We all love having a slice or even a loaf of bread every once in a while, especially when it's fresh and delicious. However, us Brits waste about 24 million slices of it every day!!
Generally, because we buy too much, forget that we have it, or put simply it goes blue and green.
Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking to Sophie, a manager at a local bakery. Sophie gave us a few tips on how to be more sustainable when purchasing bread.
Tip One - Buy organic and local
Although sometimes it can be a little bit more pricey buying organic or locally, you are reducing your environmental impact and supporting the local economy. At Sophie’s bakery, everything is organic and the majority of their ingredients, bar the rye, are sourced from the UK.
Tip Two - Size the loaf
For some of us buying a whole loaf is just too much! Now, some bakeries are recognising this and are giving you the option on the size of loaf you want. Whether this is a quarter, half or a full-size loaf. If they don’t offer this option, don’t hesitate to ask - they might be very happy to cut it for you. This is fantastic as you can still get that fresh and delicious loaf you crave, but you can eat it before it goes stale.
Tip Three - Shelf life and storage
Depending on the bread you purchase, the shelf life can vary. Sourdough generally has the longest, this being 4-5 days. Storage is also important to maintain the freshness of the bread. Don’t store your bread in the fridge or in a plastic bag, as these encourage bacteria growth or staleness. Ideally, your bread should be stored in a cool place, either in a paper bag, cotton bread bag or wrapped in a tea towel.
Tip Four - Freezing
Freezing is a great way for bread to maintain its freshness and ensure that it doesn’t go off. If you buy a fresh loaf (unsliced) from the bakery and pop it in the freezer straight away, when you defrost it, it will taste just as fresh. Or slice it directly before freezing for that sneaky piece of toast once in a while. Sophie recommends buying loaves that are either wholemeal or rye, as they are easier to freeze when sliced.
One thing which stuck without me throughout our whole chat and continued afterwards was the love and passion bakers have towards their food. This is 100% expressed in their bread and I feel on a personal level you value eating their bread more because you know where it's coming from and the love they have put into it.
To reduce their waste, bakeries are constantly checking the previous weeks/months/years of that day to assess the order sizes. These obviously fluctuate, but they know their busy days from their quite, and this ultimately stops there from being excessive amounts of bread leftover at the end of the day. Bakeries are also making donations to charities and of course work with us at, Elysia. We buy their surplus bread at the end of the day, to make beautiful sourdough toast topped with melting butter and wonky fruits marmalade for breakfast.
So instead of going to your local supermarket, why not give a bakery a go?
Here are a few of our favourite bakeries:
Also, check out this great initiative also by Sustain called the Real Bread Campaign, and get involved!