Biscuit maker United Biscuits has formally put itself up for sale by sending financial packs to potential buyers.Premier Foods and RHM are both expected to have asked for the information and first-round bids are thought to be due by the end of this month. However, United Biscuits’s future will be decided ultimately by Kraft, which has a pre-emptive right to match any bid for the group. The company is expected to be worth at least £2.3 billion but it has £1.8bn of net debt to contend with.
The Cookie Crew swept to victory at this year’s Bakers’ Benevolent Society Kart Grand Prix, which raised £2,500 for the charity.Sponsored for the first time by Rank Hovis, the event at Daytona International Raceway saw 15 baking industry teams compete in a three-hour endurance race.The Cookie Crew narrowly beat ADM ’A’ into second place and Rooks Racers into third. James Brunton of Cookie won the ’driver of the day’ award for the fastest lap, while Cookie Crunchers were Class 2 champions.”We’d like to thank the teams for their support,” said Rank Hovis marketing manager Sara Reid.The date and location of the 2007 Kart Grand Prix will be published soon. Contact [email protected] rankhovis.com for details.
Welsh bakery Brace’s is running a new £100,000 TV advertising campaign this month, across the Wales and the south-west region including the Channel Islands.Featuring the voice of the Carry On… series star Leslie Phillips, with his strap-line ’Ding Dong’, the commercials show the antics of a family’s animated bread bin and Brace’s bread.Scott Richardson, sales and marketing director of Brace’s Bakery, said Brace’s was last on TV two years ago with its ’Bread for All Seasons’ marketing campaign.It has invested £100,000 in the new TV advertising campaign, running over a four-week period, to support its trade customers, such as Tesco and Asda, as well as to attract new customers to the brand, he said.Richardson said: “Sales expectations are high and we are looking forward to a successful summer season where we know sales will improve further. Our turnover is £27 million at moment and half-year results are on target. Future growth prospects look promising, with us exploiting new markets, both in new regions and through new product development.”Richardson said Brace’s was still looking for a site for a new bakery in the south, but there were no immediate plans.He added that Brace’s is celebrating its 105th birthday, this year and has set up a ’community birthday fund’, which is supporting schools, charities and grass-root organisations.
One of the most well-respected figures in the Northern Ireland baking industry has retired after 37 years. Mervyn Hempton, operations manager at Allied Bakeries Ireland, worked hard to build the Belfast-based company with his younger brother, Alan.He joined the Sunblest bakery in 1971 and became chief executive of Allied Bakeries Belfast, as the firm was then called, in 1986, with added responsibility for AB-owned Reid’s bakery, Coleraine.Paying tribute to his brother, Alan Hempton said: “He’s been a tremendous servant to Allied Bakeries and has always been a great sounding board for me. It is a tremendous tribute to his dedication and determination that he did so much for the bakery during the latter years of his career.”
Where the Telegraph article does fall down is in its failure to recognise that UK bakers have already mastered the art of making large-volumed, fine-structured and soft-eating wholemeal bread products; but then I doubt that there were any bakers in the audience for the talk to make this practical observation.The basic premise in the article is an over-simplification of what happens in wholemeal bread doughs. While there is the possibility that bran particles ’puncture’ the gas bubble surface, this implies that the film surrounding the gas bubbles cannot resist the pressure of the bran particle. But the bran will be soft as the result of hydration that takes place during dough mixing and processing.It is much more likely that the bran particles provide ’points of weakness’ in the gluten network. Put simply, if two small gas bubbles are filled with and expanded by carbon dioxide gas, they grow large enough to stretch the gluten film, and where the two gas bubbles touch, the film bursts and one larger gas bubble is formed. Coalescence of gas bubbles commonly leads to loss of bread volume and coarser structure.But, as I said above, plant bakers overcame this problem over 20 years ago.
