Thursday, February 3, 2011

Scarface - the Ivory Coast - Blackbread and Cocaine

There used to be a time when bakers were known for being noble. There used to be a time where the guild was enforced by industry ethics. Bakers were connected to the products they sent out of their shop.

But, bakers can also be superstitious, and I think often times the guys that fill your daily bread basket were also afraid of going to BAKERS HELL.

The quickest way one goes to Bakers Hell is by stealing from their employer. The second quickest way is by stealing from the customers. I don't know who installed this code, but it covered the thoughts of both Retail and Wholesale bakers for centuries.

I remember a dozen years ago I bought 55 gallon container of honey from my bakery rep for $488 per drum. The price stayed there for close to a year and a half. When my next barrel came.....BOOM!!!!!

The price jumped to $1016.

The explanation that the "industry" gave out was that some illegal Chinese blends got mixed in with some South American strain that....blah-blah-blah.

There you have it, honey doubled overnight. What are you going to do now with your honey whole wheat, or your black breads?

What a lot of places did was they started cutting their honey with glucose. It was kinda like watching the movie Scarface, bandits would come in and cut this sweetening agents as if it was cocaine. with black breads or marble loaves it's harder to tell.

First off, back when I started my career, there was an unwritten rule that said all marble breads had to be 66% to 75% dark bread with the balance being white. The consumer was paying more for this because "industry standards" declared that a black bread needs honey, molasses and cocoa to qualify guessed it, black breads LOL, but the day that honey went up was the day my industry got greedy.

They didn't call journalists to explain their plight.

They didn't inform local chefs what was taking place. Instead the guild collectively pull a fast one. After all, how would the consumers know, they're all ignorant right?

I don't think so.

Well, the first trick was to split the percentages. without any guild blessing, bakers started going 50-50 with the black & white ratios, sometimes I'm seeing 25% black and 75% white today. Polish Jesus forgive us for our sins!

You might say Klecko lighten up, it's not that big of a deal, well....Klecko would retort "Either is astro turf at Wrigley Field then!"

You see, once you crack the door, you just can't control who or what comes in or goes out.

All black breads use an ingredient called Carmel color. It comes in liquid or powder form. For every 300# of dough you mix, you might put in...oh about 4 ounces (liquid)of Carmel color. The reason for this is it makes the dough a sexier "black".

If you just put the honey, molasses and cocoa in w/o the Carmel color. The loaves crumbwalls and interior turn a musty shade of brown. At the risk of being crude....many of the bakers I've worked with refer to the loaves w/o Carmel color as Turd loaves or Baby Turds.

Then just about the the turn of the new millennium, the guild majority began to make black breads (and marble loaves dark portions) with only Carmel color. They omitted all the sweetening agents.

Every year I get a list from Chicago that reveals insight into what they think America's upcoming culinary trends. The publication also has an "Endangered Species" list. About 2003-04 black bread sales were in the tank. Americans didn't say "We hate black breads because it integrity has been compromised!"

The bottom line is that it just stopped tasting good, and the bakers continued raising the price of this product even though it's ingredient cost was no longer there.

I bring all this up because I've been reading/hearing from my sources that the USA has a block on exports from the Ivory Coast, and if you were not aware......the Ivory Coast is to cocoa like Philly is to cheese steaks.

Let's make sure on our black breads, marble loaves, brownies and cakes that we are purchasing are the real deal. READ YOUR LABELS KIDS.

This has been another Global Feeding System scandal, reported to you by Klecko

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