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Caramelised crusts, bread give-aways and basket cases

‘Well-done’ breads cause a stir in the north west, the generous Michigan bread give-away delights America, and one Scottish baker is finally forced to stop nicking other people’s bread baskets. It’s all go in the brilliant world of bread this week. Here’s the news.

Burnt or well done? Caramelised breads hit Manchester

Head for the Pollen Bakery in Manchester, where they’re producing a remarkably well-done bake with an almost black caramelised crust. You might think it looks burnt. But it’s a familiar sight in France, where well done bread equates to traditional French country-style baking.

Hannah Calvert and Chris Kelly are behind the new bakery, due to open this August, and their signature dark baked loaves are already causing a stir, hooking into a trend that hit the USA a while ago. The flavour is totally different, as is the texture, and the crust is a much darker colour than Brits are used to.

The new bakery is small-scale, with limited daily production, and the couple say everything else comes second to the quality of their breads. Using organic flour, a long twenty four hour proving period and traditional French country style baking, their core range will cover six bread types: sour dough loaves, white 24 hour-proved sour dough, seeded granary wholemeal, 100% rye, 20% rye and a barley porridge loaf with an unusually moist, creamy texture.

Free bread give-away in Lansing, Michigan

Lansing’s Recycling Center was the scene of a big bread give-away recently, when literally thousands of loaves were dumped because of a mistake over a trucking company’s load, which didn’t meet the right temperature. The truckers were about to throw the bread away but because it was still frozen, Matthew Nelly from the Lansing Recycling Center decided to give it away instead.

He took to social media and announced his plans on Facebook, a post which was shared more than 800 times in an hour and drew large crowds of bread-lovers to the scene. The hundreds of boxes of bread that would otherwise have been wasted were repatriated amongst local people. More than twenty six foot crates’ worth containing thousands of perfectly good loaves were emptied in no time.

There’s a lot of homelessness in the local community, and some of the bread went to Friends in Need, a group that helps them. As one volunteer said, “If it helps families. I’m all for it. It’s gonna feed their children and it’s going to take a little relief off of them.”

Oi, stop nicking our bread baskets!

It’s a serious business. Back in 2014, two employees from Warburton’s were imprisoned for a decade after nicking half a million quid’s worth of Bakers Basco trays. Now an Edinburgh bakery has been banned from using bread baskets owned by the firm, a facilities organisation created by five of the nation’s biggest industrial-size bakeries.

They’ve taken The Pine Tree Bakery to court over unauthorised use of the baskets, but the Polish bakery has already seen off several legal challenges for using them without permission. Now the courts have agreed to order a Perpetual Interdict, AKA a permanent ban.

Despite the courts already ruling in Basco’s favour ‘numerous times’, the bakery’s owner remained unrepentant and kept on using Basco’s baskets anyway. It’s a sensitive issue since several million pounds’ worth of Basco’s trays and equipment are stolen every year, “by third parties who have no contractual relationship with the bread manufacturers”, often converted for other purposes. Over the past few years Basco has brought around 250 cases to court and won 20 or so injunctions.

The baskets usually have GPS trackers attached, and their owners employ a dedicated asset team whose job it is to recover ‘lost’ baskets that have mysteriously gone astray. This May Basco’s lawyers successfully applied to the Scottish Sherriff Court for an Interim Interdict banning Pine Tree’s owner from using the baskets. Now Pine Tree has two weeks to return the baskets to their rightful owners. If they don’t, Basco will send in Sherriff Officers to seize them.