Stern-Wywiol Gruppe opens new facility in Malaysia

 

07 December, 2018 By Matt Holmes

 

Stern-Wywiol Gruppe from Hamburg is adding to its production and sales network in
south-east Asia by establishing a new production facility in the Iskandar economic zone, Malaysia.

The new production facility for its subsidiary, SternMaid Asia Pacific Sdn Bhd, is the third food industry facility that the family enterprise has opened in Asia after the plants in Suzhou (China) and Mumbai, and its sixth outside Germany.

Clients in the ASEAN region will benefit from more rapid deliveries, secure supply chains and applications advice from a consultant nearby.

The state-of-the-art facility is dedicated to the development and production of food ingredient systems to improve the functional qualities of food.

The facility has three completely separate production lines; initially work will focus on enzyme-based ingredients systems for bakers and millers plus micronutrient mixes to fortify a wide variety of foods and beverages.

The Group has chosen a strategically-placed site. Located in the Iskandar economic zone within the Nusajaya Tech Park, Malaysia, it is ten minutes from the Singapore border and only fifteen minutes from the international container port Tanjung Pelepas.

At the beginning of September Stern-Wywiol Gruppe officially opened this high-tech production hub for the ASEAN region; its neighbours in the industrial park include famous multinational companies in industries such as aviation and aerospace, car electronics, precision engineering and data centres.

The decision to build the facility was essentially a response to the enormous growth potential now apparent in Asia’s emerging countries, whose food manufacturing is marked by an ongoing process of industrialization.

Being present in this part of the world will allow the Group to pursue its “make-to-order” strategy in the ASEAN region. The objective is to provide the greatest possible flexibility when customizing products and to offer on the spot applications advice.

Customers in the region benefit from shorter throughput times, excellent logistics and unbroken supply chains.

Torsten Wywiol, CEO of Stern-Wywiol-Gruppe, declares the opening of the facility to be “an important cornerstone of the firm’s growth strategy for Asia and beyond”.

He goes on to say: “Being so close to customers will allow us to satisfy their need for shorter deliver times and superb logistics even better than before.”

Hendrik Mögenburg, general manager of Stern Ingredients Asia-Pacific, said: “This facility has gross floor space of some 4,000 square metres and three completely separate production lines with total annual capacity of up to 5,000 tonnes; from its very first day in operation the plant will be making a vital contribution to the overall sales and production network that the firm operates in the region.

“Currently our facility is in the process of becoming Halal certified and soon, with FSSC 22000 certification, will be in a position to meet all relevant quality management standards for food manufacturers.”

The basic concept is that of modular, lean production, whereby capacity can be rapidly and easily scaled up or down.

The powder manufacturing systems were made by MATCON, which is treating the new Stern-Wywiol Gruppe plant as its reference model for efficiency.

Indeed, all of the plant machinery was sourced in Europe, parts of the blending system were supplied by the German engineering firm Lödige.

A total of 3.5 million euros has been invested in the facility, which can produce batches varying in size from 100 to 3,300 litres.

In the quality assurance lab, fitted out in accordance with the latest standards and covering several hundred square metres, food technologists conduct microbiological assays, test for heavy metals and perform applications trials.

The methods and quality criteria are based on the Group’s global standards; these are defined and monitored by the Stern Technology Centre in Germany.

The laboratory instruments were all supplied by well-known German manufacturers such as Brabender, the leading company in the international market for rheology equipment.

The Malaysian government has welcomed the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe investment as part of a strategic cluster of international producers, and facilitated the firm’s establishment in the economic zone of Iskandar.

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Wheat growers need to keep their eye on climate change

 

December 6, 2018, By Matt Holmes

 

 

The heatwave in 2018 had a devastating effect on crops across Europe.

The searing weather forced countries that usually export food to import it for the first time in decades.

The Guardian reports that according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), wheat output in the European Union is expected to be millions of tonnes down on last year, with much greater losses in southern Europe than in the north.

