Dunn's Bakery - London
Last year I was lucky enough to attend British Society of Baking conference. I had never attended any conferences before as this year is my first year attending ABST! There were many inspring speakers throughout the day and networking time. In fact, I got speaking to Christopher Freeman from Dunn's Bakery. This bakery offers many high end products ranging from celebration cakes to bread and confectionery goods. What I really apprecated was that they use local & fresh ingredients, supporting other independent businesses to create the finest products. It was Christophers grandfather, Robert Freeman, who traveled down from Northamptonshire to London in a hay wagon in 1820. By 1827 Robert opened Dunns Bakery in Crouch End.
Now, I already know what my end goal is, I would love to have my own business one day and Christopher really advised me on the best way possible to go about it. That was when I built up the courage to ask for some experience, I mean if you don't ask you don't get, right? Cut a long story short I was now in contact with Lewis Freeman, current bakery manager at Dunn's and is the SIXTH generation baker, wow! A few emails and phone calls later, I had secured a weeks experience at the bakery. Lewis was really helpful and sorted accommodation out for me with someone who works at the bakery.
My main love in bakery is bread, but my first shift was with the cake decorating department starting at 5:30am. I was nervous going straight into cakes as I have no confidence with creating visually stunning products. I was introduced to Neil who is the cake decorator, the first thing he asked me was if I had any cake decorating experience and all I said was ‘don’t let me pipe’. So he straight away reminded me how to make a piping bag and he spent the first hour with me just teaching me ways of piping. Each time I practiced I got better and better and I was so lucky to have that one on one experience with him. Neil made me feel so much more confident in myself and I learnt so many new skills and now I’m actually pretty good at piping!
As it was Easter week I got the chance to make the chocolate bunnies. Making and using chocolate at University is great for learning but seeing it all done a bigger scale was such an eye opener. Neil said to me "I’ve never trusted anyone else to do the chocolate bunnies so someone at University must be teaching you right" which just shows how important it is that we are learning these skills before going out into the industry.
The main thing I took away from my experience there was that I gained so much more confidence in myself. Going on placements is nerve racking and it’s scary staying in a city you don’t know well but you just have to believe in yourself and have fun! The skills I have learnt are so valuable now and the memories will stay for life.
The one piece of advice I would give to students in a similar position is to take the plunge and ask! After all, we are the up and coming bakers, if you specialise in a particular subject then go experience something you're not confident in. Knowledge is power, never stop learning :).
Thanks for reading, I hope this inspires you to get yourself out there more! I am so looking forward to ABST to network with even more industry experts!
Holly Weeks :)
This is only the Veganning of the bad puns!
If you hadn't guessed, this blog is all about Vegans specifically around baking. I've been a vegan for years now and when I first made the decision to change I actually found it difficult to find good recipes. I especially found it difficult in college/uni to find good recipes to substitute the dairy products that were needed for the recipes.
I then decided to experiment a lot more in baking, researching and trialling until I achieved a consistent outcome. However, with Veganism on the rise, the demand for good vegan bakery products has grown massively. In 2018 there were 600,000 vegans as opposed to the 150,000 in 2014!! This is why I started to research and experiment deeper with products that would be hard to find alternatives for. This year I have been working on creating my own vegan puff pastry, making my own dairy free butter using aquafaba, cocoa butter, coconut oil and olive oil, I can successfully report that it works and tastes delicious!
It's been said that if the world turned Vegan, it could save 8 million people by 2050 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds, I mean...WOW! A plant based diet is great for maintaining healthy cholesterol and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and thats only a few of the benefits to consider.
Whether or not you decide to give the Vegan lifestyle a try, you should broaden your knowledge on the subject as the demands in the baking industry are changing all the time, give some recipes a try and share!
Last week our student rep from UCB wrote a blog talking about #WorldWaterDay and how sustainability affects bakery products. We also heard about another story from UCB related to #BrumGoesGreen2019 where a number of Universities in Birmingham were involved in sustainable living events for one week. In the bakery at UCB, students looked at making Recycled Bread which is an interesting subject that we thought you may also like to look at. The link to the blog on the recycled bread, along with some pictures of the bread being processed here so check it out and let us know what you think! Click here to view: RecycledBreadBlog
Have any other colleges or universities been involved in new ways to be more sustainable? We would love to hear from you and any stories you have to share as well!
Did you know that when you eat egg on toast you are also eating 175 litres of virtual water?
A normal day breakfast could be egg on toast, and a slice of bread (30g) contains 40 liters of virtual water, and An egg takes 135 litres of virtual water to produce. This calculations are only taking into account the water used to produce the product locally, when the product is imported, the water footprint is added.
