When customers have that craving for bacon, nothing else will satisfy. But being French, when I was an apprentice in the bakery my cravings would be for a croque monsieur, made with lardons (our equivalent of bacon) and béchamel sauce.We make an imitation by folding some bacon and béchamel into a piece of sweet dough and letting it prove, then baking it – wonderful!Make sure you tell your customers when you introduce it, and put up a brief counter-top description.The bacon slice can be made with croissant dough or puff pastry. Even a good bread dough will make a great snack.The quality of the ingredients will show in the finished product so you should always use the best.Makes 50-60 slicesSweet doughMilk – 750gYeast – 45gStrong flour – 1.5kgButter – 180gSugar – 120gSalt – 30gEggs (medium) – 6FillingBéchamel sauce – 800ml (ingredients and method below)Bacon – 50-60 slices (dry-cured organic bacon is best)Eggs (medium) – 4 (beaten with a pinch of salt for an egg wash)Grated Gruyere or Emmental cheese – 400gFor the béchamel sauceMelt 100g unsalted butter over a medium heat in a heavy-bottomed pan.When it has melted and is bubbling gently, add 80g plain flour and whisk briskly off the heat until all the butter has been absorbed and you have a putty-like paste that comes cleanly away from the pan.Add 600ml full-fat milk, a little at a time, whisking continuously to ensure that no lumps form.Once all the milk has been added and you have a smooth sauce, cook over a low to medium heat until it starts to bubble.Cook for one more minute. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and a little ground nutmeg to taste.Leave to cool.For a richer sauce you can add 50g grated cheese, Cheddar or Gruyere work well, to the sauce while it is over the heat – make sure it melts completely.For the sliceMix the sweet dough ingredients in a spiral mixer on slow speed for four minutes and fast for six to eight minutes.Rest for a minimum of one hour or for even better results in the fridge overnight.Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a ball.Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 5mm then cut it into 12cm squares.Spoon a tablespoon of béchamel in the centre of a square and then fold two opposite corners to meet in the middle.Place a slice of bacon on top and then lift the whole slice onto a baking tray. Repeat with the other slices.Place in a prover or cover with greaseproof paper and then a tea towel and prove for 45 minutes.Glaze the exposed dough with the egg wash.Sprinkle some of the cheese on top. Turn the preheated oven down to 200°C and bake them for about 15 minutes until they are a deep golden colour.
Flour cost rises of over 25% will result in a 10% increase in bread prices in the Republic of Ireland (approximately 10-17 cents loaf), according to the Irish Bread Bakers Association (IBBA), which represents the major plant bakeries in Ireland.Grain and flour prices have increased by E20-30 per tonne and gas by 30% as have other costs, says IBBA.Paul Kelly, director of Food and Drink Industry Ireland (the parent body of IBBA) told British Baker: “Our input costs have gone up significantly. The intensely competitive nature of the marketplace has caused a number of big bakeries to either rationalise or close during the last two years, such as Nevilles in Macroom, Irish Pride in Kanturk and Old Mill in Dublin with the loss of a couple of hundred jobs.”He added: “It is simply not possible to absorb such a huge increase in raw material costs. It is not sustainable and hopefully retailers will adopt a realistic attitude to this issue.”But the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) argues that there is no justification for the price rise. It said that a 25% rise in wheat prices should translate into an increase of 2.3 cents per loaf and that the average price of a standard white loaf has risen by 11% from E1 in 2001 to E1.11 by November 2006.While refusing to comment on what farmers are paid for wheat, IBBA disputes IFA’s assertion that a 10% price increase is not justified.Currently, bread prices in Ireland range from E1-1.70 for branded products and own label E0.50-1.00.
Baking ’front-of-house’ is increasingly popular for all sorts of products, especially for baking bread.Rational (Luton, Bedfordshire) offers the SelfCooking Center that can cook and bake pies, quiches, bread, rolls and cakes. It is adaptable for any food preparation, such as roasting, poaching, toasting, baking, baking-off, drying or regenerating. It features an AeroCat, to control cooking fumes, and UltraVent, which handles steam and vapour.
n The Scottish-based Baguette Express sandwich bar has opened its first English outlet in Halifax, taking its number of outlets to 16. Billy Stenhouse, and his brother, Robin, launched the Baguette Express franchise last year. It plans to opens its second English sandwich bar in Carlisle, Cumbria, and predicts having a total of 30 sandwich bars throughout the UK by the end of the year.n O’Briens Sandwich Bars has opened its latest Scottish store, a 104-seater circular mall café at the new £40 million Antonine Shopping Centre in Cumbernauld. This is the 43rd outlet for the brand in Scotland and the first of four new stores planned to open by autumn this year throughout Ayrshire.n Foodservice supplier Brakes is upping its Corporate Social Responsibility activity, with a set of environmental and social programmes. Brakes, which is a leading supplier to caterers in the UK and France, has launched a new brochure and web-based CSR area to highlight the importance of the community and environment.n Website [http://www.bakersfair.co.uk] is now live, for registration for free tickets to the Bakers’ Fair. The regional roadshow will be held at Bolton Arena on 14 October, with the Richemont Club holding its annual competitions at the event.The William Reed-organised fair aims to inspire the progressive and professional independent baker in the north-west region.n Paul, the French family bakery and patisserie, has set up shop in Shanghai. With 330 top bakeries and pastry-makers across France, the firm also has 16 sites in and around London, including a flagship store in Covent Garden.