France has also been severely hit, and is expected to lose more than 20% of its grain harvests. Italy is expected to lose 13% of its wheat, and Britain 12%. Across the EU as a whole, wheat production is down 10m tonnes, or about 10%.

In Ukraine, once known as the breadbasket of the former Soviet Union, the wheat crop fell to 5m tonnes this year, a 75% decrease on normal years.

A study carried out by the Met Office, released yesterday, suggests climate change has boosted the chances of having heatwaves in the UK.

The record-breaking heat seen in 2018 was made about 30 times more likely because of emissions from human activity.

Greenhouse gas levels are at a new record high and American President Donald Trump has taken a hard line on climate change, pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement.

He said: “The Paris accord will undermine economy,” and “puts at a permanent disadvantage.”

The Paris Agreement was an addition to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC), initially agreed to by all 195 countries present at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conferencein December of that year, including the United States then under the presidency of Barack Obama.

Due to the status of the United States and China as the greatest emitters of carbon dioxide, Obama’s support and his cooperation with China  were seen as major factors leading to the convention’s early success.

For wheat farmers, the changing climate means a whole new way of doing things.

Bernice Notenboom, a climate journalist has written a book called Arctica, published last month, aimed at financiers, CEOs and entrepreneurs.

She said: “The realisation of the effect human beings are having on the world makes some people emotional: we’ve had CEOs break down and become teary-eyed.

“Everyone is torn between seeing the beauty of the landscape and wanting to save it and recognising the huge scale of the challenges the world faces and the simple fact that the easy way out is to do nothing and enjoy what we have.”

While wheat farmers may cherish the land they farm and we all do too, unless something is done about climate change we may not be able to enjoy it much longer.

 

 

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Markus Dedl – keeping the Phytogenic family tradition

The interview: Markus Dedl, Delacon CEO

 

Markus Dedl, CEO Delacon

 

Milling and Grain spoke to Markus Dedl, CEO of phytogenic feed-additive company Delacon, at EuroTier in Hanover.

Since its beginning in 1988, Delacon has followed the vision of founder Helmut Dedl to pioneer a natural way to keep animals performing and healthy. With investment in research and development of plant-based feed additives, Delacon started to replace belief with fundamental knowledge. For this new category of feed additives, Delacon created its own market and coined the term ‘phytogenic feed additives.’

Today Helmut’s vision is being continued by his son, Markus who is CEO of Delacon since 2010.

 

What is Delacon’s ultimate goal and vision, for the industry? How have Delacon helped shape the industry into what it is today?

I can remember smelling the garlic and onion and pepper in our hallway at home – my father had been an industrial chemist working for a local company and he had a strong vision to reduce the use of antibiotics. It was a scientific product and it needed a scientific name – phytogenics.

 

Going in the direction of phytogenic feed additives hadn’t been done before. The sheer fact that we are dealing with natural ingredients has its charm and a good feeling. Also, it is extra motivating because it has a positive impact in the world.It is essential to continue to follow the vision to pioneer a natural way to keep animals healthy and performing because it has carried us to where we are today.The vision has become a reality, but we are still not done working to replace antibiotic growth promoters in animal nutrition in the whole world.

 

What is your personal approach with getting young people interested and involved in the food industry? Do Delacon offer opportunities for young people to get involved and learn more about additives?

Consumers have the power to change every aspect of the animal livestock industry. Their concerns, their acceptance of production methods, should be critical in how our customers and how we ourselves organise our businesses.

Millenials outnumber Generation X and are far more influential than the baby boom generation. Millennials,born between the early 80s and mid 90s, are the most highly educated and culturally diverse group of all generations, closely connected to their social and environmental surroundings they are expected to make up approximately half the workforce by 2020.

They are the consumers of today and will be the big spenders of tomorrow. It is this group of people, highly involved with what they eat and how it is produced, we need and want to communicate with.

We think there is a tremendous opportunity to connect with millennials with a story about animal wellness, good management practices and natural plant-based feed ingredients.

