The American Way

first_imgUpmarket American bakery brand La Brea – a big hit in the US, with its rustic-style flavours and textures steeped in Europe’s baking traditions – is now making waves in (and to) the UK. Frozen and ferried across the Atlantic to the UK from New Jersey, La Brea Bakery could claim to make some of the best travelled loaves on the planet. “In the US, I can say with confidence that we are a household name,” asserts the bakery’s founder, baker and author Nancy Silverton. And parent company IAWS is now hoping that success translates to the UK, where there is a perceived gap for a branded, artisan-style, baked-off bagged bread. Although there are no immediate plans to switch manufacturing to the UK, a growing presence in the major multiples could change that. And the Dublin-based firm, which has operations in Ireland, the UK, Europe, Canada and the US, clearly has faith in the brand’s future, having splashed out $68.5m (£39m) for an 80% stake in La Brea Bakery in 2001, eventually taking full ownership in 2005.Following a year trialling the bread, La Brea is now being rolled out nationally in the UK and the number of outlets listing the bread is anticipated to double within the next 18 months (British Baker, Oct 28, pg 6). At present, the brand is in over 150 stores, primarily in the south of England, with Tesco and Sainsbury’s also stocking the range in Manchester and a small number of stores in Scotland and Ireland. IAWS also sells the bread wholesale into bakeries, cafés, restaurants and sandwich bars.La Brea’s reach in the US has spread beyond the cosmopolitan east and west coasts to gain a national presence. This will have encouraged the UK’s multiples that, despite a hefty price tag, the brand has wide appeal. The breads retail at between £2.99 and £3.49 for an 800g loaf – a far cry from the days of below-cost bread promotion.Euro-American breadThe range in the UK includes a selection of rustic-style French and Italian style breads with an American twist. The bakery was the brainchild of Ms Silverton, a Cordon Bleu and French pastry chef, who launched La Brea Bakery in 1989 to supply her Los Angeles restaurant, Campanile.A feverish six-month study of the scientific properties of sourdough, with advice from bakery consultants, oven manufacturers, and some dusty 19th century recipe books, spawned a sourdough that was quickly in hot demand. The bakery soon evolved into a local wholesale and retail operation. “It was a product that was so well embraced that it just grew and grew,” recalls Ms Silverton, who has since taken up an ambassadorial role with the company, promoting the brand as well as developing new products. Demand was such that a wider market beckoned. “People kept asking me to set up a franchise and other bakeries around the country. I was very reluctant to do that because it is a type of bread and a type of process that is absolutely hands-on.”All of its recipes are based on an organic grape, water and flour sourdough starter dating from the original sourdough baguette – the very first La Brea product. But how do you replicate the ‘artisanal’ process on an industrial scale without cutting corners? Despite initial worries about loss of control over the baking process by upscaling to industrial production, the breakthrough came with some bespoke machinery and the realisation that part-baking would not compromise product quality, claims Ms Silverton. It now has two bakeries in Los Angeles and New Jersey producing 80% part-baked breads, as well as its original bakery supplying fresh breads daily.Hand-on machinery“We’ve proved that it can be done,” claims Ms Silverton. “We have actually helped to manufacture equipment that mimics the exact techniques that we use when we’re hands-on baking. That has never been achieved before.”La Brea came up with a process that is very gentle on the dough, she explains. “Most machines were high speed and they beat up the dough.” Secondly, its doughs are hydrated more than others, she adds. Thirdly, proving systems were needed capable of accommodating a very long, cool prove.Such is the time-sensitivity and temperament of a sourdough starter, separate tanks are designated for different times of the day, staggered to a schedule for the production of different lines. The starter is agitated or fed continually throughout the day to keep the yeast alive and healthy. Then the dough undergoes a shorter than average mixing time to avoid oxidising, before fermenting for two to six hours. It continues to ferment as it goes along the line, passing through the proving system for four to six hours before baking in a tunnel oven.