March

March 28

"It’s just like French bread – and besides, potatoes have iron" – Luis Ramirez, a baker in Lima, Peru, where the military has begun eating bread made from potatoes – potato baguettes, braided potato loaves and mini-potato croissants – to combat rocketing wheat prices

Stress watch

Here's something to get the drill sergeant bakery production managers among you excited. This is the Exmocare BT2 watch, designed to measure workers' physiological data, such as heart rate, location, body temperature, skin temperature and moisture levels. A central database then picks up the transmitted info for analysis, and alerts the employer to any slacking. We've been wearing them on BB for weeks now and the alarm hasn't gone off once...

Caked nappies

What's the most unappetising ingredient you could possibly imagine for a cake? Take a straw poll and you'll end up with a pretty long list before you get to babies' nappies. As unlikely an invention as it seems, the Nappy Cake is a genuine product that's available from internet retailer [http://www.baby-cakes.co.uk]. "Each cake is 'freshly baked' to order, and carefully handfinished," says the website. We wish we could have witnessed how this particular business venture would have fared in the Dragons' Den. However, one thing is in its favour: it's perfect for baby showers...

28%

Market research firm Technomic says that 57% of around 3,500 respondents to a survey "had never been to a bakery cafe restaurant" in the US. Staggeringly, 28% of those non-customers don't visit bakery cafés because they are "not familiar with what food items the concept offers". THEY DON"T KNOW WHAT A BAKERY OFFERS?!? And we thought our UK industry had it tough.

On cafe culture

Our revered doctor would have something to say about our modern-day fixation with caffeine. Not one for popping down his local Starbucks, or its 19th Century equivalent, listening to this frightening account leads one to believe that he was supping a pretty potent brew.

Quote of the week

s, potatoes have iron

Sep 1935

The importance of seeing that everything is perfect cannot be overestimated. For instance, say you have made 24 Madeira cakes that are not all they should be. The batter may have been cold and, instead of being potential 'trade-getters', the resultant cakes are a little tough.

Getting real

Spring 2008 sees the launch of a brand new four-day food festival in the UK, the Real Food Festival. The event is designed to reflect the focus given to food standards and, in particular, provenance and sustainability in the UK and around the world. Its aim is to bring together producers and consumers in a celebration of excellent produce, reflected in the festival's profile as both a trade and a consumer show, with a dedicated trade day on the 24th.

Local baker fights back

A small bakery in Kirkham, Lancashire, has taken on a supermarket giant and won. While many bakers would hang their head in despair at the prospect of competing cheek by jowl with Morrisons, David Cross of Manor House Bakery worked in close partnership with another local bakery and used both staged investment in capital equipment and the progressive development of a healthy passing trade to score his coup.

Proof is in the prover

The bakers at the William Saddler bakery in Forfar, Scotland, are a happy bunch, especially since they no longer have to work night shifts. Not only can they enjoy a better social life, but also, they can integrate more fully with their colleagues.

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