Three ways to turn restaurant bread into your secret weapon

Three ways to turn restaurant bread into your secret weapon !

Bread can quickly become a major headache for restaurant owners. How does one guarantee fresh, tasty bread at every sitting? How does one ensure it matches every moment of a meal? Above all, how does one manage one’s stores so as to avoid waste on the one hand and serve quality bread even in busy periods on the other?

From bread made on site to parbaked bread with its ever-increasing range of tastes and possibilities, here is a three-point breakdown of restaurant bread.

1. Making one’s own bread
Making one’s own bread in the kitchen? Not such a bad idea, come to think of it. In addition to allowing chefs to give full vent to their creativity and match their bread to their menus, home-made bread enhances a restaurant’s image. Indeed, customers love the thought of fresh bread hand-baked in the oven by the chef and his or her team. However, to have its intended effect, home-made bread must be original, reflect the restaurant’s philosophy, and embody the creativity and authenticity of the menu. In its choice of flour, dried fruit, cheese and/or herbs, home-made bread must be full of promise and can make or break the name of a restaurant.
The stakes are high, but so are the rewards. A word of caution: though home-made bread has few ingredients, it requires a great deal of work, equipment, skill, space and labour. If all you’re interested in is rock-bottom costs and sky-high profits, home-made bread probably isn’t for you.
From kneading to shaping, proving, baking and weighing, making one’s own bread can be a real challenge. Will you be up for it?

2. Working with an artisan baker 

Here’s another idea: working with an artisan baker located near your restaurant. Such a close working relationship can add value to you and your customers. It can give rise to a fresh, quality bread and the opportunity for you to tell a good story (who doesn’t love hearing one!) to your patrons. The trick, of course, is finding the right baker, someone who shares your values, your philosophy … and your working hours.

Here too the possibilities are endless depending on the partnership you form: special breads, novelties, traditional loaves or individual breads are but a few…

Bread is a point of reference: it needs to be constant.

No one knows that better than a good baker. But as with any relationship, this one has some pitfalls. Working with an artisan, no matter how good or trustworthy he or she is, may limit your ability to respond as quickly to situations and keep costs as low as you would like. What about when he or she is closed or away? What about big last-minute orders?

What will you do with unsold bread on days when your customers are not biting? Bread is not all that hard to recycle: think breadcrumbs or toast. But when it comes to meeting higher than expected demand, things can get complicated. What then?

3. Parbaked bread

Clichés aside, what if parbaked bread were a quality alternative? Having a store of individual breads or breads weighing up to 1.1 kg, from old classics to new cutting-edge creations, could be a great way for you to cover all your bases. Whether flavoured with tomato and fig for a taste of sunshine or lemon and thyme for a burst of freshness, parbaked bread is available in a myriad of options to suit every palate.

Parbaked bread can also slot in nicely with your everyday offering by virtue of its variety and ease of inventory.

All right, but what about quality? Quality is paramount, as some suppliers understand very well. One such is Bridor which, far from wanting to replace the know-how of local artisans, positions itself as a partner keen to lend you its support day after day. Aware that everything comes down to quality and taste for you and your customers, Bridor works with names such as Lenôtre and prizewinning master baker Frédéric Lalos to come up with recipes that come closest to the authenticity you’re looking for. In the end, you can at any time serve up warm, crisp golden breads that evoke the past or point to the future.

From traditional loaves made for thick, generous slices to small portions, baguettes, sliced bread, miniature sandwiches, toast and breadcrumbs, parbaked bread can meet a chef’s every need. 

Imagine the disgust of seeing old bread at the restaurant table. Or the disappointment at bread that’s less good than usual. Parbaked bread may have been looked down on in the past (maybe by you or your customers), but when worked professionally and according to strict gourmet standards, it can be a lifesaver and open up whole new opportunities. Plus it is uniquely consistent in its taste and quality.There is no shortage of advice or helping hands, either. Who doesn’t need those every once in a while?

Source (in French): Food Connexion – published on 25/05/2016 by Carole – Team FoodConnexion
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