Although at first glance Dublin is not really noted for the diversity of its baked products, an immense number of creative concepts are currently scoring points in the Irish capital. With its small pastry shops, bakeries and cafés, Dublin is in no sense trailing behind the trendy metropolises. Perhaps that’s also just due to movers and shakers like the two sisters Regina and Yvonne Fallon from the “Queen of Tarts” pastry shop, who returned to Ireland after learning their craft in New York in the nineteen-nineties.
An article by Hans-Herbert Dörfner, an expert with the Senior Experts Service (SES), a Foundation of German Industry for International Cooperation, Bonn
The Senior Experts Service sends out experts all over the world to communicate knowledge gained from their specialist area to the population in the destination countries. But what happens when, in the country in which he is deployed, an expert comes into contact with interesting products which, although they do not overlap with his area of expertise, do reveal deficiencies in his knowledge about the manufacture and composition of these specialties? That happened to me in Bolivia. The specialty offered in Cochabamba restaurants is called Salteña.
This baked item, which to a German observer looks externally simple, has some special features that will now be followed up. To ensure the necessary competent answers to my technical questions, I enrolled for a basic course given by a specialist.
The signboard was very promising. I thought the course instructor’s name, Anita Lehmann, sounded German. The lady did indeed have German ancestors who had emigrated to Bolivia after World War II. The German language had been lost over the course of generations, and the course took place in Spanish for the benefit of the participants, the great majority of whom were South American.
The baked product is filled, e.g. with carne (minced meat) or pollo (chicken fillet). When all the preparations were complete, the fillings were prepared in a pan with onions.
Bolivian cuisine does not economize on herbs and spices. When we Central Europeans find that eating this food takes our breath away, a Bolivian would then consider the dish to have just the right amount of seasonings.
The fillings are fried in pans, and in the final phase cooked vegetables (e.g. peas, leeks, South American potatoes etc. etc.) are added and the hot mix is deglazed with water and gelatin. In this respect the gelatin has a special function, which will be dealt with in more detail later.
The mix is then poured into molds and stored in a refrigerator.
The dough preparation also has some peculiarities: the ingredients are wheat flour, eggs, salt, melted fat, yeast, water and a vegetable food coloring to give the dough an appetizing yellow color. The question as to whether European food inspectors might suspect this to be customer deception will not be examined any further at this point.
“Learning by doing” was the order of the day, and for some of the participants it was their first experience of dough.
The portioned dough pieces are prepared with a rolling pin, and the filling is introduced. Let us remember that the filling contains gelatin as binder. The mix has solidified in the refrigerator, and thus there are no problems when measuring it out. The filled dough is now shaped into a pasty, closed and sealed. However, what looks easy and simple requires special skill.
The edge of the pastry case is folded over itself again to ensure that the filling, which liquefies again during baking, does not leak out. And this is what a perfectly formed closure of a Bolivian Salteña looks like.
The pasty cases are put onto baking trays and baked at a temperature of 210°C for 25 minutes. Marginal note: Cochabamba – which is where the baking course took place – is at an altitude of 2,800 meters (ca. 9,200 ft.). The baking temperature and baking time must be adjusted to local conditions if necessary.
After being baked, the deliciously tasty Salteñas were a success and were swiftly consumed by the course participants.
Much of the evening course with Anita Lehmann seemed strange to me. The preparation of the specialty, and the teamwork with the Cochabambinos (which is how the residents of Cochabambas refer to themselves), gave me a lot of pleasure and allowed me some insights into the South American lifestyle.
Bread crates, or rather transport crates for baked products, are much in demand. So much in demand (as stolen goods) that industry experts estimate the so-called “shrinkage” at around 3% per year. This box went off course into an especially beautiful and particularly remote region. Where was it found? In the ranger’s cabin of the “Jellyfish Lake” in Palau. Its real owner is the GWF company (George Weston) in Australia, also known there as Tip Top Bakeries.
On 25th of June 2016 in the presence of numerous guests of honour, the new production hall in Heinfels was officially opened. The investment volume is about 70 million Euros. This means that the family business from South Tyrol, which is also active in East Tyrol, has invested a total of more than 160 million Euros in this location.
It can safely be said that streetfood is a global trend and part of the townscape even outside of the big cities. The origins of streetfood probably lie in the cookshops of Asia, although as a general rule streetfood in the developed countries is not cheap. Food trucks are the mobile form of streetfood and are widespread, because production in front of customers needs a certain amount of equipment and raw materials. That’s why this kind of fast food has little resemblance to conventional chip and kebab stalls. The decisive factor for the small meals that are usually offered at markets or so-called streetfood festivals is the quality and freshness of the ingredients and their preparation, which reaches gourmet quality in some places. The range of foods on offer is wide.
Paris is always worth a visit, but anyone who combined a trip to the French capital with an excursion to Europain would have been well advised not to expect a bakery technology trade fair. The range of technical solutions on offer for chain store operators and industrial bakeries was concentrated at the back of Hall 4, where the hall space was considerably decreased by extensive downsizing. Most of the well over 30 companies exhibiting there had drastically reduced their stand areas, for example Mecatherm by two thirds to only 250 square meters. Scarcely any of them showed any great desire to be there again next time.
Uzbekistan is one of five former Central Asian soviet republics, and after gaining its independence in 1991 it is an economically ambitious nation whose efforts to make progress are supported by the Federal Republic of Germany. In this respect the focus is on assistance for medium-sized artisan businesses.
In the context of an assignment for the Senior Experts Service, Bonn, at a long-life baked products manufacturer in Namangan/Uzbekistan, SES Expert Hauch had an opportunity to visit a factory producing typical Uzbek breads. Namangan is situated in the northern part of the Fergana Valley, and with its present-day population of approx. 500,000 it is one of Uzbekistan’s biggest cities. In addition to growing cotton (Uzbekistan’s principal export commodity), light industry and food industry are important economic mainstays of this region.
Bread plays a special role in the Uzbek diet. It is an inexpensive food available almost everywhere in the country, and is served at nearly all mealtimes. The method of manufacture and appearance of the breads differ markedly from baked products manufactured in Central Europe. A medium-firm dough is prepared by hand from wheat flour corresponding roughly to Type 550, together with dried yeast, salt, water and a small amount of fat. After a short proofing, the dough is made up and the dough pieces round-molded.
Hans-Herbert Dörfner works on a voluntary basis, in this country and abroad, as an Expert for the Senior Experts Service in the Foundation of German Industry for International Cooperation, Bonn/Germany. You can also find out more about the SES and the author in our article in baking+biscuit international, Issue 1/2016, from Page 40 onwards.