 

Do these connections with your consumers also reflect Delacon’s own personal philosophy of transparency and honesty?

It’s essential to know what makes the world go around on a consumer’s level. Yes, we develop and manufacture additives, our customers make feed and their customers produce animal protein.

That said, there is a great potential to interact with consumers and educate them about the way we cater to their protein needs. We have to be honest, agriculture has a dilemma to some extent when it comes to consumer trust and communication. We want to be transparent, in order to do that we have to communicate and above all, have an honest story to tell.

 

Delacon have grown incredibly quickly in the past few decades. Has this been challenging for the company, in any way?

Growth is, of course, a double-edged sword. In the last 10 to 15 years, we have had annual growth of 20 percent on average. We know 20 percent is a figure where we can grow comfortably without compromising our integrity. When you grow much faster than that, we think it gets difficult to maintain the culture and level of service for our customers.

 

Tall oil – a feed for the 21st century

A FINNISH company says resin from pine trees is the key additive for healthy animal feeds.

Exhibiting at EuroTier 2018, Eija Volkonen, Manager (R&D) at Suomen Rehu spoke about the wonder ingredient which has performed successfully in different countries.

The idea of Progres® comes from an old Finnish folklore tale  which says if you rub pine oil into wounds, they will heal faster.

Progres® is a novel patented feed innovation – the only resin acid product in the global feed market. It supports the gastrointestinal integrity and function of animals in a scientifically proven way.

It is a sidestream of the paper industry. It needs just 500g per tonne of animal feed and costs

“We are the first company in the world to use Tall oil in animal feeds and it really does have an effect,” said Eije.

“Our field trials show it can help to heal animals.”

Due to its unique mode of action, Progres® has shown consistently excellent results in different countries and production conditions.

The product demonstrated a statistically significant effect in 70% of the trials completed by independent institutes. In both institutional and field trials Progres® has constantly improved:

  • the growth and feed conversion of broilers
  • the final slaughter weight and feed conversion of veal calves
  • sow’s and piglets’ performance

Progres® is based on rosin, the natural defence mechanism of coniferous trees. It is produced from tall oil, a co-product of pulp production, using a specific refining process. The bioactive compounds of the product is measurable and heat stable.

Finland has plenty of trees to produce Progres®. Around 74 Per cent of the country is covered in pines.

Proges® is a very Finnish product – a fact the company is very proud of. The website says:

“Pure nature, high standards in animal welfare and good performance of animals in production systems are making Finland very interesting place for companies around the world.

“We are very proud to tell our customers Finnish philosophy in animal production and we have been taking in small groups of people to Finland to show them the Finnish way of doing things.

“Our collaboration with domestic agricultural companies is very good and we are very happy, that together with them, we can take people to see farms to show in practice how it’s done.

“We believe that approaches practiced routinely in Finland, are required and achievable for other countries also.

“Global responsibility in animal protein production forces companies to find new solutions and concepts to meet the challenges of the future, demands from consumers and retailers and to utilize in optimal ways the genetic potential of animals.”

Progres® directly supports intestinal integrity and favourably modifies intestinal microbiota. This results in improved performance and welfare of animals in different production conditions.

Progres was discovered by Juhani Vuorenmaa who wanted to know if he could use pine oil resin as he had heard about it through Finnish folklore.

Woodsmen would rub the resin into open wounds and watch it heal the cut.Progres® has been awarded with the Prize for Innovations, which is bestowed biennially by the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland.

The Federation said: “Progres®, a feed ingredient developed by Forchem and Hankkija from tall oil, may be used to replace antibiotics in feed to improve the sustainability of livestock production and food purity. Progres® has already been awarded several patents and it is extensively used to address the global need to replace feed antibiotics in livestock production.”

Proges®also won Best Idea for 2017 taking 43 per cent of all votes on the Netherlands Association of Veal Farmers’ website.

