I heard a statistic on the radio today. A horrifying one about bread waste. Apparently, in the UK, we throw away 24 million slices of bread every day. Let me repeat that. We discard 24 million slices of bread EVERY DAY! For something which, for many, is a staple, we have a blasé attitude to our daily loaf. Perhaps because it has become a mass-produced, under valued commodity. Don’t get me onto my bread soapbox again or I’ll never get off it. This figure is staggering, and shouldn’t be ignored. I suspect if we valued our bread more, if we made it ourselves at home, or paid an artisan baker a fair price for handmade loaves, our attitudes would be somewhat different – that’s perhaps a whole other argument. The fact remains we waste tons of perfectly edible food. Food which, somewhat obviously, could feed people. It could feed us and our families if we planned with a little more care, and stored bread better.
I must confess, when I was buying supermarket bread, over two-decades ago now, the end of a loaf would often go blue-moulded and get tossed in the waste. Sometimes it would go mouldy before we’d had a chance to eat half of it. Buying smaller loaves more often is one solution, and another is slicing bread and freezing it so you can defrost it when required. Never store bread in the fridge as it dries it out quicker. If you do freeze it, wrap it well in a double-wrap and use it within three months.
These days, there’s rarely any spare bread in our house. As a bread maker you’d think there would be, but it’s always my husband’s complaint that the house smells of bread none of which he’s allowed to eat! Waste bread is not something we suffer from. A standard wholemeal loaf is baked on one day and used for breakfast and/or lunch, and toasted the following day. Loaf gone. If for some strange reasons there’s some left to go stale, it gets dried or frozen for breadcrumbs, to use in no end of dishes. A lot of Europeans still queue for bread each morning, and with good reason. Freshly baked #realbread is something to be treasured in my humble opinion.
If you find you often have loaves that go mouldy, you could do worse than try and buy local #realbread. It will cost you more, but it will taste better and keep better. Your bread is only likely to go stale and dry out. It can still be used right up until the last ‘nobby crust end’. (Don’t ask. I’ve no idea where the name comes from, but it’s what I’ve always called it).
If for some reason you do find yourself with ‘leftovers’, please don’t bin it. Blitz it for breadcrumbs, which make a great topping for gratins, or a stuffing to go with Sunday lunch. If you have a loaf that’s been forgotten, why not make it into Bread and Butter pudding, or a Queen of Puddings? These are recipes which use basic ingredients and are guaranteed to please. For more ideas and information see the links below.
If you’re feeling adventurous you may think about baking your own bread. It won’t save you a great deal of money, if you already buy supermarket bread, but it will give you a buzz of satisfaction to know your loaf has been made by your own fair hands! Look in the recipe section to find the simplest ‘no knead’ loaf you will ever come across. I bet you don’t waste any of it!