So many people buy drinks, sandwiches and crisps for their lunch, that if bakers don’t sell these items, they could even miss out on the whole sale, as consumers may go elsewhere,” explains Willis. “They’re very much a staple of the British lunchtime diet.”Salty nicheEstablished in 2002, Salty Dog supplies a range of crisps, vegetable crisps and nuts to the UK independent food sector, including a number of bakeries and the sandwich chain EAT, as well as into wholesale. “Our crisps are not sold in major supermarkets, which is a policy decision we made. The great thing about that is that bakers’ customers aren’t seeing the same crisps on the shelves of supermarkets at a cheaper price,” explains Willis. “It makes them more of a niche product, meaning that more margin can be made. Also, if customers like them, it gives them more of a reason to return.” He says a large number of retailers that have started stocking the crisps have reported sales shooting up. The 10-strong range includes Sea Salt, Sweet Chilli, Strong Cheddar and Onion, Horseradish and Sourcream and a new flavour, Black Pepper and Ginger, launched this month.In terms of what’s hot and what’s not, a report published by Mintel in March this year revealed that cheese and onion has now taken the top spot for the nation’s favourite flavour, knocking ready salted into second place.The market for cheese and onion crisps is currently worth around £256m, says Mintel, with sales up 15% in the last two years. Other popular flavours are salt and vinegar and prawn cocktail. “Despite the ongoing development of new and exciting flavours, the traditional favourites still win hands-down,” says senior market analyst Emmanuelle Bouvier.United Biscuits commercial manager Nick Stuart. says the growing UK bagged snacks market provides plenty of sales and profit opportunities for bakery retailers. “A carefully planned range of snacks provides the consumer with convenience and pleasure and can produce incremental sales and profits from impulse purchases.”Adding: “Customers who are buying a sausage roll or Cornish pasty for their lunch might also want to complete their meal with a soft drink or a packet of crisps, so retailers should have a range of products to meet this demand.”Brakes’ product knowledge manager Sally Sturley says snacking now accounts for 28% of all food consumption in the UK, with the combined crisps, snacks and nuts market worth £1.99bn per year.”As customers have less disposable income, and are increasingly time-poor, having a grab-and-go snack menu alongside a full food offering is a good way of generating extra income from impulse purchases,” says Sturley.Healthier optionsWith so much hype around healthy eating, it’s no wonder that many companies are now offering healthier snacking options as an alternative to crisps. For example, alongside its bags of tortilla chips and crisps, Brakes now offers snack-size bags of dried fruit and nuts. Options include Totally Apricots, Jumbo Raisins and Sultanas and Fruit and Toasted Seed Mix. Another range of snacks looking to tackle the healthy eating snack market is Ryvita Minis. Launched back in 2004, the high-fibre snacks are now worth around £6.3m.Tapping into a slightly different market, fruit snacks supplier Whitworths has just launched a range of 45g fruit, nut and chocolate snack bags, called Nibl, aiming to combine the health and indulgence trends. Senior product manager Esther Laycock-Smith says: “The growth in demand for healthier snacks has been well documented, but less prominence has been given to the fact that many adults do not want to compromise on taste.”Crisps and snacks are an integral part of a bakery’s offering and shouldn’t just be viewed as shelf-fillers. They can be promoted as part of a meal deal and, by stocking a range that’s a little bit different, can draw new customers in and increase your profit margins.