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Archive for the ‘baking’ Category


As the opportunities are endless when it comes to wedding cakes, helping a client create a masterpiece that fits their personality and wedding theme can be overwhelming. From naked cakes to macaron towers and cake tables, we’ve outlined some of the top wedding cake trends for 2016:

naked cake wedding cake trends

Naked Cake

Naked Cakes – Also known as unfrosted cakes, this type of cake allows you to showcase the delicious flavors and colors inside a cake. Naked cakes complement rustic and shabby chic events, which is a trend that’s continuing in 2016.

Watercolor – A trend that has made waves in other industries like body art, paintings and fashion, watercolor is gaining popularity in cakes. Using color gels, fondant, and a little alcohol, such as vodka, cake artists create beautiful, sophisticated pieces of art.

cake table wedding cake trends

Dessert Table

Dessert tables – Who wants to pick one cake for a special occasion when the options are endless? As couples are opting for dessert tables on their special day, this gives you the opportunity to showcase your creativity and create a masterpiece of sweets, which doesn’t have to include only cakes.

Buttercream – It’s never gone out of style, however, 2016 is the year buttercream wedding cakes will make a comeback. Not only does it taste delicious, buttercream can give cakes a more relaxed look, which also complements the popular rustic theme. Buttercream icing also makes beautiful flowers, including authentic looking roses, pansies, peonies and dahlias – all popular flowers in the wedding industry.

macaron wedding cake trends

Macaron Tower

Macaron madness – With the cupcake trend phasing out, couples who are looking for a unique cake experience are looking to macarons, which have been growing in popularity for some time.

Modern creations – Although many weddings include a traditional wedding cake, we’re predicting that 2016 will be the year of modern designs. Cakes made with architectural influences and geometric patterns in metallic and bold, dark colors are just a few twists making wedding cakes more modern.

lace wedding cake trends

Lace Wedding Cake

Lace – Lace has become a popular choice for both wedding gowns and cakes since the Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge (a.k.a Will and Kate) got married in 2011.

What wedding cake trends are you excited to try out in 2016? Whether you’re going to try some new ideas or not, working with your client to create an essential part of their special day is the icing on the cake.

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Sheeting dough by hand is a strenuous job when working in a bakery. And once again, time is money. Save time, labor and money with an easy-to-use Dough Sheeter to process your dough.

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There are several manufactures of sheeters including AcmeBloemhof, and Rondo to name some of the more popular ones. There are a variety of sheeter makes and models, each of which is designed for a specific function. Call Horizon Equipment for assistance in selecting the right sheeter for the application you have. The right equipment makes all the difference in the success of your bakery business.

If you are in the market for a new sheeter or have one that has years of service, it is very important to maintain and repair it with proper parts and supplies. Horizon Equipment can assist with all your parts and service needs as well. If you already own a Dough Sheeter, let’s take a look at some of these key equipment parts to make sure your equipment is up and running at its top performance.

Dough Sheeter Belts. There are several different types of belting material used on sheeters. There are rubber, nylon, Teflon and even natural fabric or cotton belts used on sheeters depending on the application. There are even specialty and custom belts for those great items your plan to produce. Some belts are connected by glue, while others have stainless steel clipper lacing. Just take a look at your belt and get familiar with the ins and outs of your Dough Sheeter.

How will I know if my sheeter belt is worn? When your sheeter belt is worn, you will see frayed edges or it might be splitting and will start to fray. Sheeter belt edges fray when your Dough Sheeter is not tracking properly. This is the time you want to call and get a new belt. It’s also a good time for a tune-up to adjust the tracking. Schedule a maintenance tune-up for your bakery equipment at the same time. Our Service Team will install your new belt and have you up and running in a flash. You do not want to wait until material off the belt ends up in your product for your customer to find!

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You might not know what type of belt your Dough Sheeter has, but knowing the make and model of your bakery equipment is the first step in getting the correct part. Being familiar with the material is also a great piece of information. This information is important to pass on to our Parts Team so they order you the correct piece. It’s possible one of your Dough Sheeters has one type of belt, while the other has a different kind. It does matter which belt goes to which machine, so be observant. A common problem with many sheeter operation issues is that someone has replaced the belt with something different than what was originally supplied with the equipment. Another important piece of information to provide our Parts Team in assisting you with the right choice for your sheeter belt is the width and thickness of the belt and the overall length.