“The net result is a bread as good as if baked by hand, with a thick crust, a chewy crumb and complex flavours,” she claims. The breads are baked-off to demand in-store, providing a loaf to consumers that is, at most, four hours old, says Nancy. This is one reason why the product lends itself so well to the supermarkets, she believes. La Brea Bakery is now the dominant premium artisan brand in the US, selling to around 7,000 customers in retail and foodservice. It produces 40 lines, including patisserie, which are being considered for the UK market. Indigenous products“I would love it if we could introduce our patisserie here,” says Ms Silverton. “I think our branded pastries would work in the UK and Ireland because they are made using French techniques with American sensibilities. There are also a lot of other items that are indigenous to America. It would be very fresh to the UK market.”One such product is La Brea’s Apple Tarte. Another good seller is its Morning Bun, which is a rolled out croissant dough, spread with cinnamon, rolled, twisted and baked. “We take doughs, such as a croissant or Danish, and personalise some of the shapes, fillings and names,” she says.“The pastries are rustic in taste and look. I think it would be an odd combination to see our rustic breads with dark crusts alongside pristine pastries. When you have a retail store you want to create an atmosphere and a sensibility. The pastries are all room temperature and in brown tones – there are no heavily glazed pastries with fruits on top.”Although there are no plans at present for the UK and Ireland, another route for expansion could be branded La Brea café/bakery outlets as seen, of all places, in Disneyland, California. “Bakery makes theme park attraction” – now that is a story in itself.PROFILE: NANCY SILVERTONLa Brea’s founder Nancy Silverton has written six books on baking, pastry, sandwiches and cooking. Her regular ‘sandwich nights’, launched 10 years ago at her restaurant, Campanile, and now in two other restaurants in Los Angeles, have become a fixture for the city’s food aficionados. “Because of Nancy Silverton’s background as a chef, she has developed a large number of sandwich recipes specific to different La Brea Bakery bread types,” says Sarah Murphy, marketing manager at La Brea Bakery. “In the US, we sell sandwiches at our original bakery and, although we have no current plans, we haven’t ruled out the possibility of making La Brea Bakery sandwiches in the future.” Here are two of La Brea’s premium gourmet sandwich recipes:Roast beef sandwich on Wholegrain Loaf bread (makes one sandwich)2 slices wholegrain loaf3.5oz roast beef1oz balsamic onions0.5oz horseradish spread0.5oz rocketHorseradish spreadMix together 2oz horseradish sauce and 10oz sour creamBalsamic onionsRed onions (peeled and sliced 1/4 inch) – 80oz Balsamic vinegar – 24ozOlive oil – 8ozMaldon sea salt – 0.5ozFresh ground black pepper – 0.5ozTo prepare: Mix the onions with the other ingredients in a bowl. Spread evenly on a tray and bake in a pre-heated oven at 160ºC for 20-25 minutes, tossing occasionallyTo assemble the sandwichSpread horseradish mixture on both slices. On one slice place roast beef, onions and rocket. Place the other slice of bread on top and cut in half diagonally.Classic grilled cheese with marinated onions and wholegrain mustard on Country White Sourdough Oval8 slices Country White Sourdough Oval bread1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil2-3 tablespoons white wine vinegar2 tablespoons Maldon sea salt1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper2 medium yellow onions, sliced 1/8-inch thick1/4 cup wholegrain mustard8oz Swiss cheese, sliced 1/16-inch thickTo prepare the marinated onions Combine the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the onions, toss to coat them, and marinate for 15-20 minutes at room temperature. Season with more vinegar, salt, and pepperTo assemble the sandwiches Set half of the slices of bread buttered side down. Spread an even layer of mustard over the bread and cover with half the cheese slices, folding them back in toward the middle if they extend past the edges of the bread. Scatter the marinated onions on top and place the remaining cheese slices over the onions. Put the top slices of bread over the cheese, buttered side up. Grill the sandwiches using a panini press. Cut each sandwich in half diagonallylast_img read more

