The good, better and best Bread guide
Bread, brood, pane, pain, brød, duona, kruh
Wherever you live and whatever you call it, bread is likely to be in your diet in some form or another.
I love it as much as the next person –the smell of it when it's just baked, the versatility of it, the different varieties along with the variety of toppings it can be matched with.
Sad news time.
I'm gluten intolerant which is tricky to navigate in the world of zero waste – because the gluten free loaves of bread are often those ones which are in shrink wrap plastic, they have excess non-recyclable packaging or have inner cardboard sleeves which are non-recyclable due to food contamination. I understand, for consumers who are celiac, they need to trust that their foods have not touched any gluten containing items so they can rest assured that they're not about to poison themselves.
I'm not celiac, I'm intolerant to gluten. Eating it is not damaging to my long-term health, but it does upset my stomach, my sleeping pattern, my concentration and my skin, so I know it's best avoided. For me, a gluten free, zero waster, I do find it frustrating that these GF products are wrapped in such materials that are damaging to the environment.
I wish there was another option when buying from the shops, that could meet peoples dietary needs, but not spoil the environment.
This, teamed with the fact that my boyfriend is dairy free (I know, we're a right pair) and that I enjoy making foods from scratch means that I make my own bread. I have put my oat bread recipe below.
If you're time short, not gluten or dairy free, or just totally CBA to make your own bread, here are our zero waste suggestions. We have split them into a GOOD option, a BETTER option, and the BEST option. Depending on what stage you're at now, try the next level up when you buy bread:
- GOOD: Supermarket shopping, off the shelf
Opt for the bread wrapped entirely in a paper which can be recycled, or, if this isn't possible, buy it in the plastic wrapper and find a bag recycle point which you can use.
Avoid the paper bags with the film windows, as these can't be recycled easily.
- BETTER: Supermarket shopping, from the baked goods section
A lot of supermarkets, both the lower and higher end ones, have a baked goods section.
Take your own bread bag, or a clean pillowcase, tote bag, beeswax wrap or another suitable container, to avoid having to take a new one.
This option is better as you've removed the need to recycle any packaging.
- BEST: Shopping from a bakery or farm shop
Like the previous step, bring your own bag/wrap/box to take your baked goods away in.
Why is this the best option? Well, I believe in supporting small businesses and farmers over supermarkets. I also believe that they use higher quality ingredients and are naturally less wasteful than a supermarket as they don't distribute their goods around a country or continent.
Make your own! Source your ingredients from a bulk shop, or, buy the flours in recyclable packaging (this is often the only option when baking GF and DF). This is why I've called this a low waste bread, rather than a zero waste Bread, as I end up with some form of packaging at the end.
- Wooden spoon, or, a bread machine, if you have access to one
- Bread pan
Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Low Waste Bread
Yes, there are still ingredients in it, not just air...
Author: A Zero Waste Life
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Proving time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 45- 60 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Yield: 1 loaf
Dietary information: GF, DF
Category: Breakfast, lunch, dinner- whenever you want to eat it!
- 500ml warm water
- 2 tsp dried yeast (if you can't get this from a bulk shop, Allison's yeast is in a tin, for roughly £1)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 500g GF bread flour (Doves farm, Brown Gluten Free Bread flour is amazing, and in a paper packet)
- 100g old fashion oats- gluten-free if required
*Note- this can easily be made into a seeded loaf, by only using 50g oats and using seeds like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds – whatever you can get without plastic!
If you're nowhere near a bulk shop, our friends at Plastic Free Pantry have kindly given you guys a discount code! Just type zerowastelife10 at the checkout.
The photos show that this was made in a Thermomix. It can also be made in a bread machine – I've written the instructions out to be made by hand. See notes at the bottom if you want to use a bread machine/Theromomix.
- Mix the dried yeast into the warm water in a large bowl. Leave the yeast somewhere warm, like in your airing cupboard, for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, use a little oil to grease the bread pan if necessary
- Add all other ingredients to the bowl
- Mix with the wooden spoon. It will be quite sticky, this is normal
- Pour into the bread pan
- Cover with a clean tea towel. Put it back in the warm place you used earlier for up to an hour. It will increase in size, but not as much as a loaf with gluten would
- Meanwhile, set oven to gas mark 6/ 200 degrees/ 400F
- Bake for 45 minutes. Check after this time, and bake for another 15 minutes if necessary
- Remove from the oven. Allow to cool, then remove from the tin
- Add any topping you like. We made Nutella and avocado toast!
Note: if you want to freeze this, slice it up on the day you bake it and lay the slices flat in the freezer.
This bread tastes its best on the day it's baked, then is best as toast.
To make this in a Thermomix: Rather than leaving the yeast to rise in step 1, you can add the water and yeast to the main bowl of TM and set to 2 minutes 30/ 37 degrees/ speed 2.
In step 3, use the kneed function, rather than using a wooden spoon. Select kneed/ 2 minutes 30 on the kneading function.