Food safety qualifications specifically for food and drink manufacturing have been launched by the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health (RSPH).The new qualifications are based on the new Food Safety Occupational Standards, developed by skills sector council Improve.Derek Williams, development director of Improve, said: “Existing food safety qualifications were tailored towards the catering and service industries and didn’t meet manufacturing needs.”Although they are stand-alone qualifications they could contribute to food safety modules of qualifications such as NVQs and SVQs, said Williams.The RSPH qualifications are to be followed by accreditation for versions offered by six other organisations – ASET, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, City & Guilds, Food and Drink Qualifications, the Royal Institute of Public Health and the Scottish Qualification Authority.
A fire that destroyed part of United Central Bakeries’ (UCB) West Lothian factory last week is believed to have started in a naan oven.Police forensic teams are still investigating the blaze, which broke out at the Whitehill Industrial Estate during the night-shift. Eye-witnesses said that a clump of bread caught alight in the oven and this then ignited a spiral cording system.No-one was hurt and Dave Brooks, chairman of factory owner, Finsbury Food Group, said there was no reason to think it was anything other than an accident.The factory produces naans, bread, potato scones and gluten-free products for supermarkets. Brooks said he hoped everything would be outsourced by this week. Some of the group’s subsidiaries are helping while four local suppliers are lending equipment.”The gluten-free producing part of the factory wasn’t damaged and just needs cleaning up. We hope to have it up and running in the next couple of weeks,” said Brooks.”About 40% of the factory will have to be demolished and rebuilt, and it will be months before we will be fully operational. Staff have been supportive and some of them have been deployed to other factories. No-one is out of work.”.Finsbury Food Group owns Memory Lane Cakes, baker Nicolas & Harris, as well as California Cake and Campbells in Scotland.
(Ely, Cambridgeshire), a supplier of plastic food packaging, is introducing a co-ordinated range of food containers made from PLA (polylactive acid), an environmentally-friendly material.Now available in PLA are three new salad bowls with lids in its popular Twisty range (250cc, 375cc and 500cc), as well as a Single Tortilla and Twin Tortilla pack. These products add to the PLA sandwich wedge, launched a few months ago.Steve Campbell, Anson’s business manager standards, says: “Since we launched the PLA sandwich wedge, we have been inundated with requests from customers to produce more biodegradable packs.”
Good Bread is Back- a contemporary history of French breadSteven Laurence KaplanAmerican historian Steven Kaplan traces the French bread-baking tradition, from the 18th Century right through industrialisation of the breadmaking process to the craft bakery revival of the 1990s, which was spurred on by government intervention.Kaplan also offers a personal account of how to assess the quality of French bread from the ideal crust and crumb, to mouth feel and aroma.
Alan Hempton, managing director of Allied Bakeries Ireland (ABI), has retired after 45 years in the trade. He joined the business as a 16-year-old apprentice engineer in 1964 and was named Apprentice of the Year in 1966 and 1967. He was appointed general manager in 1979 and went on to become managing director in 1987. During his time as MD, ABI began exporting to the Republic of Ireland in ‘91 and to Great Britain in ‘98. Exports now account for around 30% of the bakery’s total output. Hempton also notes the success of Kingsmill as one of his career highlights.Hempton has also held a number of other positions throughout his career, including president of the Irish Association of Master Bakers and, on four separate occasions, chairman of the Northern Ireland Bakery Council.He has also been Chairman of the Irish Bakers’ Benevolent Society (IBBS) and remains a member of the board. George Weston, chief executive of parent company Associated British Foods, said: “He has been a great leader in the industry for many years and we wish him many happy years in his retirement.”An announcement on the new managing director is expected later in February.