CSM to off-load French factory

first_imgNetherlands-based food company CSM, which owns BakeMark UK, is to sell off part of its French subsidiary, Delices de la Tour, to French baker Panavi for approximately E15m.CSM will sell the Delices de la Tour factory in Le Mans, which specialises in ’beignets’ and frozen pastries. All 140 factory employees will be transferred to Panavi.The transaction, which does not include the stone-oven bread business of Delices de la Tour in Maubeuge, is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2007last_img

Tax is more than just a family affair

first_imgSmall businesses can thank the House of Lords for guidance on how to organise their tax affairs, following a decision in the case of Arctic Systems.The Jones vs Garnett (Arctic Systems) case concerns the tax treatment of a husband-and-wife-owned company, with HM Reve-nue & Customs (HMRC) believing that unacceptable arrangements had been made in order to reduce the overall tax liability of the husband and wife concerned.The company, equally owned by Geoff and Diana Jones, had a turnover of £91,000 for one particular year, derived from Mr Jones’ activities. He drew a salary of £7,000, while his wife drew a salary for administrative work of £4,000, for which she worked about four hours per week. After expenses and corporation tax, the couple shared the remaining £60,000 equally in dividends. As a consequence, the pair paid less tax and national insurance contributions on their income, because they took dividends rather than salaries, and a significant portion went to Mrs Jones to use up her lower tax rates.HMRC’s technical argument was that Mr Jones’s actions in setting up the company, allowing his wife to subscribe for an ordinary share, and the general arrangements all constituted a ’settlement’. Under anti-avoidance rules, the income of a settlement can be treated as that of the settler in some cases. As far as husband and wife (or civil partners) are concerned, the settlement rules don’t operate unless the property given is “wholly or substantially a right to income”.Tax assessmentHMRC assessed Mr Jones on six years’ worth of dividends paid to his wife by Arctic Systems, producing a tax bill of about £42,000 once interest had been added. What was at issue was the amount paid to Mr Jones: HMRC would have been happy if he had been paid a substantial salary by the company, leaving just a small profit to be paid out as dividends to the co-owners.One point worth noting is that companies with significant assets wouldn’t be caught by this new approach. That’s because when the shares in the company were allocated, even if the husband was making a settlement, it wouldn’t be just a gift of income but would involve the assets owned by the company as well.There were three issues with the HMRC stance:? that an ordinary share doesn’t just give a right to income? how can taxpayers accurately assess the right amount of income?? this was a change of stance from HMRC, challenging a long-standing arrangement.The Jones’ first appeal produced a finding in favour of HMRC and this was upheld at the High Court. However, the Court of ­Appeal found for the Joneses.The House of Lords has upheld the Court of Appeal, saying there was a settlement, but agreeing that it wasn’t just about income. The arrangement fell into the exception in the settlement rules.One of HMRC’s contentions was that it has regularly taken similar cases and settled with taxpayers. Those taxpayers may well be due a repayment and should be talking to their tax advisers.However, the government has already announced that it will change the law to reverse the House of Lords’ decision. Exactly how and when (probably next April) remains to be seen, but husband-and-wife businesses will have to keep their taxes under review. nJohn Whiting is a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxationlast_img read more

What the judges said

first_imgAbout marketing and Tricia Barker:The Asda judges were particularly impressed with the “off-beat name” and brave signature product, the US-inspired cinnamon square. They recognised Tricia’s work in marketing the bakery’s superb products and servicelast_img

Push on pastries

first_imgFrench bakery manufacturer Bridor has expanded its organic range with new additions in bread and Viennese pastries. Now featuring in the Pure Organic Range is a 140g baguettine; a 280g baguette; a 55g pavé; a 55g grain and cereal Purepavé; a 70g croissant; and a 75g pain au chocolat. All are supplied frozen.The products in this range, certified Ecocert, are made with a minimum of 95% of organic raw materials. Bridor has also taken out any Datems (emulsifiers for Viennese pastries) and vanilline (synthetic flavouring) which has been replaced by a natural vanilla flavouring.Bridor’s ’Eclat du Terroir’ range of artisanal French Viennese pastries are made with an all butter recipe. New to its Prestige range is 130g Eclat du Terroir pain aux raisins and 80g Eclat du Terroir pain au chocolat.The Eclat du Terroir pain au chocolat contains 15% chocolate, whereas the market average is just 12%,” said the firm.It has also launched a new Viennese pastry range called Success, which comprises a 70g croissant and a 80g pain au chocolat both are supplied frozen uncooked.last_img read more

Mexican stand-off

first_imgYour Olivers, Blumenthals and Ramsays have hogged the TV schedules for long enough. The bakery trade has been crying out for its own superstar. Now she’s arrived. All hail Angela Maher for her jaw-dropping appearance on Mary Queen of Shops last week.A whopping 2.6 million people watched Maher’s unlikely elevation into the limelight, as she faced off with rapier-bob-haired retail guru Mary Portas, who had finally met her match in this unyielding baker. “One of the oddest and most gripping documentaries of the year,” wrote Sarah Dempster in The Guardian, uncharitably noting the bakery’s “lacquered pine fittings, the unloved mountain range of slapdash jam tarts, desultory pastries, malformed gingerbread women (’Don’t touch them!’) and pastries that resembled steamrollered offal.”If you haven’t already seen it we won’t spoil the fun you can catch it on iPlayer. But while Maher resisted Portas’ radical overhaul, the story does not end there, and she has since updated her shop on her own terms. Go Angela! And she’s even ditched her much-quoted “I’ve been in business for 36 years” catchphrase. She’s now been in business for 37 years…last_img read more

