Matt Delaney is a bakery specialist for Tesco. Here, we speak to him about what this means and what customers can expect at their local in-store bakery.
Have you always wanted to be a baker?
Yes. I started at Tesco in 2005 as a bakery quality-control assistant, before becoming a trainee baker, skilled baker, then bakery manager before I joined the support office. So I have really worked across the whole Tesco bakery chain. I currently look after 372 bakeries in the south of England, supporting them with training development and being on hand to provide guidance for those that need it. Tesco is the single largest employer of bakers in Britain and I’m proud to be part of the team.
How is Tesco bread made?
Bread always sounds simple to make but is actually very challenging when you are producing enough for each day. You start with four simple ingredients: flour, water, fresh yeast and concentrates – a few additives and salt. The ingredients are mixed for 10 minutes, then cut to the desired weight before sitting for 10 minutes to help set and let the yeast work. Once rolled to its ideal size, it will be prepared for the oven by cutting it down and then baked until ready.
How many different breads are baked in store?
There are 18 different types of bread that get freshly made every day of the week, ranging from 400g to 800g loaves. We also offer up to 30 speciality breads as well, which includes everything from walnut bread to a spelt and sunflower loaf. The actual range in store will depend on the size of the store and local tastes.
How often is bread baked in store?
This will vary between store size and demand. But anywhere between one and four bakes throughout the day.
Are the gluten-free breadstuffs made in store?
Unfortunately gluten-free bread cannot be baked in-store due to cross-contamination risks. It requires completely different machinery and preparation areas in order to guarantee no contamination. We do offer a great range of bread in our Free From range, which is gluten free.
Where do you source your wheat?
We support local producers where possible, and the wheat comes from the closest mills to each store capable of delivering the consistent quality of flour we require.
Do you add enzymes to any of your fresh breads?
No, and they are also free from preservatives.
How do customers know that the bread they are buying is of good quality?
The bread is freshly made and baked every single day of the week with fresh ingredients. You can’t get much better quality than that. We also stock product guides in all of our stores that let customers know exactly what is in each of the breads. Customers should also look for the ‘Baked to Order’ logo, which is used on all our freshly prepared lines in store. This is our quality and freshness guarantee.
How can you guarantee a consistent high-quality taste?
The processes, training and baking specification for fresh bread is exactly the same in all stores, so whether you buy your bloomer from Aberdeen or Aberystwyth, it will have the same great taste and quality. The only difference between stores is the hands of the baker that is making it. All our bakers pride themselves on the quality of our bread.
What are the benefits of freshly baked bread over pre-packaged sliced bread?
The key benefit for me is that it is fresh and, as a result, the taste difference is massive. Freshly baked bread tastes far superior. A good quality bread is also low in fat and one of the best sources of fibre.
Do you have any tips for customers to help them make their fresh bread last longer?
Fresh bread can be frozen but make sure it is in a suitable plastic bag. If you don’t want to freeze it, wrap it in a plastic bag. This will keep it fresher for longer, although it may make your crust slightly softer.
What’s your favourite bread?
The tiger cheese bloomer that is made in most Tesco stores.