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 Sheeter Scrapers. Sheeter scrapers keep the roller clean as the dough passes through. As with Dough Sheeter belts, there are several types from plastic to blue steel, to stainless steel. As they become worn they should be replaced so they don’t damage the sheeting rollers. One very expensive replacement part on a sheeter is the sheeting rollers, so protect them by changing the scrapers. Our parts experts can assist you in getting the right replacement scrapers for your sheeters.

Chains, sprockets and other moving parts. Inspect, clean and lubricate to prevent unnecessary wear on moving parts.

Electrical. Be sure to inspect and replace any electrical cords or safety switches that are not functioning properly. A sheeter is actually one of the more dangerous pieces of equipment in the bakery, so make sure it is up to code for your sake and the sake of your employees. Have a qualified equipment Service Technician examine and make any necessary repairs if you are not comfortable in doing it yourself. Safety first!

Once your Dough Sheeter is tuned-up and ready to roll (literally), you can continue making your baguettes, mini croissants, pasta, and pie crusts to enjoy!

With proper care, your Dough Sheeter can last for many years! For equipment and parts for your Dough Sheeter, contact Horizon Equipment atwww.horizonequipment.com or (800) 394-4674.

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Horizon Equipment has a great team of Service and Parts Specialists ready and willing to help you choose the proper belt or other parts for your bakery equipment. We make it easy by providing maintenance tips to optimize the performance of your equipment to keep your bakery business running.

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Last month we talked about plugging profit leaks in Your Bakery. This month we are going to talk about getting more for your bakery products by increasing your customers’ perception of the value.

The Wow Factor: What makes you say “Wow!” when you experience great bakery products? Is it the smell of a fresh apple pie or the aroma of fresh bread? Is it the beauty of a wedding cake? Is it the texture of a fine cheese cake? Could it be the taste sensations of a rich chocolate brownie with fudge icing topped with a scoop of ice cream and chopped walnuts?

Bakery products have a high “Wow Factor” because they appeal to four of the primary senses. Bakery products with a high “Wow Factor” look, smell, taste, and feel terrific. Achieving a high “Wow Factor” is a function of applying baking skill to the best ingredients. Starting with premium ingredients is essential. Skill is then applied to mix and bake the ingredients to achieve the best smell, taste and feel.

 Appealing presentation calls for creative design – proportion, color, and texture. Award winning presentations are achieved through a combination of the artistic skills of a sculptor and a painter — bakery products are multi dimensional. One characteristic of appealing bakery design is to present the ingredients contained in the product in such a way that the customer can imagine a sensational taste experience from the moment they lay eyes on the product.

Over the years bakers have become very creative in the use of toppings and presentation methods that allow internal ingredients to show through. Artisan breads are topped with seeds or oat flakes or dusted with flour. Pies and tortes have lattice top crusts with openings that show the fillings inside. Cakes are topped with drizzle, nuts, icings or whipped toppings.

Layering ingredients is another way to increase the “Wow Factor”. Layering allows bakers to combine ingredients for better taste and look and to add variety to a product line. Lemon meringue pie, German chocolate cake, cheese cake topped with strawberries, and even Oreo cookies are examples of layering.

The Wow Factor Payoff: Bakery products with a high “Wow Factor” are immediately more appealing. They create more excitement and they trigger the impulse to buy. Customers will also pay more for high “Wow Factor” products. The “Wow Factor” then is necessary to grow sales volume and generate higher unit selling prices.

What is the best way to get the “Wow Factor” to pay off – to increase bottom line profits? The problem with the “Wow Factor” for many bakers is the increased cost of premium ingredients and the extra labor required to apply these ingredients. Layering of ingredients requires multiple depositing steps. Adding toppings and textures can be very labor intensive and generally takes a higher level of skill.

To make matters worse the motions required are very repetitive and very stressful over time. Absenteeism and repetitive stress claims cut into profits. Pastry bags also used to manually apply drizzles, borders, and rosettes and it can take up to 22 lbs. of pressure to apply icing to a cake. Side crumbing which adds to the look and taste of a dessert is another decorating function that is usually performed manually.

There is also the issue of controlling the premium ingredients that are being applied. The natural tendency is to over apply the ingredients. If a little is good, more is better and no one wants to be under the weight on the label. The ingredients used to increase the “Wow Factor” are often some of the most expensive ingredients used in the overall product – Chocolate ganache, rum mixes, whipping cream or dolce de leches spreads.