You're probably wondering what on earth 'virtual water' is, well continue reading to find out...
The concept of virtual water was first developed as a way of understanding how water scarce countries could provide food, clothing and other water intensive goods to their inhabitants. As food and other products are traded internationally, their water footprint follows them in the form of virtual water. This allows us to link the water footprint of production to the water footprint of consumption, wherever they occur.
Water is life and our planet is 75% covered by it, that’s why we’re called the Blue Planet yet 96.5% of that water is salt water and only 3.4% is freshwater, which out of that 1.7% is frozen in the glaciers and 1.6% is used 70% in agriculture, 20% goes into industry and 10% for domestic use. While developed countries uses around 282 litres of water per person every day, developing countries can use as little as 20 litres in a day.
It is important to highlight the importance of water in the baking industry. Taking the main raw material within the baking industry, Wheat; a worldwide staple food, and it takes on average 1334 m3/ton of virtual (hidden) water to produce it.
Being conscious about water can help us in the future of the baking industry by making sure there is enough of water to grow, harvest, clean and process all the ingredients to manufacture bread, cakes and any other baked goods.
What are you doing today to save water for the future? What are your thoughts on this, comment below to let me know!
Thanks for reading,
Macarons, a product created as a simple treat with no filling now evolved into a patisserie delicacy! They're most popular in France and many believe they originated from there but actually they were invented in Italy! Though, the filling of ganache idea came from a chef in France.
Often people confuse macarons for macaroons but to clear the confusion, macarons are simply made using egg whites, ground almonds and sugar whereas macaroons are a small biscuit containing either coconut or almonds.
The ongoing trend of replacing a wedding cake with a macaron tower is still popular in today's industry, maybe there's a reason for that...Fun fact: a macaron is approximately 70-100 calories whereas a slice of cake is approximately 260 calories...maybe that's why everyone is loving them?!
Many people will only share their baked items that look fantastic but these macarons are tough to make! So perhaps it would be good to share any tips for making the perfect macaron and if you have experienced any issues, share with us! We'd love to try help you out.
I hope you have enjoyed these fun facts, have you made any macarons?
Just a quick blog about the Rising Star Award which is one of the categories within the Baking Industry Awards, one of the major highlights in the UK baking industry calendar. The event is run by British Baker. The Baking Industry Awards are an unrivalled opportunity to celebrate with the most innovative people in the baking industry. Held at Royal Lancaster, London on Wednesday 4th September 2019, this is an evening not to be missed.
Reasons to enter and attend these awards:
Rondo are sponsoring the "Rising Star Award" again this year. A number of bakery students and trainees in the past have entered and won this award. To enter, visit the British Baker website www.bakeryawards.co.ukwww.bakeryawards.co.uk/enter/ and follow the instructions to register.
To give you an idea of what Rondo are looking for, here is what they say about what the successful applicant might look like:
"The Rising Star Award is open to all ages, but is aimed at those in work, training or Bakery College who can demonstrate their achievements over the past three years since entering college or the bakery industry. Entrants may be from a college, or craft, supermarket, plant, ingredient or equipment companies. Judges are looking for a individual who will contribute to shaping the future of the baking industry. If you believe you, or someone you teach or employ, is that person, enter now." ~ Source British Baker Website
Good luck to all of you that are entering, or have already entered, and we look forward to hearing who the finalists and winner is in September!
what is your favourite pancake topping?
Pancakes, typically made up of Flour, Eggs and Milk are now much bigger than we thought! Everyone enjoys adding their own creation of toppings but now the actual pancake flavours are changing too...
It seems that this years ongoing trend is to add alcohol in anyway or form, yes that's right people have created gin&tonic pancakes. The question is, at what time would would you eat these pancakes? They're usually a breakfast feast but it seems the public devour pancakes morning, noon and night!
Though, another ongoing trend is trying to make pancakes as healthy as possible! Substituting white flour for wholemeal or even coconut flour to cater for those that are gluten free. Personally I just prefer a drizzle of maple syrup and a mixture of fruit :).
Let us know what your favourite pancake topping is and share your creations!
Hugh Weeks was well known in the industry as a baker of outstanding skill and talent; and he was Past President of the Alliance for Bakery Students and Trainees. After his retirement from a long and successful career as a demonstrator for Renshaw, Hugh spent a great deal of time as a highly respected judge of bakery goods in all manner of different competitions. He had a genuine desire to pass on to young bakers as much knowledge and advice as he could, and never failed to take the opportunity to talk to students whenever they happened to cross his path. He was always especially keen to encourage young people who worked hard to challenge themselves not only in their drive for education, but also for the good of society.