The British Society of Baking’s Autumn conference is to be held on 6 and 7 October at Coombe Abbey Hotel in Binley, Coventry.The programme of events includes the AGM on Monday 6 at 5pm. This will be followed by a drinks reception at 7.30pm and dinner at 8pm, where members will be treated to entertainment from the Coombe Abbey Shakespearian Actors Group.On Tuesday 7, the conference presentations begin with ’A Family in Business’ by David Smart, Greenhalgh’s Craft Bakery.Andrew Fuller from Muntons, Peter Jones from Speedibake and Pat Smyth, president, Irish Association of Master Bakers and managing director, Yeast Products, will also be among the speakers on the day.
Bakers looking for ways to reduce salt in bread are being offered an alternative to bland low-salt options.Hopped Spraymalt Light a product made from malt and hops, spraydried into a fine powder is already used in the brewing industry, but malted ingredients manufacturer Mun-tons has discovered it works well in boosting bread flavour and perceived salt levels.Said Andrew Fuller, pro-duct development technologist: “While hops are primarily grown for the brewing industry, when combined with malt extract, they offer a bittersweet flavour to enhance savoury baked goods. The product could be used in all kinds of bread, and particularly beer bread.”Muntons’ taste panels found that bread with just 1% Hopped Spraymalt Light was more flavoursome and perceived as more salty than a control bread without malt and hops, said Fuller. Both recipes contained 0.9g salt per 100g just below the FSA 2012 guidelines.Malt acts as a natural flavour enhancer, boosting the flavour intensity of the bread, said Muntons, and hops bring natural bitterness, which confuses the palate into thinking that the bread is saltier.
The search is on to find the nation’s best bakers to represent the UK in the Louis Lesaffre Cup. The ‘world cup’ of baking pits teams of three bakers, from around 40 countries across all five continents, against each other in a series of national and international heats. Each baker in the UK team will be required to demonstrate one of the three categories: bread-making, Viennese pastries, or an artistic piece made from dough – all of which should aim to sum up the spirit of the UK.The heats run between 2009 and 2012, and judging for the UK team, will take place at the Baking Industry Exhibition at the NEC from 21-24 March 2010.Lesaffre’s UK subsidiaries BFP Wholesale and DCL Yeast, along with Fermex – which distributes Lesaffre’s bread ingredients in the UK – are spearheading the search to find bakers from the UK.“Our aim is to find the people who will make up ‘team UK’ – seriously talented bakers who are good enough to represent the United Kingdom at the Cup’s Western European heat in Paris in May 2011, and in further rounds if successful,” said BFP Wholesale’s MD Nick Harris.“We’ll be looking not only for superb skills and results, but a team spirit,” added Michael Abraham, DCL Yeast’s sales manager.The UK national heat is free to enter and is open to anyone over 18 who lives in the UK and is actively involved in baking. Each entrant must choose one of the three categories only for their entry. Entries must be submitted by email, with name, age, contact details and the category for entry, to [email protected] closing date for entries is Friday 26th February 2010. Visit www.louislesaffrecupuk2010.co.uk for more details.
Italy’s premier bakery show AB Tech is just around the corner, and will feature equipment, machinery and demonstrations. It takes place on October 23-27 at Milan’s Fieramilano showground, easily accessible from the city.Exhibitors will include names well-known to the British market. A number are saving up new launches for the show. The 150 plus exhibitors will include Rondo, Tagliavini, Fortuna, Rade-maker, Sigma, Bertuetti, Salva, Turri and Werner & Pfleiderer.The Italian Association of Bakers, supporting the show, will host bakery and pastry workshops showing the latest trends in goods, fillings, decoration and manufacturing techniques. And a contest will decide on The Best Bakers Shop in Italy.For further details, go to www.abtechexpo.com.
As the world is introduced to the concept of wine and cupcake pairing (see Caught in the Web below), two bakers are making a living from baking tipsy treats laced with alcohol. Krystina Castella and Terry Lee Stone have published a book: Booze Cakes Confections spiked with spirits, wine and beer. Particular favourites of ours though they may present something of a choking hazard are cake shooters, served in shot glasses.l www.boozecakesbook.com