Acheiving the Wow Factor: How then do you get a high “Wow Factor “and keep your cost of ingredients and labor under control? How do you have your cake and eat it too? As you may have picked up on this article, we were throwing little hints that relate to taking those high stress, high cost, inconsistent processes and replacing them with various pieces of equipment.

We’re not suggesting you lose that special touch that has made you a favourite among all your customers. We are suggesting that you take those processes, review them, make them more efficient, accurate and enjoyable while adding $$ to your bottom line.

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Last month we talked about maximizing the profit on the products that run through your ovens.
This month, we will discuss inconsistent depositing before baking.

Some of the problems caused by inconsistent depositing are:

  1. Under weight and over weight deposits
  2. Damaging product during depositing
  3. Trailing or spillage of product during depositing

Under weight and over weight deposits:
When bakeries use inconsistent methods of depositing batters and fillings, your finished product
will either be overweight or underweight. The amounts could be small based on each production
run but add that up over a year of full production.

Methods where each deposit has to be measured or scaled are usually the most inconsistent.
In these situations the tendency is to over deposit to make sure that the final product weights are no less than the label weight on the package. The result is a direct hit on profits. After-all the baker can not charge for any of the ingredients that are over deposited. Improving the accuracy of the depositing system allows a baker to hit the label weights more accurately and virtually eliminate the profit leak from over depositing.

The first step in improving accuracy is to improve the scaling of ingredients. Modern day premixes go along way to making scaling more accurate. However there many bakeries that still make products by the “scratch” method. Some of these ingredients are premium high cost items. When these high cost items are over deposited the profit leak can be substantial.

An easy example of over portioning could be filling Cream Horns or Cannoli’s with a pastry bag. The typical method would be to use a pastry bag and “Eye Ball” the amount or just stop when you feel it’s right. A few problems arise here. Number one, if your Cream Horns or Cannoli’s are inconsistent in size, filling each one will take a different amount of filling. The second problem is obvious; filling these pastries by just “Eye Balling” the amount will almost always result in over filling. Multiply these inconsistent weights throughout the week, then throughout the year, add this up and see where you’re at with ingredient costs.

Solution — replace your pastry bag with a small single piston depositor. This way you can accurately fill each pastry with the exact amount of filling that you budgeted for in your costs. Now you can price your Cream Horns and Cannoli’s properly by having an accurate cost of ingredients on each one produced and sold.

Damaging product during depositing:
One concern with automated depositing solutions is the risk of damage to the product being deposited. Damaged product can lead to rejects or rework. Both of these problems cut into a bakery’s profits. These profit leaks can be prevented by choosing the right kind of depositor.

There are a number of different depositing methods to choose from: Gear pumps, sine pumps, double auger systems, and piston fillers. The key is to choose the best solution for the product being deposited. Bread and cookie or pie crust dough usually work well with double auger systems like the Vemag machine. Gear pumps like the Edhard pump handle donut fillings and some icings very well. And Piston fillers from from companies such as Hinds Bock, Unifiller and Megart work particularly well with batters, icings, mousses, and other flowable products. “The beauty of piston fillers is that the product is transferred by way of a vacuum process. This means that the product in the hopper of the depositor will not change during the depositing process”, says Bruce Williamson of Megart System in Toronto,  Canada. ” Bruce also adds, “When choosing any form of depositor, look for one that is easy to use and 65 set-up, easy to clean and easy to maintain.

Trailing or spillage of product during depositing:
Accurate depositing is not just a matter of repeating the same weight or volume with every shot. Accurate depositing is also a matter of hitting the target every time. Trailing batter or fillings over pans during depositing can lead to rejects after baking or to higher labor costs to clean pans for the next round of depositing and baking. Hitting the target is particularly important when it comes to icing cupcakes. Most cup cakes are sold in clamshells of 6 or 12, or in flat pack boxes of 24 and up. The most efficient way to ice these cup cakes is to ice them in the clam shells or flat packs. After icing, cupcakes can be further decorated with sprinkles, confetti candy or chocolate and caramel drizzle.

With ingredient prices at an all time high, customer expectations increasingly demanding and labor costs rising, examining your post oven production is a great way to close the profit leak and put some cash bash in your pocket.

Megart Systems designs and builds single and multi-piston depositors for fast, easy accurate scaling of a wide variety of products for unique and diverse bakery applications.

