Assets of cake company go on sale

The ovens and kitchen equipment belonging to Liskeard-based The Small Cake Company have been put up for sale ahead of the liquidation of the firm.

The business, which specialised in cakes, quiches and fruit pies, is due to enter into liquidation on 23 December 2009 under the advice of insolvency practitioners, Richard J Smith & Co.

An online auction of the firm’s assets is taking place until 14 December on Assets include bakers’ ovens, walk-in refrigeration units, mixers and a motor vehicle.

For information on the sale, contact Jason Hall at Edward Symmons LLP on 01752 222 233.

Lees and Patisserie UK resolve dispute

Lees Foods has reached a settlement with the former directors and shareholders of Patisserie UK, which will see the Coatbridge-based firm receive approximately £225,000.

In June this year Lees announced it would be taking legal action against the people from whom it bought Patisserie UK – a specialist bakery business that went into administration in March 2009 under Lees’ ownership.

Mouthing off

"I have a recurring dream where I'm running up some stairs and I don't know what's at the top of them; it's just a black hole. When I get to the top there's a piece of bread on a pedestal. Either I need to start eating less or more bread, or the bread needs something"
20-year-old socialite Peaches Geldof, daughter of Sir Bob, has bread on her mind. Any answers?
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Toronto city councillor and chairman of the Public Works Committee Glenn De Baeremaeker picks a fight with the coffee chains, with the city on the verge of banning polyethylene cups, favoured by the likes of Tim Hortons
"Egg cake, fruit cake, chocolate cake. I felt like a bakery dustbin"
You can have too much of a good thing as Cheng Yu of Beijing found; he claims he is on the verge of divorcing his wife Tian Mae after she served up a cake for every meal

Caught in the web

Divorce is the new wedding, so cash in with a themed cake... How much do you know about sourdough bread? Take this quiz and find out...

Number crunching


Show-stopping sarnie

'Tis the season for celebrity chefs to pepper the press with sumptuous-looking festive book-plugging recipes.
So we doff our caps in the direction of gastro boffin Heston Blumenthal for going against the grain and phoning in this Christmas show-stopping sarnie to freebie paper Metro. Over to you, Blumers... "Heat some Bird's Eye frozen peas, crush them with butter, salt and pepper, then take a slice of Mother's Pride white bread and butter with Anchor butter. Spread the crushed peas over the bread and top with half a white truffle."

Modern take on a traditional cake

The Black Forest Gateau originated in Germany, but had come to be seen as a little old-fashioned. However, the combination of chocolate, cream, kirsch and cherries is an all-time classic. Bachmanns developed this lighter, more modern version and, for 10 years, it has been a favourite with our customers.

Tunnel vision

What can the optimum travelling oven achieve? Fast efficient baking well, that should be a given. But nowadays, every semi and industrial user is looking for more.
At the Iba exhibition in Germany, Gouet, a part of Mecatherm, launched its new Double Action oven. Gouet chairman Olivier Sergent took British Baker through its workings: "The Double Action oven combines two of the most sought-after baking systems: cyclotherm and impingement, also known as radiation baking and forced convection baking." Radiation baking means there is no air movement, so the products bake gently and evenly. "In convection baking, when the core temperature is correct, the top opens and hot air flow gives fast surface baking for exactly the right amount of colour."
Its dual action makes the oven ideal for tin breads, he says, ensuring they have no burnt tops, but is also suitable for flat breads, rolls and topped lines, such as pizzas. Sergent adds: "There is fantastic flexibility, but also consistency. And what makes it unique is that you can bake such a range of goods on an industrial scale in one oven. Baking time is reduced, saving energy, while the quality of the product, including tin bread, is excellent."
The first oven has already been sold to the Village Bakery (Coedpoeth) for its gluten-free production site at Wrexham.
Italian manufacturer Polin's tunnel ovens are designed for larger-scale bread, pastry and biscuit production. Polin manufactured its first oven some 80 years ago in Verona, Italy. The company now makes ovens capable of multiple applications. From cyclothermic heated systems to convection and electric, the made-to-order range can be adapted to suit a particular product and the production levels required.
With the benefits of combining multihead depositors and sheeters to the line, as well as a choice of conveyor, from wire mesh, metal or stone-based, production can become more streamlined and versatile.