Farmhouse Fare is to launch its first-ever range of twin packs. The Lancashire-based company is seeking to widen its appeal beyond family-sized desserts and has brought out a range of 120g x 2 individual portion puddings including: luxury sticky chocolate and orange pudding, sticky carrot cake pudding and luxury sticky banoffee toffee pudding, as well as organic varieties – luxury sticky toffee pudding and sticky chocolate pudding.”The new range will strengthen our reputation as the producer of the finest handmade puddings in the UK and will introduce our puddings to a completely new market,” said Farmhouse Fare founder Helen Colley.The company will also launch a number of new family-sized puddings to include: Bread and Butter (500g), Cherry and Chocolate Crumble (450g), Triple Chocolate Truffle Bread and Butter (500g) and Hot Jaffa Cake (500g).[http://www.farmhousefare.co.uk]
== ADM in German buy ==ADM has signed an agreement to purchase German company Schokinag, which will see it expand its chocolate and cocoa business in Europe. Schokinag produces chocolate couvertures, cocoa powder and cocoa butter. Scott Walker, managing director, ADM Cocoa International, said it will help them better serve the growing market and “realise significant efficiencies in sourcing, operations and transportation”.== ABF’s solid progress ==Associated British Food’s (ABF) yeast and bakery ingredients business is continuing to trade well, seeing higher volumes and improved pricing, according to its statement for the 16 weeks to 3 January 2009. Allied Bakeries “has continued to perform well with an improvement in profit,” said the firm. Its grocery division’s revenue rose 21%.== Finsbury’s sales rise ==Finsbury Food Group has seen group revenue rise by 12%, according to its latest trading update. However, it predicts operating margins will be 1-2% lower than last year. In its largest division, the bakery firm has seen cake sales increase by 4% in absolute terms, but like-for-like growth has been “flat”. Sales in its smaller bread and free-from divisions saw like-for-like growth of 16% and 23% respectively.== Glisten is satisfied ==Snack and confectionery food-group Glisten has announced it has “traded satisfactorily” for the six months ended 31 December 2008. It reported sales in the run-up to Christmas for confectionery and savoury baked snacks were slower than expected. However, its Lyme Regis business (organic and protein-based snack bars) and Nimbus (bakery inclusions) performed solidly in the six-month period.
A new website has been launched for this year’s National Doughnut Week, which offers bakers the chance to increase profits and raise money for charity from the sale of doughnuts. Running from 9-16 May, the week, sponsored by BakeMark, raises money for the charity The Children’s Trust, which provides care and therapy for children with multiple disabilities. For every doughnut sold, money is donated to The Trust, and to celebrate the charity’s 25th year, the target is hoping to raise more than £50,000.Bakers can now register on the website www.nationaldoughnutweek.org, where they can find tips on getting started and ideas to raise money. All those who register will receive posters, balloons, collection boxes and PR support.Those who register by 3 April will also receive a complimentary bag of either Craigmillar Doughnut Concentrate or a box of Readi-Bake Topped Ring Doughnuts from BakeMark.“The monies raised help a really worthwhile cause – and with The Children’s Trust celebrating its silver anniversary this year, there will be quite a bit of media interest in the event, all of which should help drive sales for bakers throughout the UK,” commented Lisa Boswell, marketing manager at BakeMark.
Point-of-sale material is now available for you to display during National Cupcake Week, which takes place from 14-19 September.The aim of the week is to draw customers’ attention to the ever-popular bakery treat and the range of recipes and toppings available, and to tempt new and existing customers into your shop to try them. An A4 and A3 poster, with space to add your own text, will be available to download from bakeryinfo.co.uk from today. The National Cupcake Week logo will also be available to download, so make sure you print them off and post them in your shop windows to generate consumer interest and promote the week.British Baker will also be sending out a branded poster on August 28 to bakeries and cafés that subscribe to British Baker, to help them market the event. This will coincide with an ongoing PR campaign to drive awareness of the week in the national media.Dowloadable POS can be found here.
Excel Labels is offering customers 18 free rolls of labels for every 100 rolls purchased, until the end of June, to mark its 18th birthday.All its labels are guaranteed to be compatible with your weighing equipment, whatever machine you have, whether it be Avery, Brecknell, CAS, Delford, or Toledo.The firm offers a full range of scale labels and promotional stickers, as well as till rolls and transfer ribbons.”We understand that your label is a key communication tool your ’silent salesman’, promoting your products’ quality and value, or highlighting offers,” said the firm. In addition, it can help businesses with point-of-sale design, including shelf card talkers and posters.
Free-from bakery firm Droppa & Droppa Specialist Foods has won a contract to supply gluten-, wheat- and dairy-free breads to London firm The Bread Factory.Hendon-based The Bread Factory supplies artisan breads and morning goods to a number of top restaurants and hotels in London, and has a six-outlet retail business Gail’s.Droppa & Droppa is supplying the firm with its 200g plain, 200g poppy seed and 200g sun-dried tomato and basil loaves. “We have tried many gluten-free breads in the past, but none match up to the taste and texture of Droppa & Droppa’s bread,” said Dana Laor, customer care manager at The Bread Factory.Family business Droppa & Droppa already supplies The Lanesborough Hotel in Hyde Park and The Runnymede Hotel in Windsor, as well as several independent cafés, restaurants, health food shops and direct to the consumer via its web-based mail order business.