There is a place for all scales of bread production and industry players need to stop competing with each other, says bakery expert. 

Niall Irwin, technical director at Northern Ireland’s Irwin’s Bakery, told British Baker that small, medium and large-scale production are all “equally laudable” and have a place in the market.

He pointed out the differences between large-scale commercial production of bread using the Chorleywood bread process, large-scale production of fermented products – such as Irish batch bread – and artisanal bread ranges, which result in high unit costs.

He said: “I would suggest there is an intermediate step, which is commercial production of fermented bread. It produces wonderful bread of flavour through overnight fermentation, which is heightened throughout the baking process.

“I think the bread industry needs to and should embrace fermentation in its production.

“All three [types] have a use in the market place and should be valued, nurtured and preserved, rather than competing with each other.”

British Baker went to visit Irwin’s in Belfast to see the factory in action. Watch the video below for insights into what consumers want and where the bread market is lacking.