The Executive Committee is pleased to announce the inauguration of a special award to be presented in Hugh’s name, and in the presence of his family, for the first time at the ABST Conference at Alton Towers from June 7-9th 2019.
The criteria for the successful recipient reflect Hugh Weeks’ own drive for excellence in all things and are as follows:
In summary, we wish to reward the student who shows a real passion for, and dedication to, the industry whilst showing special consideration for other people. Tutors and trainers may nominate one candidate to go forward to the final selection panel. The finalists will be interviewed by the panel either by Skype or conference call during May 2019, with the three finalists being announced on Saturday June 1st. The overall winner will be announced at the Black-Tie Dinner on Saturday June 8th, and the award will be presented by members of Hugh Weeks’ family.
The award will include the following prizes:
• A cup, to be retained for one year £250 cash
• A selection of bakery books
• A bakery internship (details dependant on award winner)
Nominations should be directed to the Sara Autton firstname.lastname@example.org and must be received before Wednesday 1st May 2019. Nominations should be accompanied by a short statement detailing the achievements of the candidate according to the criteria stated above.
University College Birmingham Level 6 BSc students visited AB Mauri Centre of Excellence in Corby yesterday. UCB BSc student, Leandra Molina explains a bit more about the experience and how it will benefit her and fellow Level 6 students in the future:
"UCB provides trips to Bakery students throughout the length of the course (at least one every year) including Fine Lady bakery, Heygates Flour Millers and Delifrance. This time was a visit to AB Mauri, and it has been the best experience I’ve ever had.
AB Mauri was very welcoming by preparing a complete whole-day introduction. Activities ranged from a tour of their NPD department, to meeting room talks about ingredient functionality and the importance of enzymes within the baking industry. I had the opportunity to meet many members of the AB Mauri family and was thrilled by how knowledgeable and passionate they are. Product development director Jim Hawkridge and research development manager Matt Green talked about bread production and what kind of products they use in bread manufacturing, including bread improvers and sourdough cultures. Kevin Clark development manager on the sweet baked goods and Steve, with more than 14 years working at AB Mauri, focused on the essential ingredients and its functionality within sweet baked goods. We also met the HR manager, who gave a really motivational presentation on how important it is to discover ourselves and how we can work to improve our potential. Not only will this help us to stand out of the crowd when looking for a job, but will also benefit the industry by bringing our unique talents.
It was amazing to go around and look at all the equipment AB Mauri have to develop and test their products. It was a pleasant surprise to realise how UCB labs are equipped with industry standard equipment and how as a student, I have already used most of them, from the bakery’s bread mixer to the lab’s texture analyser.
AB Mauri also prepared a dynamic game, where we tasted and examined loaves of bread and cakes to highlight the importance of certain ingredients.
We also met the entire R&D team, including UCB graduates Hannah Parry and Laura Underwood and Senior R&D Technologist Hanna Conneely. They talked about the importance of their role and how we, as students, can aim for that type of Job.
Overall, it was an amazing experience to go to AB Mauri. I met lovely passionate people and saw that the baking industry is starting to open the doors to students that will soon become its future! Thank you, AB Mauri, for this motivational experience."
UCB BSc student, Leandra Molina
Fellow UCB Level 6 BSc student Megan Roberts also said:
"We are always asked as students how the industry can engage more with students and our trip to AB Mauri was a perfect example. A learning experience for all, through a day of theory and practicals, we embraced who AB Mauri are as a company. For me it was a fantastic interactive learning experience that was fully engaged by both staff at AB Mauri and students from UCB. One of my favourite things was a career segment on how set yourself personal values and build your career, a very insightful piece for all students starting our career within the baking industry. I think we all owe a massive thanks to the organisers from UCB who set this up and all of the staff at AB Mauri for an unforgettable day."
UCB BSc student, Megan Roberts
Students were also given goody bags to take away with them which included a USB stick with all of the presentations from the day, to support them further with their studies.
Images of Bread and Cake Fault activities in the ACE test bakery:
Innovative Burger Bun Competition kindly sponsored by Guenther Bakeries
On Saturday 16th February two representatives from Guenther Bakeries came to University College Birmingham to judge the competition we've all been waiting for. The array of entries from colleges all over the UK were amazing, shining with innovation and flair.
Stephanie Nicole one of the Guenther Bakeries judges commented "the standard of products displayed today are impressive, it's clear that the students have worked hard to create these interesting concepts. The winner had managed to include all the flavours typically in the burger into the bread dough, amazing!"
1st - Ronnie Galway (UCB)
2nd - Christine Cooke (DIT)
3rd - Abby Lee (Sheffield)
Very Highly Commended - Liz Brynes (Limerick)
Well done to all those who had entered and we can't wait to see the entries at this years conference!