Jo Fairley is co-owner of Judges organic bakery and grocery in Hastings and co-founded Green & Black’s chocolate firm with hubby Craig SamsAs yet, not that much bread is sold over the internet – although Ocado was recently so successful with the launch of fresh bread that, within weeks, it was trumpeting that it had doubled the size of the range.But what we have found at Judges Bakery – even though we don’t mail-order our bread – is that an internet presence is crucial. Today, it is a vital ’shop window’ for bakeries – especially as so many ’bread-heads’ spend time on the internet, trawling for information about ’real bread’, or ’slow bread’. Both searches have brought bread-lovers to our doors from far away, and the same is almost certainly true for other artisan bakeries up and down the country.Plus, having an e-mail database is the quickest way – and far more targeted than any form of advertising – to update your customers with news about products. It’s also useful for rallying the troops! We’ve used the internet to encourage our customers, both close and further afield, to vote for us in various competitions, as well as to draw them to the store for promotions etc.Winning any kind of contest gives the possibility of a real PR boost for a bakery – and with smaller bakeries fighting the might of the multiple retailers, who have squillions to throw at ad campaigns, every little triumph is worth trumpeting.Having a website, for instance, enabled our little bakery to scoop the coveted ’Sweetest Thing’ accolade for ’Best Bite’, awarded by [http://www.dailycandy.com] – which, for those of you who don’t know, is a website that gives the lowdown on all that’s hip ’n’ happening, e-mailed to subscribers in daily, bite-sized nuggets.Subscribers to the website were invited to vote for their favourites. Judges Bakery’s organic pink meringue pigs were pictured alongside a rave about our bread, with a link to our website. Without a web presence, we wouldn’t have been listed. When we were shortlisted for the award, we e-mailed everyone we could think of to get them to support us. They did their bit, and we duly walked off with an (appropriately pink) rosette, for first place.Even if you’re not using the web for that sort of campaign, more and more it’s how customers find out about products. It’s sad but true that we now probably spend far more time each day surfing the internet, rather than mosey-ing down our local high street and ’window-shopping’ there. What’s more, it’s not a trend that’s likely to reverse any time soon – if ever.So… are your loaves visible in cyberspace, where you can tell their story? In 2009, they need to be. Or just sit back and watch Ocado grab those sales.
Kerrs Bakery is celebrating its tenth anniversary by opening a new £1m factory in Motherwell, with annual turnover predicted to reach more than £2m this year. The wholesale business – one of the main producers of Caramel Cake in Scotland – manufactures a wide range of long-life handmade cakes, as well as short-life cakes with a 12-14-day shelf life.The new factory is three times the size of the old one and Kerrs expect to hire an additional 13 staff, to join its existing team of 20, before the summer. Founder Karen Murray opened a small shop in Armadale, West Lothian, 10 years ago with start-up help from the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust, to make caramel cake. Products are distributed directly to small grocers, coffee shops, delicatessens and supermarkets, mainly in Scotland, and Murray has plans to expand the retail supply. “We have done some small orders for Scottish supermarkets and would like to develop that this year,” she said.
Aryzta has announced a healthy performance in its half-year results. Adjusted profit rose by 14.6% within its food division with underlying revenue increasing 6% for the six months to 31 January 2009. The global specialist bakery company saw operating profit grow 11% to E64m in its Food Europe division, which includes the Delice de France, Cuisine de France and Heistand brands. Operating profit was up 25.9% to E34.3m in its Food North America division, which includes the La Brea Bakery and Otis Spunkmeyer brands, and up 50.9% to E0.9m in its Food Developing Market division.Chief executive officer Owen Killian said that the business had “displayed excellent defensive characteristics in the current challenging economic climate”, adding that it remains focused on cash and continued earnings growth.Aryzta also confirmed that its Grangecastle bakery, distribution and R&D centre in Dublin are fully commissioned and on budget. According the statement released it “offers an opportunity to develop the UK/Irish business into new channels, such as the multiple retail channel in the UK”. Aryzta formed in August last year through the merger of Irish company IAWS and Swiss Bakery firm Hiestand.
