The invention of the Chorleywood Bread Process (CBP) was a "watershed" moment for bakery, delegates were told at the BSB conference.

Stan Cauvain, director and vice-president of research and development at BakeTran, said the innovation of CBP continued to be relevant 50 years on and was gaining traction in areas of the world where it had not been previously used.

Cauvain, who worked at the Flour Milling and Baking Research Association (now Campden BRI) at Chorleywood for 25 years and then spent 10 years as the director of cereals and cereal processing at the Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association, said: "When the stone called the CBP was thrown into the pond, it spread ripples across the world. It was a watershed moment for the baking industry and its importance cannot be overstated. If they are not operating it [CBP] then they are thinking about opera-ting it and this includes countries like China and India."

Ironically, despite being mainly used in the plant bakery sector, Cauvain explained that it had originally been thought CBP would also be of use to the craft sector. Another key element of the process was that, compared to the older bulk fermentation method, the CBP could use lower protein wheat, and produced bread at a much faster rate.

Although CBP is sometimes maligned, Cauvain explained that the sandwich industry of today owes much to the process. "The introduction of CBP did a very vital thing. It made us think differently about our bread. Love it or hate it, you cannot ignore the impact of CBP," added Cauvain. CBP provided something "for every consumer" he explained, saying, "If you want real bread, fine you can do it," and he added that CBP was something that should be "celebrated" by the industry.

Also at the conference was Andrew Curtis of the European Snacks Association, who gave a talk on acrylamide, outlining how the organic chemical compound a known neurotoxin and genotoxic carcinogen was discovered in 2002 and what the industry can do to combat against it. He also told how an industry "toolbox" has been developed and is available for businesses that want to identify potential acrylamide mitigation tools (see also Reporting In, page 11).

Curtis, scientific and regulatory affairs manager at the European Snacks Association, said there were three steps to reducing acrylamide in foods that formed the basis for the "toolbox". These included assessing the risk in; raw materials selection; recipe and product design, process design and in final preparation.

During the raw materials selection, food manufacturers should choose materials that are low in sugar potato and low asparagine cereal, said Curtis. He explained that avoiding the use of additional reducing sugars or ammonium groups would also be of help during the recipe design. During process design, said Curtis, bakers should review the potential for enzyme pre-treatment, optimise the time and temperature profile and avoid the generation of other undesirable compounds. A revision of the "toolbox", which was produced by FoodDrinkEurope (formerly known as the CIAA), came after an EFSA monitoring report that was launched in April.

Dr Chun-Han Chan, a senior scientific officer at the Food Standards Agency (FSA), was also on hand to give bakers and industry members an insight into allergen management from a UK regulator’s perspective. She explained how Commission Regulation No.41/2009 EC puts in place compositional criteria related to the claims ’gluten-free’ and ’very low gluten’ for foods that have been specifically manufactured to satisfy the particular nutritional requirements of people who are intolerant to gluten, and for foods that are naturally free of gluten. The limits come into force on 1 January 2012. Chan said there were 14 allergens that affected the public and there had been 482 allergy incidents reported since 2000. In 2010 alone, there were 79 allergy incidents and 34 allergy alerts, said Chan. She added that the aim of the FSA was to establish a tolerable level of risk for the consumer zero risk was "not an option", she said. And she added that the government department’s role was also to ensure that analytical methods were fit for purpose.

From the retail perspective, John Waterfield, managing director of Waterfield’s gave a valuable insight to the state of the high street. He criticised what he labelled as "a lack of joined-up thinking" by a glut of local autho-rities. He said that car parking or rather a lack of cheap, affordable spaces high street rents and the threat of supermarkets were to blame for the decline on the high street. Despite the economic climate in the north west, Waterfield said the consumer was "still willing to pay more for our product". A study tour of the US had taught him that bakeries should dare to be different, he added: "Don’t compete, but differentiate."

Competition class

Wayne Caddy, head of baking at the School of Artisan Foods, also gave a talk and a video demonstration on some of his award-winning ideas. Caddy, who also runs his own bakery consultancy, was part of the UK team that entered the Bakery World Cup earlier this year. He discussed how the team worked to develop the ideal recipe and production process in order to enter a traditional baguette to the standard required for this international contest.

For more details, see Caddy’s video presentation on the production of a baguette at BB’s website