Monthly Archives: July 2018

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ANCIENT GRAIN

100% Rye 6 c

It’s been a good week for archaeology news. Not only did the Brú na Bóinne site give up some more of its secrets after several millennia, but scientists in Jordan have identified bread fragments that date from a period in history long before any others that have been discovered.

There is a timelessness about bread. Its enduring appeal has lasted through the ages in its simplest companionable form of breaking bread together. But the positioning of this baked bread in a period that predates settled agricultural activities, when people started growing cereal crops, suggests that bread became big part of social interaction long before it was a staple food. What is intriguing about this latest piece of information is that there was more than one flour used in the preparation, which makes this a recipe rather than simply a process. It has even been suggested that wheat and barley were cultivated by the first farmers because they were already an important ingredient in special foods for big occasions.

What is evident, however, is that bread has not changed its basic composition in all those years. Flour and water are still the main ingredients.  Grinding, mixing and baking still form the structure of the breadmaking process across the world. Whether the flour comes from wheat or rye, is organic or sprouted, (or in the case of this most recent find, tubers from bulrushes), the fermentation process is the same.

Few things can claim to be that consistent. Although there were advances made in large-scale bread-making in the twentieth century, no one in all that time has come up with a better way of making really good bread.

So we will keep to our methods of long-fermentation coupled with good ingredients and, who knows, maybe in another 14,000 years a Bretzel sourdough will be a piece of history. Now that’s what I would call a find.

William Despard

 

 


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Glad to be Green: Bretzel goes Smart

OG PictureToday we received our Bord Bia Origin Green certificate. The culmination of a lot of planning and hard work, but well worth it. But this is only the beginning of the story. Setting manageable targets, while not easy, is just a plan. Implementing that plan takes the real effort.

The Bretzel has always tried to be green: we have electric delivery vehicles, we do not package our retail bread so there is no plastic or cellophane to dispose of, we make our bread mainly by hand so fewer machines to eat up energy. Sustainability is about more than having special light bulbs and a bag for life. We all agree the planet is in trouble and businesses have a responsibility to minimise their impact on the environment.

The Origin Green programme has made us focus on where we need to make the changes that will have real implications not only for the environment but for the very sustainability of the business.

Smart technology

One of the stumbling blocks we found was that some of our energy use and waste was difficult to quantify. We teamed up with Cognition who introduced us to the Internet of Things (IoT).

Cognition helps manufacturers reduce their energy and production costs and increase compliance using their analytics platform, Cognition World. Cognition deployed dozens of IoT data-capture sensors in the Bretzel, which feed real-time production information into Cognition’s analytics platform.

This helps us get smarter in how we operate and as we learn, we bake better bread. We can see clearly where changes can be made to production processes that make them more efficient and reduce operational costs. And it’s helping us to realise our sustainability targets as well. Smart.

William Despard

#BretzelBakery    #OriginGreen  #CognitionWorld