Premier Foods’ half-year results show that sales of Hovis were up 17% and market share has increased to 26.3% – its highest level in two years, said the firm.But Premier’s Hovis division, which comprises its baking, milling and frozen pizza base operations, saw turnover drop to £372.4m, (from £384.7m in first year half 2008), although trading profit increased 18.7% to £14.6m (first year half 2008: £12.3m).The figures for the six months to 27 June 2009 show sales in its baking operations were up 4.9%, “driven by a 12.4% increase in sales of branded bread, partly offset by lower sales of own-label bread and morning goods”.Its milling operations saw sales fall 20.7%, which Premier puts “primarily” down to the exit from a low-margin flour contract in the latter part of 2008. Chief executive Robert Schofield commented: “Now that we have substantially completed the integration of RHM and Campbell’s and successfully refinanced the group, we have been able to embark on targeted investment behind our key market-leading brands.” He added that he was pleased with the group’s progress and delighted by the continued success of Hovis.Group turnover was up 3.5% to £1,248.2m, but operating profit stood at £26.8m, down from £46.2m in the first half of 2008. The firm made a loss before tax of £30m, compared to profit of £2m in first year half 2008.This was due to one-off costs, including pension charges plus costs related to its acquisition of RHM and Campbell’s UK business. Premier reduced its net debt to £1,475m (June 2008: £1,806m).
It was a gruelling day of judging, resulting in a near-heart-stopping overdose of buttercream for our panel of experts. But the votes have been cast and we are delighted to announce Herts-based Mama’s Cupcakes the supreme champion of National Cupcake Week’s first ever Cupcake-off.Our top panel of judges, including esteemed bakery writer and consultant Dan Lepard, cake specialist and author Mich Turner and British Baker columnist and co-author of Leith’s Baking Bible Fiona Burrell, awarded it to Mama’s, who came up with a timely retro-kitsch creation – a Black Forest Gateau cake.Twelve shortlisted finalists were invited to bring their cakes along to be judged on appearance, texture, topping, taste and overall balance at sponsor Puratos’ new Innovations Centre in Fringford. Puratos’ technical expert Philip Bainbridge said: “All the 12 finalists have done really well. My favourite was the Black Forest Gateau – when you ate it all the flavours and textures went well together.”Co-sponsor Chevler’s sales director Mike Wescomb added: “There has been a lot of work and innovative ideas put into the cakes. But the one I liked most was the Black Forest, because it’s a grown-up cupcake.”The cupcake champion wins two tickets to this year’s Baking Industry Awards and all winners will receive a year’s supply of cupcake cases from Chevler and a copy of Mich Turner’s book, Fantastic Party Cakes. A special thanks goes out for the great response and high-quality entries. Everyone who didn’t make the shortlist should not be disappointed and we urge you to try again next year.National Cupcake Week is now calling on all bakers in all sectors to bake a different cupcake for each day of the week, Monday to Saturday (bakers put their feet up on a Sunday – in theory!). Use the winning recipe ideas as inspiration, or go crazy with your own creations.l Note: quantities appear as submitted by entrants—-=== Moreish Monday ===Winner: ’Eat Your Greens’ by Country Cupcakes; www.countrycupcakes.comCake: 2kg caster sugar * 4kg soft brown sugar * 2.4kg salted butter * 2.5ltrs sunflower oil * 60 free-range eggs * 2.6ltrs full-fat milk * 750g cocoa powder * 7kg plain flour * 130g baking powder * 9kg finely grated courgettes, peeled * 120ml Madagascan vanilla extractTopping: 1.3ltrs fresh double cream * 1.4kg good quality dark chocolate, chopped finely * pretty fondant decorationsMakes 120: Beat butter, oil and sugars together for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. While mixture is still beating, slowly add eggs. Add milk, mix