Juhani Vuorenmaa (R & D Director) said: “On a personal level, this was a remarkable acknowledgement of our persistent work for replacing feed antibiotics and for producing more sustainable and safer food.”

 

 

Algae and Berlin – Olmix takes it on tour

Innovative company Olmix held its Breizh Algae Tour 2018 in Berlin with experts from around the globe in animal nutrition.

Brittany-based Olmix Group’s annual symposium shed light on the company’s algae-based biosolutions to produce more and better in a changing world.

Delegates included 400 customers and partners from 51 different countries at the tour which took place between the 11th and 14th November, 2018.

The 2018 edition focused on how to boost natural defences of animals, plants and humans through natural, innovative and environmentally friendly solutions, and on how to move towards a low carbon agri-food chain by reducing the use of food chemicals, chemical fertilizers and pesticides and antibiotics.

After a warm opening speech by Mr Hervé Balusson, Olmix Group’s CEO & Founder, the conference programme counted on the participation of several international speakers to discuss some of the major concerning issues and challenges for sustainable agriculture and sustainable husbandry.

“There is a need to go from linear agriculture to circular economy and that is only reachable if we reduce the carbon footprint.

“For instance, we can produce top level fertilizers not only in terms of agronomy but also in terms of carbon production. These could be based on natural resources such as algae”, Mr Marc Le Mercier, from Liger (France), said at the first lecture of the morning.

However, even with the best fertilizer in the world, humanity might not be able to face issues such as climate change. Indeed, according to Mr Le Mercier, there is a clear necessity to use a new crypto-currency that creates value while respecting the earth as well as ensuring a low-carbon economy:

Decarbonating our life is the key for an alternative economy. We have to bet on energy that is renewable, bio-friendly, and to produce from local resources. Nowadays producers agree with that approach and they are committed to that integrated production that creates local wealth.

“To achieve this, they will be using a transparent and digital currency known as “clean coin”. This will guarantee products origin while stimulating low-carbon economy”.

The long way that producers have to face to move towards economical sustainability requires new respectful strategies, natural alternatives and a clear communication flow between producer, consumer and society.

When it comes to sustainable farming and plant care growth, there is no way that would be ever possible without placing soil fertility in the centre of the industry:

“Sustainability can only exist when there is economical sustainability and sustainable farming can only exist with a sustainable soil.

“Nowadays we are using more chemicals for the same production, we are dealing with many environmental and climate issues, there is less biodiversity and a clear resilience of the soil… We have to feed the plant in the centre! Let’s move from linear thinking to circular thinking”, Mr Henk Westerhof (Skylark Foundation, the Netherlands), advised the second presentation of the Breizh Algae Tour.

And the same rule can be applied to livestock: reducing the use of antibiotics and bet on natural alternatives is the way to be followed thus opening the path to circular economy. Dr. Ho Hoang Dung, from Viphavet (Vietnam), was clear on this matter:

“In Vietnam antibiotic resistance is an issue of major concern. It is very easy for us to get antibiotics. In Vietnam there are from 50-70% of backyard farms.

“Farmers just go to the pharmacy and get the medicines they think they need. However, people are now more worried about food safety and they are literally looking for a clean label when they go to the supermarket. Antibiotic-free production is not an option, but a must”.

And talking about sustainability, that was also the main topic that Mr Wagner Macedo (Brasil Central Negócios Agropecuários, Brazil), the last speaker of the morning, introduced to the audience; with a particular focus on animal protein: ‘How can we use animal protein to feed people with responsibility?’:

“We have to be responsible with consumers and use the feed to grow animals with responsibility.

“We are responsible for the consumer and we have to make a good and honest appointment between both sides. Healthy environment means healthy animals and healthy animals means healthy humans; it is all about one health.”

On the day where Olmix Group aimed to present its latest innovation of its Immunity range, Algimunthe Breizh Algae Tour offered several high-quality speeches within the afternoon’s technical programme on the complexity of the immune system from theory to practical consequences.

