If you have read Part 1
of this series you will know that I shall, if elected, become Master of the Company in November this year. You will also know that I am not a baker but, by the date of the election, will be a retired judge, having retired from sitting at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey) in July. So, in preparation for my Master’s year, I am visiting various parts of the baking industry to see how they all tick.
In January I went to British Bakels in Bicester and learned a good deal about their operation.
The second stage in this self-imposed but fascinating journey was on 6th May when Miriam (my wife) and I went to the premises of Fine Lady Bakeries in Banbury, thanks to Past Master Paul Heygate, joint Chairman and joint managing director of the Heygates Group which includes Fine Lady Bakeries. We were taken round by Paul, David Howlett (joint managing director) and Kayode Adisa (the site manager) who were all generous with their time and patient with wide-eyed novices. What we saw and heard gave me a fascinating insight into the way in which a bakery on that scale works.
Fine Lady Bakeries specialise in supplying own label bakery products to well-known and leading supermarkets the length and breadth of this country as well as to wholesalers and to the sandwich manufacturing industry. The range of breads supplied covers a wide range and shape of loaves. We saw the process from mixing the dough to baking, slicing, packaging and finally placing on the correct lorries for delivery to the customers. The whole sequence for a particular type and batch of product takes a few hours.
I am now beginning to understand the many facets and complexities of baking. Bread is after all the staff of life.