until smooth * Sift flour, baking powder and cocoa into the mixture and fold in. Fold in courgettes and vanilla. Once well-mixed, pipe into cases to 2/3 full * Bake on 190?C for 20 minutes * For ganache topping, heat double cream to just before boiling point; take off the heat; pour in the chocolate, but don’t stir yet; leave to cool, then stir until all chunks have gone. Leave to firm up to a pipeable consistency * Take the cooled buns, using a large star nib, pipe the ganache on to the cupcakes * Finish off with a fondant decoration.Fiona (left): I thought this looked spectacular and the courgette was a good idea.Dan: It’s a really, really bright, simple idea.Mich: Because there’s a high proportion of topping, you could introduce different flavours with the chocolate. They’ve gone with the green flower, so you could do a mint chocolate or other flavoured chocolate with that.—-=== Tantalising Tuesday ===Winner: ’Summertime Fizz Cupcake’ by The Cupcake Girl; www.thecupcakegirl.co.ukCake: 2 large free range eggs * 125g caster sugar * 125g soft butter * 125g self-raising flour * 1tsp vanilla essenceTopping/filling: 200g chopped strawberries * Squeeze of lemon * 2tsp caster sugar * 100ml ChampagneMakes 10For the cake: cream butter and sugar, gradually add beaten eggs and vanilla * Sieve self-raising flour and gently fold into mix * half-fill cup cases * Bake for 15 minutes at 180?C until golden * To make strawberry & Champagne compôte: heat strawberries, lemon juice and sugar in a frying pan, add Champagne and reduce by half then leave to cool * Inject some compôte into the middle of each cupcake, then pipe on top and decorate with half a fresh strawberry.Fiona: The compôte in the middle was something different and it looked beautiful, nicely finished. But I think it could be even better with slightly less topping.Dan (left): Once a cupcake is finished, sometimes you think all that’s left is to decorate. What they’ve done here is scooped a bit out and put a compote inside. This is something you could do with plums, apricots or whizz up some tinned fruits in a blender and make up a really good compôte.—-=== Whipped-up Wednesday ===Winner: ’The White Rabbit’ by Fantasy Cupcakes; www.fantasycupcakes.co.ukCakes: 560ml Vegetable oil * 8 medium eggs * 800g soft brown sugar * 1.2kg finely grated carrot * 400g raisins * 300g roughly chopped walnuts * 720g self-raising flour * 2tsp bicarbonate of soda * ¼tsp of salt * 4tsp cinnamon * 2tsp nutmeg * 2tsp mixed spiceTopping: 500g unsalted butter (room temp) * 1kg icing sugar * Approx 100ml milk * 1 generous tbsp Nielsen-Massey Vanilla ExtractMakes 64: Beat together oil, eggs, sugar, carrot, raisins, and nuts * Sift in dry ingredients and fold setting until just combined * Fill muffin cases to ¾ * Bake for about 30 minutes at 170?C * For topping, beat butter until soft * Add half the icing sugar a bit at a time until well-mixed * Add half the milk and the vanilla extract and mix in rest of icing sugar * Add the remaining milk until the desired consistency of buttercream is achieved * Beat for a further three minutes * Pipe generously onto cakes with a plain nozzle * Decorate with hand-cut sugar hearts painted with edible gold lustre.Fiona: I like the carrot cake, which was quite moist, less so the appearance.Dan: They’ve taken a gorgeous carrot cake and turned it into a cupcake, which is great. Make ’favourite cake’ cupcakes. Find out what favourites your customers have and make that into a cupcake.Mich: It would be lovely to introduce some of the fresh zested flavours, like a fresh orange zest, into the buttercream so you’ve got a real blend, and counter that with a nice syrup underneath so you have a zesty flavour through it.