Join us next month for “Increasing the Wow Factor – Getting More for Your Bakery Products”

*Above image is a multi piston depositing System from Megart Systems*

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It’s no secret that Season 2 of Next Great Baker has had it’s share of drama. With the sad passing of Sgt. Wesley Durden to Minerva challenging Buddy. Here we talk with Minerva Vázquez who we quickly found out was full of passion, grace and fire!

As an added bonus, she shared one of her favorite recipes with us.

1. Why did you decide to become a pastry chef?
Actually, I’m not a pastry chef; I’m a personal chef and a cake artist. It all started seven years ago when I decided to move from San Juan, PR to Miami, FL. My friends and family were always paying me compliments about my food and desserts; and they would suggest that I should make a career out of it. So, I decided to go for a culinary program at a vocational school in Miami. Soon after that, the word started spreading around. I started as a personal chef doing brunches for small corporations, then private dinners. Desserts were always a hit and suddenly, my customers were asking for birthday cakes. That got me very motivated! I went ahead and took the cake decorating Wilton Method; and that’s how I became a cake artist.
 
2. If not a Personal Chef, or Cake Artist what would you be doing right now?
I love the food industry with a passion! So if I’m not cooking or baking for a specific client; I would be on TV, teaching how to cook and bake for an audience of thousands 🙂
 

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A BAKER’S DOZEN COMPETE TO BE TLC’S NEXT GREAT BAKER

Read exclusive interviews on The Bakery Network: http://www.thebakerynetwork.com/next-great-baker-season-2-contestants

13 Contestants vying for $100,000 prize and chance to work at Carlo’s Bakery. 

Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro is looking for the NEXT GREAT BAKER and 13 aspiring cake artists are entering the kitchen to see if can bake their way to the top. At stake: the sweet prize of $100,000, a four page feature in Brides Magazine, and a chance to work side-by-side with Buddy and his team at Carlo’s Bakery.

The 10-episode season kicks off with a special 90-minute premiere on Monday, November 28 at 9pm ET/PT. The season one finale – which crowned Dana Hebert the winner – averaged 2.34 million viewers, up +67% from its series debut.

“This season is bigger and better – we’ve doubled the prize, the challenges are tougher, and there’s a seasoned ‘bakers dozen’ fighting it out to prove to me they have what it takes to hang with the Carlo’s crew,” said Buddy Valastro.

This season’s contestants include: 

Ryan Cimorelli, Providence, RI
30 years old; Owner, The Bakery Boutique in Smithfield, RI. 

Wesley Durden, Fayetteville NC
29 years old; Active serviceman with 82nd Airborn Division, based at Fort Bragg. 

Chad Fitzgerald, Duncanville, TX
44 years old; Owner of THE CAKE GUYS in Dallas and Duncanville, TX; also a High School Math Teacher. 

Jasmine Frank, Los Angeles, CA
20 years old; Owner of Jazzy Cakes 

Tony Frys, Forth Worth, TX
23 years old; a co-owner of “The Sugar Art” 

Heather Grubb, Knoxville, TN
31 years old; owner of Cake of Knoxville.

Megan Hart, Pittsburgh PA
38 years old; works as a paramedic for the city of Pittsburgh. 

Marissa Lopez, Pompton Lakes NJ
24 years old; Cake decorator at the Brownstone in Patterson NJ and small business owner.

Heather Macia, Las Vegas, NV
32 years old; a culinary school graduate, she currently works as an exotic dancer.

Carmelo Oquendo, Worcester, MA
43 years old; a retired Gang Unit Police Officer and now the “Cakefather of Worcester.” 

Nadine Reibeling, New York, NY
28 years old; owner of Lolly Love, LLC, and also works in catering sales for a hotel.

Minerva Vazquez, Miami, FL
46 years old; a personal chef and cake artist 

Sara Williams, Cedartown, GA
39 years old; owner of a bakery, Crickette’s Cakes 

Contacts: Dustin Smith, (310) 975-1640, dustin_smith@discovery.com
Press materials: http://press.discovery.com/us/tlc/programs/next-great-baker-2/

The series fan site can be found at http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/tv/next-great-baker.  

NEXT GREAT BAKER is produced for TLC by High Noon Entertainment.

About TLC TLC is a global brand that celebrates extraordinary people and relatable life moments through innovative nonfiction programming. A top 10 cable network for women, TLC has built successful franchises around the Cake Boss, Say Yes to the Dress and Police Women brands. In the first half of 2011, TLC had 23 series averaging 1.0 million viewers or more including Extreme Couponing, Sister Wives, 19 Kids and Counting, What Not To Wear, and Kate Plus 8.