The future for free-from

The free-from bakery sector has undergone a massive transition in recent years, from producing only long-life breads which have to be refreshed, to the launch of the first fresh gluten-free bread on the market this year. Recent data from TNS Worldpanel into free-from bread, ambient cakes and pastries and morning goods (for the 52 w/e 4 October 2009), reveals that the volume and value of bread sales have shot up by nearly 50% (see free-from bakery market tables). Ambient cakes and pastries have seen a steady growth in value, but a slight decline in volume, while morning goods have seen a small decline in both volume and value.
Paddy Cronin, sales and marketing director for Finsbury Foods' free-from division, says the firm has seen significant volume growth for bread. Finsbury's free-from division is split between two businesses United Central Bakeries (UCB) and Livwell. UCB, based in Edinburgh, produces a range of flatbreads, morning goods, cake products and the Genius loaf, which won this year's Asda-sponsored Innovation Award at the Baking Industry Awards. Livwell, based in Hull, produces mainly bread and rolls, but also speciality products, such as ciabatta rolls, focaccias, croissants and pains au chocolat.

Fat formulation

Bakers can expect rising raw material and processing costs as they adapt to Food Standards Agency (FSA) proposals for lowering saturated fats in biscuits, cakes, pastries and buns.
Many suppliers of fats and oils have developed new formulations and processes to bring down sat fat levels and are poised to guide their customers through the potentially confusing options but are warning their customers of a likely hike in input costs.
The FSA's proposals outline voluntary recommendations for lowering saturated fat, sugar and portion size among bakery products, chocolate and soft drinks. Consultation on the proposals closed last month and, as they stand, these identify reductions of 5% for non-plain biscuits and 10% across other bakery goods by the end of 2012.
While misgivings over the proposals were highlighted in British Baker's recent The Big Bakery Debate on the topic (BB, 6 November), many bakers and their ingredients suppliers have already invested in new recipes to reduce the sat fat content of their products. "We have the solutions. A lot of the time, it's just down to how much people are prepared to pay to maintain or improve quality," says Stephen Bickmore, UK commercial manager of Vandemoortele's lipids division.
A spokesperson says Bakemark/CSM is investigating the potential for launching a new line of lower sat fat products next year. But what fat and oil products are available from suppliers to meet the saturated fat reduction needs of various product groups, whether it is pastry, cake batters, creams or biscuits? For shortcrust pastry and cake batters, there are a range of all-purpose shortenings on the market.
"Saturated fat levels vary from around 50% for the most basic offering, through 40% alternatives, with some lower levels being available," says Jo Bruce, research & development manager at ADM Pura. ADM's all-purpose shortenings, including Peerless Melva shortening, containing only 35% saturated fat. To achieve even further reductions, NovaLipid shortening contains just 30% saturated fat. All these alternatives are similar in creaming performance, cake volume, firmness, dispersibility and eat characteristics, she claims.
"For bakers, it is important to avoid a greasy texture in pastry or a dry or claggy cake. NovaLipid shortening has been developed to match the characteristics of Melva shortening, offering optimum functionality for short pastry and cakes. It is also firm enough for use in sugar and fat 'buttercreams'."
The fat used in puff pastry and Danish pastry is pastry margarine. Most pastry margarines available in the UK contain around 40% saturated fat. It is more difficult to change the saturated fat content of puff pastry margarines, as they need to be very firm and very plastic to withstand the laminating process and maintain separation between discrete layers of dough, says Bruce. "However, it is possible to reduce saturated fat in the oil blend, which reduces the saturated fat content without a noticeable effect on the finished pastry. NovaLipid pastry margarine contains only 33% saturated fat and results in puff pastry with good rise and a particularly clean eat."
One method of cutting back on sat fats is to use more soft oils in margarine and other fats, adapting recipes to use a greater proportion of seed oils and less palm oil, says Vandemoortele's Bickmore. However, he adds: "Palm oil is cheaper than seed oils, so using less of it has implications on cost as well as quality."
Indeed, industry attendees at The Big Bakery Debate identified likely cost increases of between 10% and 20% for new formulations to lower the sat fat content in bakery goods, and potential hidden costs if consumers respond badly to the product changes.

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