Now we’re not suggesting making the likes of ’hash cakes’ to sell to your customers, but hemp, which has around 20,000 different uses, can be used as an ingredient in various forms (which have no drug content). Hemp seeds can be cold-pressed into oil, which leaves a ’cake’ that can then be milled into flour. Paul Jenkinson of Yorkshire Hemp said that using 5% hemp flour in bakery gives products added colour, texture and a nutty taste. Products cannot be made using 100% hemp flour and Jenkinson recommends using 5-10% hemp of flour weight. Hemp seeds are rich in protein - around 34% - and are gluten-free, so can be used with potato or rice flour for gluten-free products. Shelled hemp seeds can also be added to bread, cakes or flapjacks to add to the texture, or as a topping. However, it loses some of its nutritional benefits as a topping, due to heat exposure in the oven.

As well as its nutritional benefits, Jenkinson explained that it has a number of environmental benefits too. For example, it does not require the use of pesticides for cultivation and can prosper on poor-quality land. It is why the Persians call it ’king of seeds, seed of kings’, said Jenkinson.

Businesses already using hemp in bakery are Judges Bakery in Hastings, East Sussex, Duchy Originals and Ryvita.

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British Baker’s legal expert Ray Silverstein briefed visitors on forthcoming changes to employment law, warning of changes to grievance procedures (see news section), a consultaton that may result in staff being granted more flexibility in requesting time off for training and also advised on what to do if you’ve lost trust in your employees.

He told visitors to Bakers’ Fair that the government consultation over greater flexibility on the right to request time off for training could result in changes to law emerging in April 2009. "Bakeries should review their training programmes for employees at the moment and think about what sort of training programmes you would allow them to go on," he said. He also advised bakers, presented with a request for flexible working hours, to ensure that "whenever you do agree for someone’s request for flexible working, state, it’s on a trial basis, so it’s not taken as a permanent decision".

When it comes to what employees tell their bosses, too many issues such as sick leave are taken on trust, he said. "There is nothing wrong with hiring a private investigator to check up on an employee who says they are too sick to work and you don’t believe them."

He also said businesses are well within their rights to put up CCTV around the workplace if they suspect theft, but that it’s advisable to make employees aware of it.