—-=== Thrilling Thursday ===Winner: ’Crazy Lemon Drizzle Cupcake’ by Crazy Baker; www.crazybaker.co.ukCake: 125g unsalted butter * 175g caster sugar * Zest of 2 lemons * 2 eggs * 175g self-raising flour * 2 to 3tbsp milkTopping pt.1: Juice of 2 lemons * 3tbsp icing sugarTopping pt.2: 250g butter * Juice and zest of 2 lemons * 300g icing sugar * Gold decorationsMakes 12: Cream butter and sugar until white and fluffy, beat in eggs one at a time * Fold in flour with milk very gently * Fill cases ¾ full * Bake at 180?C for 8 to 10 minutes * Mix lemon juice and icing sugar together and drizzle over cakes; allow to cool * Mix the butter, icing sugar, zest and juice of lemons to make icing and pipe over cool cakes or spread using a knife * Apply decorationsFiona: The appearance was not so great, but the flavour of the lemon syrup on top gave a good flavour all through it. It was absolutely lovely. The only mistake is that they didn’t think hard enough about how they appeared and the wow factor – you need to get the balance between that and going over the top.Dan: Sometimes, bakers get scared about using fresh ingredients; using things like lemon zest can zip up a very simple cake. Also, using a syrup over the top of the cake is something that bakers can take from this.Mich: As Dan said, when working commercially, people tend to use ready-zested lemons, but if you zest them fresh, you can’t beat it. That’s what will encourage people to come back and buy this one again and again.—-=== Fulfilling Friday ===Winner: ’Very Vanilla’ by Pat-a-cupcake; www.patacupcake.co.ukCake: 440g self-raising flour, sifted * 440g caster sugar, sifted * 440g unsalted butter * 4tsp baking powder * 8 large free-range eggs * 4tsp Nielsen-Massey Vanilla extractTopping: 600g icing sugar sifted * 500g unsalted butter * 15ml Nielsen-Massey Vanilla extract * 100g melted Green & Black’s white organic chocolateMakes 40: Mix all cake ingredients until light and fluffy * Fill large cupcake cases with heaped tablespoons of the mixture and bake for 20 minutes at 160?C * For icing, place mix sifted icing sugar, butter and vanilla extract really well until light in colour; fully melt the chocolate and to the buttercream icing mixture and mix well.Fiona: This had really nice colours, with a very sophisticated look.Dan: It’s lovely when you pair the experience with the name – it’s called Very Vanilla and that’s exactly what it is. I also like the delicate, pale colours.Mich (left): What I loved about this was that it used really good, Fairtrade, organic Green & Black’s white chocolate. You can see the vanilla pods have been used and the flavours were very pure.—-=== Supreme Saturday ===Winner: ’Black Forest Cupcake’ by Mama’s Cupcakes; www.mamas-cupcakes.co.ukCake: 100g dark chocolate * 150g butter * 150g caster sugar * 3 eggs * 150g self-raising flour (mixed with 1 tbsp cocoa) * 2 tbsp ground almonds * 50g glacé cherriesTopping pt.1: 75g butter * 150g icing sugar * 2tbsp cocoa * 1tbsp kirsch * 50g dark chocolate (melted)Topping pt.2: 12tsp kirsch * Black cherry preserve * Half pint double cream * 12 liqueur cherries * Chocolate shavings * Optional edible glitterMakes 12: Melt chocolate * Beat sugar and butter until pale and fluffy * Add eggs one at a time, beating well * Beat in melted chocolate and stir in ground almonds * Sift flour and cocoa and fold in the glacé cherries * Spoon into large cases and bake for 20 mins at 180C * To decorate, spoon over a tsp of kirsch on each cupcake * Beat the butter, icing sugar, 1 tbsp kirsch and cocoa until well combined and soft * Fold in melted chocolate * Pipe an outer circle on each cupcake * Fill the centre of the circle with black cherry preserve * Whip double cream until stiff * Pipe a swirl on each cake, covering and sealing in the jam * Top with a liqueur cherry and chocolate shavings and edible glitterFiona: This was chosen because of the look of it. You cut it open and there is a surprise, with very moist cherries.Dan: One good thing about this is you can make it as expensively or cheaply as you like. You could fill it with Valrhona or use brandied cherries on top or use Cadbury’s and a budget cherry and still get a lot of fun out of it.Fiona: I agree. When you cut into it you’ve got that Morello cherry inside, which is a really lovely, lush, rich cherry. The only thing I would change would be to substitute the red glâcé cherry for a nice Morello cherry with a stalk.