Calls for Government to implement traffic light labelling

first_imgThe House of Lords has voiced its support for the implementation of a traffic light system for nutritional labelling, as it calls for a stronger approach from Government on policies to change consumer behaviour.The idea that ‘nudging’ on its own is unlikely to change the nation’s behaviour is the main conclusion drawn from the House of Lords Science and Technology Sub-Committee’s report, Behaviour Change, published today.Instead, a range of measures – including some regulatory measures – would be needed to change behaviour in a way that will make a real difference to society’s biggest problems, for example obesity, states the report.The Committee has recommended that the Government invest in gathering more evidence on which measures work to influence population behaviour change. In addition it said the Government “should look to take steps to implement a traffic light system of nutritional labelling on all food packaging”.According to the report, current voluntary agreements with businesses in relation to public health have major failings, and are not a proportionate response to the scale of the problem of obesity. “There are all manner of things that the Government want us to do – lose weight, give up smoking, use the car less, give blood – but how can they get us to do them?” questioned committee chair Baroness Neuberger.“It won’t be easy and this inquiry has shown that it certainly won’t be achieved through using ‘nudges’, or any other sort of intervention, in isolation.”She said that changing the behaviour of a population is likely to take time, perhaps a generation or more, and whereas politicians usually look for “quick-win solutions”, she called for the Government to be braver about mixing and matching policy measures, using both incentives and disincentives to bring about change. “They must also get much better at evaluating the measures they put in place,” she added.“In order to help people live healthier and happier lives, we need to understand much more about what sorts of policies will have an effect on how people behave. And the best way to do this is through research, proper evaluation of policies and the provision of well-informed and independent scientific advice.”last_img read more

Maison Blanc taps the hive

first_imgRaymond Blanc’s patisserie chain Maison Blanc has unveiled a number of new honey-inspired products for summer. The Beehive is made from a light polenta sponge with poppy seeds, encased in a blend of honey and diplomat cream, and sprinkled with chocolate shavings. Its Bumblebee Cupcakes are made with a soft vanilla sponge, and topped with either mango or zesty lemon icing.Other products on offer include: Biscuits au Miel little sable biscuits available in mango, strawberry and peach varieties; a Honey and Lavender Polenta Loaf Cake, drizzled with fondant icing; Honey Flower a sticky and sweet bread, baked with honey; a Kalamansi Lime and Coconut Mousse; and Strawberry & Cream cupcake.last_img

Scones voted signature UK treat

first_imgScones with cream and jam have been crowned the UK’s signature treat, according to results of a recent survey by Dawn Foods.To mark British Food Fortnight (17 September-2 October), Dawn quizzed the general public to find out what was their favourite bakery treat. Marketing manager Jacqui Passmore explained: “While America has the donut, France the croissant and Spain the churro, we couldn’t decide what treat the UK was known for – so we decided to find out.” The campaign, ‘Sweet Treat UK’, asked Facebook and Twitter users from across the UK to vote for their favourite from a shortlist of 13, which included the Victoria Sponge, cupcakes and the traditional fruit cake. Scones with cream and jam picked up 41% of the votes, with the Victoria Sponge coming in second with 27% of the votes. Cupcakes came in third with 9%, while the cream horn received 0%.Passmore added: “Scones, cream and jam was the perfect winner of the title. We’ve seen sales of our scone mix significantly rise this year and this, coupled with the news last week that commercial sales of scones have risen by 65%, is proof that the UK is rallying round its own signature treat and using it as an affordable indulgence during the current economic climate.”last_img read more

Mishawaka Police break up hundreds of cruisers on W. McKinley Avenue

first_img Pinterest Mishawaka Police break up hundreds of cruisers on W. McKinley Avenue Google+ Previous articleWoman shot in Mishawaka, detectives interview possible suspectNext articleIndiana Black Expo cancels summer event, football classic Jon ZimneyJon Zimney is the News and Programming Director for News/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel and host of the Fries With That podcast. Follow him on Twitter @jzimney. Twitter Facebook WhatsApp By Jon Zimney – April 25, 2020 3 565 IndianaLocalNews Pinterest Facebook (“Police car lights” by Scott Davidson, Attribution 2.0 Generic) Complaints about cruising and traffic back-ups resulted in Mishawaka Police being called to the W. McKinley Avenue between Grape Road and Hickory Road late Friday night, April 24.Officers arrived on scene to find heavy traffic congestion and 100s of cars in the parking lots.Due to the large number of vehicles, responding officers waited for more officers to arrive on scene, called for barricades to be delivered and then cleared the parking lots and barricaded the entrances.It took approximately 30 minutes to clear the parking lots.The Mishawaka Police Department is discouraging large gatherings like Friday night’s which they say violate the social distancing and stay at home orders in place by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb. Google+ WhatsApp Twitterlast_img read more