First, it was Dr. Bernd Kaspers, from the University of Munich, Germany, the one to shed light on the two arms of the immune system –innate and adaptive immune system– and how to develop its efficient response against pathogens:

“Immune system has to be faster than pathogens. That’s why the innate response is so quick. Adaptive will take more time to build but has a memory to act quickly the following time”.

Then, Dr. Maarten de Gussem discussed impaired immunity and its practical implication in the field by highlighting the necessity to always quantify the cost of activating the immune system:

“To have a good performance we need to quantify what the cost of activation is. Immune organs are known to be important and their functioning too, and now we are more interested in the cost of immunity and in how to grow animal faster.

“So, the rating of the important organs is changing and the gut and its health is more and more looked at”, he said.

After a presentation on extraction technology to get the biologically active sulfated polysaccharides from algae (Olmix’s MSP®) by Ms Pi Nyvall Collen, Olmix Scientific director and a short reminder on the first product for immunity to be used in drinking water (Searup, launched in 2013) by Mr Matthieu Le Goff (Olmix Group), Algimun® was officially launched.

Recent research between Olmix Group and INRA (French national public institute for agronomic research) led to the demonstration of MSP® effect on immune mediator modulation in cellular models, including the identification of the metabolic pathways involved in this activation. (Berri et al. 2016 and 2017).

This specific extract, originated from green algae was then namedMSP®IMMUNITY.

Then, another research study conducted at IBD (Intestinal Biotech Development, France), allowed to identify a red algae extract able to improve gut epithelium integrity by triggering the production of mucins and reinforcing tight junctions.

The extract, now named MSP®BARRIER strengthens the first line of defence of animals against pathogens. These two MSP® extracts are included in Algimun®.

“Algimun® has a long-term protection, supports the shift between innate and adaptive immunity and its efficacy has been demonstrated in several scientific trials made in broilers.

“Its aim is to boost animal defences during the whole cycle and it is to be used for home-mixers, feed millers, integrators and pre-mixers”, Ms García said.

The delegation enjoyed an exclusive tour of Berlin and a lunch at the impressive Reichstag building which is home to the German Parliament.

 

Algimun®…

  • Incorporated into feed.
  • Reinforces animals’ natural defences.
  • More resistance to everyday challenges.
  • Optimizes growth performance and improves profitability.

 

 

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EuroTier – leading trade fair for animal production

More than 155,000 visitors descended on Hanover in Germany for EuroTier, Europe’s leading trade fair for the animal production market.

Described as the innovation engine for livestock farming, the show featured 2,597 exhibitors and the focus was very much on animal welfare.

“With 2,597 exhibitors and 155,000 visitors, including 46,500 from outside Germany, EuroTier 2018 demonstrated its importance as the world’s leading trade fair for animal production,” said Dr. Reinhard Grandke, CEO of DLG (German Agricultural Society).

The show featured digital solutions based on electronics, control system technology, data management and innovations in the areas of livestock housing, feeding, husbandry and genetics and breeding set new trends for efficient production and animal welfare.

It was a truly international show with visitors from 130 countries. About 30 percent of all visitors came from outside the host country, with the highest-represented nations being the Netherlands, China, Russia, Poland, Italy, Spain, Austria, Ukraine, France, Turkey, Belgium and Denmark in that order.

The proportion of visitors from outside Europe increased significantly. Registered visitor numbers from North and South America, and the Middle and Far East were higher than ever before.

EuroTier’s visitors constituted professional animal producers from all sectors. This is also reflected in the particular area of interest expressed by the livestock farmers visiting: Some 65 percent of visitors focused on the solutions on offer for the cattle species including dairy and beef, with 39 percent focusing on the pork sector and 32 percent on the poultry offering.

EuroTier 2018’s special feature, “Digital Animal Farming”, attracted the attention of visitors through the many practical demonstrations that were on offer. These new digital solutions have the potential to significantly improve farm management, and also ensure the health of animals and enable transparency along the entire value chain.

