Village Bakery, which is recovering from a devastating fire in August, has launched its first range of bagels.
It has developed American-style bagels that will be rolling out to 600 of a major retailer’s stores in variants including sesame, plain sourdough, cinnamon & raisin, and an Everything Bagel with garlic and onion.
Around 30 of the staff displaced by the fire are making the bagels, which are being produced using a specialist line imported from ABI in Canada.
“ABI are world leaders at making production lines to make bagels,” said Village Bakery project leader Christien Jones, who spent a year researching and planning the bagel launch with his brother, managing director Robin Jones.
“We have taken the best from the top bagel makers in America and tailored the process to put our own personal twist on things,” added Christien.
The planning included a road tour of the US, from New York, Philadelphia, Seattle to Portland in Oregon to understand what makes a great bagel.
“What we are making is a true sourdough bagel with a long fermentation - that’s what makes the difference to the product and, ultimately, it’s an artisan bagel, not mass-produced,” said Robin Jones.
The Village Bakery bagels are proved before being rested for 24 hours and then baked with a lot of steam.
“Our bagels are real bagels with a chew and a pull. They’re not a roll with a hole in like many of the bagels in the UK. These are something radically different and we are confident they are going to be a big success.”
The Welsh government’s economy and transport minister, Ken Skates, said the launch was evidence of the company’s resilience following the fire, which destroyed a one-storey production area and spread to an adjoining office block.
“The fact that they are launching a new product with their new range of bagels tells you all you need to know about the Village Bakery because it comes at a time when many people would have been wondering what the future of the company would look like. It is incredible.
“It shows the determination of the Jones family and also the ability of everybody within the Village Bakery family to bounce back from what could have been a terrible, monumental tragedy,” added Skates.
The bagel market has seen a lot of activity in recent months, with Warburtons bringing in Robert De Niro to promote its full-sized, pre-sliced bagels. The ad prompted a tongue in cheek response from rival bagel producer New York Bakery Co.