STORY: New ovens for former National Bakery of the Year

Former National Bakery of the Year Lovingly Artisan, based in the Lake District and Manchester, has invested a significant amount in a new state of the art wood pellet powered oven.

The new Polin oven, installed by Brook Food Processing Equipment, gives the northwest based family-run bakery an increased 50% capacity for bread-making to meet ever increasing customer demand.

Alongside meeting the demand for Loving Artisan’s bread, co-owner Aidan Monks also wanted to look at reducing their overall environmental impact and examine how best to fuel a new oven to achieve a substantial reduction in energy usage.

With that in mind Aidan and head baker Dean Fletcher travelled down to Somerset to meet with the Brook team and take advantage of a full test bake in a Polin oven. They spent the day trialling the ovens integrated loading system, tracking and assessing the bake profile required for their bread range, considering the oven capacity required and looked at the implications of opting for a wood-pellet burner and what that might involve.

After some pretty stringent testing Aidan and Dean decided to opt for a wood pellet burner fuelled steam tube oven, with four decks, giving the team a 10.6m² baking surface capacity to work with. The Polin steam tube style oven is a sophisticated piece of kit, it’s fully controllable and produces a final product that is vastly different from that of a bread baked in a conventional electric or gas fired oven. The steam tube system delivers a much deeper complex flavour and an amazing crust, something that you just can’t achieve otherwise.

Another added bonus is that a wood pellet oven is classified as ‘zero emission’ because the pellets being burnt are made from compressed sawdust, a by-product from forestry operations. Which means they only release the same amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by wood into the atmosphere that would be released during the normal decomposition cycle. Resulting in an impact on the environment equal to zero, unlike fossil fuels, such as gas and coal, which are currently used to produce most of the electricity used by conventional ovens.

For Aidan and his team this isn’t a whim, it’s about caring about what they do. Not just in terms of treating the bread right but it’s about caring for our environment too. Baking by its very nature is energy resource intensive, requiring ovens to burn at temperatures between 200℃ - 240℃ during baking, and then you have all the energy that’s used to get the oven up to temperature in the first place.

Aidan Monks co-owner commented: “We’ve seen an increase in demand for our products from both consumers and the hospitality trader and in order to meet that demand we needed to upgrade our existing baking ovens, which were originally installed by Brook in 2013 when we moved to Plumgarths. We’ve worked with Brook consistently over the years, they’ve always provided an exemplary service, and an in-depth understanding of what is needed to be able to run a successful bakery. Which is why we worked with them to acquire Polin ovens, which are manufactured just outside Verona in Italy and are renowned for their durability and reliability. They have over 90 years of artisan bakery experience behind them, and we wanted to go with the best in the business to ensure that we could meet our existing demand, ensure that we have additional capacity to meet any future demand, and reduce our overall energy usage and become even more environmentally friendly in line with our Green Small Business environmental business strategy.’’

Ann Wells, Commercial Director from Brook Food Processing Equipment‘’When we first met Aidan a few years ago we were blown away by his passion for his business and the messages he promotes, sustainability, using new and ancient grains and the affects of bread on gut health.

Spending just a few minutes chatting with Aidan and Catherine would fail to leave anyone without admiration and excitement for their bakery and brand, what they do is hugely unique.

With experience from years back using steam tube ovens, Aidan told us he wanted to move back to this style of oven, he felt the characteristics obtainable in the end product from the mellow bake with the abundant steam, balanced heat transfer and unrivalled crust were the direction in which he needed his bread to go – we were delighted to be able to help.”

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