EuroTier’s technical program was organized by the DLG and numerous partners from industry, engineering, science and consulting. More than 200 events, which comprised special features, conferences and forums, focused on concepts and perspectives that ultimately benefit animal health.

The range of feed and animal health products, with about 750 exhibitors, was particularly noteworthy this year. Recent drought conditions in many European countries mean farmers are looking for feed sources from other regions that offer alternative feed formulations.

EuroTier 2018 presented innovative solutions and practical concepts in the dairy, beef, pork and poultry sectors. These livestock industry solutions tie in closely with the needs of consumers. The 26 winners of the EuroTier 2018 Innovation Award are ideal examples of such solutions. For the first time this year, two award-winning innovations that specifically meet the requirements of higher animal welfare standards also received the additional distinction “Animal Welfare Award”. These products were selected in conjunction with the Federal Association of Practicing Veterinarians (bpt).

EnergyDecentral, which takes place at EuroTier, firmly positioned itself as the leading trade fair for bioenergy and decentralized energy concepts this year. This was clear not only from the extensive range of products presented by exhibitors, but also through the technical programs: The BIOGAS Convention organized by the German Biogas Association, the new conference “European Bioenergy Future” hosted by the Bioenergy Europe organization, and a variety special features and discussion forums.

The next EuroTier, including EnergyDecentral, in Germany, will take place from 17th to 20th November 2020 in Hanover, Germany

 

EuroTier 2018 here I come

 

I am looking forward to going to EuroTier 2018 next week which promises to be another massive agricultural fair along the lines of Space 2018. It was a bit of an eye opener going to Space and one which I won’t forget.

I met lots of our advertisers there and it was good to make contact and find out what their businesses are all about. Before driving to Hannover I will be spending a couple of days with Olmix which is a fascinating company specialising in age-based solutions. One of their major drives is to try and reduce the amount of antibiotics used in feed and food which is something that Perendale   (publishers of Milling and Grain Magazine and International Aquafeed Magazine)  is passionate about. I will be fascinated to hear exactly how Olmix plan to utilise algae based products to reduce antibiotics.

In addition to visiting Olmix and EuroTier 2018 I will of course really be looking forward to immersing myself in German culture once again. Germany is a country I am very fond of I find the nation to be very friendly and welcoming. The food is also among my favourites.

So I will be telling you all about Olmix and EuroTier on my return.

The GRAPAS Innovations Awards

The GRAPAS Innovations Awards are once again open and we need your entries by  31st March, 2019.
Milling and Grain magazine, the oldest milling magazine still in print – and first published in 1891 – is once again holding the GRAPAS Innovations Awards at Victam International 2019 from June 12-14th, 2019 in Köln, Germany.
The award will be made to the most innovative and economically beneficial equipment, process or service in the milling of grains and cereals for food production at GRAPAS Germany 2019.
All GRAPAS Innovations Award recipients will be published in an edition of Milling and Grain magazine along with a review of the event itself. This issue will not only reach MAG print readers, but will be promoted widely through the magazine’s social media to ensure maximum awareness of the Award winner within the milling industry globally.
Nominations are being called for from all sectors of food milling and from non-exhibiting and exhibiting companies alike. Those shortlisted for the award will have the opportunity to display their product in a special award’s area at the entrance to the Victam International exhibition hall for all visitors to view. Visitors will have an opportunity to vote for the most appealing nomination.
Judging
A panel of independent, international industry experts will judge the entries. Their selection will account for 60 percent of the final vote. Delegates attending the one-day GRAPAS Conference on June 13, 2019 and visitors attending the Victam International Exhibition from June 12-14, 2019 will be able to vote on the award and their combined vote will account for 40 percent of the final vote. The Award will be announced during Victam International 2019.
How to enter
To participate a nomination must be an innovation, process or service and comply with the following:
1. Have been introduced to the market after January 2017
2. Be new
3. Make a contribution to efficiency and/or safety
4. Demonstrate significant practical value
5. Applications can be made by both exhibitors and non-exhibitors
As the shortlist of nominations will be displayed at Victam International 2019 for final voting, please be prepared to supply a small display (details of size and dimensions to be forwarded following application submission) to be set up in the Awards Area at Victam.
For further information please contact:
Milling and Grain magazine
Attention: Miss Rebecca Sherratt
7 St George’s Terrace
St James’ Square
Cheltenham
Gloucestershire GL50 3PT
United Kingdom
Email: rebeccas@perendale.co.uk
Tel: +44 1242 267700