TLC is available in more than 99 million homes in the US and 75 million households in 34 countries internationally. A

destination online, TLC.com offers in-depth fan sites, exclusive video content, and original editorial covering style, home, food, and more. Fans can also interact with TLC via On Demand services, on mobile platforms, including an iPhone App, and through social media such as Facebook or @TLC on Twitter. TLC is part of Discovery

Communications (NASDAQ:
DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the world’s number one nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in over 210 countries and territories.

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Who’s selling your bakery brand?

October 2011, TBN staff writer

Your bakery products are exceptional. You’ve invested heavily in the latest store design. And, your marketing plan is solid. So why aren’t your bakery sales where they should be? You might blame the economy or stiff competition, but have you checked your sales force? Who is selling your products and how are they representing your bakery brand?

Too often, hiring sales personnel is an afterthought. But, good salespeople can make or break your business. Especially with the viral nature of on-line business reviews, customer service is critical to any retail business, and retail bakeries are no exception. “Always try to make a happy memory for customers,” said Mark Atwood, owner Atwood’s Bakery, Alexandria, La. Atwood has been in the retail baking business for 34 years and knows what to look for in a bakery salesperson.

He requires all potential staff to take a personality index test to see if they fit four main qualities of a salesperson: self-starter, extrovert, multi-tasker and rule follower. For each quality, however, he stays away from extremes in either direction.

A good salesperson is a self-starter, but not necessarily a leader. “You want someone with initiative, but not too much,” Atwood says. Many retailers make their best salesperson a manager, but that doesn’t always work, he cautions. The salesperson would rather be everyone’s friend than manage difficult situations. An extroverted salesperson is a plus, obviously. They need to speak well and enjoy speaking with a wide range of customers. But, an extreme extrovert needs approval and recognition at all costs. “They’ll promise the world and won’t be able to deliver,” Atwood says.

When it comes to multi-tasking, salespeople need to handle multiple orders and solve problems in busy, stressful situations. “You definitely don’t want a single-task oriented person in sales,” he says. Following rules is a desirable trait for a salesperson, but you don’t want them to be completely inflexible. A rule breaker is worse, however. “If they are too much the rule breaker, it might indicate that they would steal from you,” Atwood says.

Chad Rissanen, CEO of Jett Marketing has his own ‘straight to point’ approach. He suggests that “There are two primary traits that make a salesperson successful; ego and empathy. “You need to check your ego and listen to your customer. Stop talking about yourself and really get to know them so that your next call or visit can be a personable one”. Rissanen adds that “No one is born a super star salesperson. it is a learned skill. There are a lot of aspects of sales including communication, persuasion, persistence, empathy and tenacity. It takes years to develop all these skills. And with the abundance of information available today, you can help shorten the curve…seminars, training courses, books, audio’s etc”.

Over at Atwood’s Bakery, they receive a company manual, initial sales training and continued training with bi-monthly meetings for all sales staff. During the meetings, staff is encouraged to share ideas and sales best practices. To keep the meetings focused on sales, not administrative issues, the bakery posts a “communications log” near the time clock. When all staff clocks in to work for the day, they read the log for key information, such as daily dessert specials, parking logistics or if a manager is off that day. “We don’t have to cover the administrative stuff in the sales meeting because we keep it in the log.” In addition, Atwood’s maintains a library of bakery business and sales books for staff to borrow. His latest recommended read for salespeople is Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard. A well-trained sales staff plays a key role in maintaining Atwood’s loyal fan base. “When someone comes in, they want an experience when they shop.”

Part of Rissanen’s training is what he refers to as the quick Do’s and Don’t’s

Don’t come in with all guns a ‘blazin’
Do build rapport look for commonalities because the the relationship is the deal!

Don’t be salesy and doucey – no one want to be sold
Do have empathy…use a consultative approach ” needs analysis” this way you can find out the actual problem or challenge and provide the solution.

Don’t talk to much
Do ask more questions

Don’t be cocky & arrogant – no one likes cocky or arrogant sales person
Do be humble and find a common point of interest and try and connect.

Don’t Lie….a lot of sales people tend to extend the truth beyond what’s necessary
Do be upfront and honest you will be appreciated more for being straight.

Resources:

Mark Atwood/Atwood’s Bakery – www.bakingmemories.com

Chad Rissanen/Jett Marketing – www.chadrissanen.com

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