You might think that cracking an egg is a tricky operation that needs to be approached slowly and carefully. Not Hallam Barwick. He cracks as many as 700 a day, each in a split second and each with the precision of a true professional.
Hallam, pictured below, is the chef behind Truly Treats the west country wholesale bakers who are committed to making “quality, affordable cakes the old fashioned way”. And that means using fresh, free range supplies from Exe Valley Eggs. But that also means that every egg in their delicious cakes, cupcakes and tray bakes has to be broken by hand. And what pushes up Hallam’s daily cracking record is that he uses Small eggs.
As the eggs in the Truly Treats recipes are measured by weight the size of the individual egg has no importance. “If we are making a batch of large cakes then that will involve eight kilos of eggs,” says Hallam. “I just keep cracking eggs until I reach the weight – picking them up two at a time but using two hands to break each one. On a busy day I can get through three or four boxes each with 180 eggs. What is important is that great eggs makes our cakes taste better. Most bakers use liquid egg that they buy pasteurised. As far as I am concerned having fresh eggs makes all the difference.”
And clearly the Taste of the West judges agree about the Truly Treats quality. The company’s Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting this year won a Gold Award. And demand for treats that range from Millionaire’s Shortbread to Apple and Blackberry Flapjacks; Triple Coffee Cake to Victoria Sponge is booming. Hallam describes summer work levels in the Teignmouth kitchens where he works with two part-time assistants as “frantic”. His sister Ellie and her partner Adam Emberson, who founded the business after their catering experience in France, complete the line-up.
Back at the Exe Valley Eggs farm, John Widdowson says: “Buying Small eggs means Hallam can take advantage of our lowest prices but still be assured of the highest quality. We in fact have limited supplies of Smalls because in a hen’s whole laying life only around one per cent of her eggs are Small. And most of those are laid in the first two or three weeks after the onset of lay. Hens join us at sixteen weeks of age and start laying three weeks later which is when we get the Small eggs.”
And for the record…
Eggs are sold in 4 different sizes:
Very Large 73g and over
Small 53g and under