Attracting young people into flour milling

I have been in post for around two months and one thing has become clear – there is a real challenge in encouraging a new wave of younger millers into the industry.

Milling is a very forward thinking and exciting industry to be involved with with lots of opportunities but how do we get that message across to young people? When I was going up my first experience with milling was with Windy Miller. He was the iconic traditionalist who ran Colley’s Mill in Camberwick Green and he appeared in every episode of the hit children’s show.

Windy Miller – image by Gary Woodburn on Flickr

While it may not seem that significant Windy Miller at least put milling into my world at a young age – I had an awareness of what milling was all about and as such it put the industry firmly into my psyche. I am not suggesting that inventing a new cartoon character would solve the problem of attracting young people into the industry but it might help. A modern day Windy would have a whole host of new challenges to deal with and a whole host of new technologies to get to grips with. It would not be enough for him to still be using a windmill to grind his flour – he would have lots of options and computer technology to boot. Infra red colour sorters and tools to measure how much protein there is in wheat would all be part of Windy’s day.

How would he deal with the demonisation of gluten? How would he get his wheat to market – all challenges the modern day miller has to face every day. If anyone has any ideas about how we attract a new generation of millers I would be very interested to hear about them – email me on matth@perendale.co.uk.

Irish Halloween Bread

Happy halloween everyone. It’s that time of year when we are all searching for festive treats to eat. It seems society comes up with new ways of making us spend our money whatever the season. For the milling industry it is a time of year when special festive bakes take centre stage so I thought I would share an old recipe with you for Irish Barm Brack.

Barm Brack – photo courtesy of Saving Room for Desert

Barm Brack is a traditional Irish recipe served around Halloween. Barm Brack is a little sweeter than sandwich bread, but not as rich as cake. The Irish bake items into the bread as a game of fortune-telling. Sometimes there is a ring indicating an impending marriage or a coin foretelling good luck or riches.

Ingredients
  • 4-3/4 cups unbleached bread flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1¼ cup milk (heated to 95-100 degrees on an instant read thermometer)
  • ⅓ cup water, plus extra as needed
  • ⅓ cup Irish Whiskey, such as Bushmills or Jameson
  • vegetable oil for the bowl and pan
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1¾ cups mixed golden raisins, raisins, and dried currants
  • 1 -2 tablespoons milk for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar for garnish
  1. Place the raisins, currants and golden raisins in a small bowl or measuring cup. Add the whiskey and ⅓ cup water. Soak the fruit for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. When ready to start the bread, drain the raisins reserving the liquid. Add enough water to the soaking liquid to measure ⅔ cup. Set aside the fruit and liquid.
  3. Sift the flour, allspice and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Stir in the yeast and granulated sugar. Turn the stand mixer on the lowest setting and add the warmed milk, water and whiskey mixture. Mix until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl, becoming slightly sticky but soft.
  4. Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for about 1½ hours or until it has doubled in size.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead lightly for one minute. Add the butter and soaked fruit and work them in until completely incorporated. Return the dough to the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the bread to rise again – for about 30 minutes.
  6. Oil or grease a 9″ spring-form or cake pan. Form the dough into a neat circle and press into the prepared pan. Cover and let the dough rest in a warm place until it has risen again, about 1 hour.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the top of the loaf with milk and sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar. Bake for 15 minutes then cover with foil. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer to a rack and cool.
  8. Serve sliced spread with butter.