If there was one food item that I would take with me to a desert island, it would be bread. But I’m also an absolute fiend for a bargain, and cheap bread is usually good to. Catch is, it’s usually wrapped in plastic. It was time to turn the luxury of buying a fresh loaf, into our everyday routine.
Getting rid of what you’ve got
If you’re like old me and buy cheap bread from the supermarket, then you know they come wrapped in plastic with a bread tag. Although the plastic can be recycled via RedCycle, the bread tags are too small to be put into kerbside recycling as the machines are not refined enough to sort them. Therefore every bread tag you’ve ever thrown away, is sitting in landfill, which is a horrifying thought. If you really don’t want to give up the cheap bread, then there a ways to re-use bread tags. These include things like separating messy tv cables or for labelling plants, but go to this list for more simple ways to re-use bread tags!
Buy yourself some really good bread
There’s nothing better than a fresh loaf of bread. It used to seem like such a luxury for us, but now we’ve made buying fresh bread a normal occurrence in our house. Buying fresh bread doesn’t have to be expensive, even Banjo’s and Baker’s delight sell fresh bread super cheap. We personally buy ours from Hill Street Grocers, because we live 30 seconds away, and they have a great stock of bread from bakers like Zum and the Summer Kitchen Bakery. There’s never a shortage of bakeries in any town, so just find a bakery you like and make the switch.
Make your own bread
If you are really clever, you could avoid all of this by making your own bread. I am admittedly not a very good cook, so I haven’t been brave enough to venture into the bread making world. Furthermore, making bread can be time consuming. I’ve thought about investing in a bread maker, or even beginning a sourdough starter for an endless supply of sourdough. But until I’ve had a boost in my baking self-esteem, then I shall continue to have other bakers make it for me!
Because there’s only two of us, we often never make it to the end of a loaf without one half going stale and inedible. So the best way to combat this is to slice and freeze the bread for longer life. For short term storage (up to three weeks) wrap the bread or place in a bag, and put into the freezer. For longer storage (up to six months), cover in your wrap of choice and re-wrap with foil. Make sure you date it so you don’t forget! I store our bread in the freezer in an old plastic bag that once had lettuce in it, it’s got a double seal and thankfully fits around half a loaf. This was an easy way to re-use a plastic bag we had lying around!
For the half loaf that doesn’t go into the freezer, we just leave in a shady spot on our kitchen counter in our bread bag (read below). But perhaps think about investing in a bread bin to keep the bread fresher for longer.
When buying a beautiful loaf, I’ve found most bakery’s pop them in a brown paper bag. Unless you go somewhere like Banjo’s or Baker’s delight where they have plastic bags. In order to avoid this, the best alternative is a bread bag! You can buy bread bags at most eco-friendly stores, places in Hobart like Unpacked or Teros definitely sell them. Or some of my favourite online stores like Sustomi and Seed & Sprout also sell calico bread bags! But the easiest and usually cheapest alternative is to just make your own.
Make your own bread bag
Even if you don’t sew well, this is literally one of the easiest sewing projects in the world. You could use a machine or sew by hand, or if you don’t sew then ask someone who does! It took me less than 5 minutes per bag. Here’s all you need:
2x tea towels or pieces of linen cut to preferred size
Sewing machine OR needle and thread. Use a large needle suitable for fabric
*Optional ribbon or string
1. Line up tea towels together with inside facing out. Sew down one edge around 1/4 inch in.
2. Continue sewing down along the bottom of tea towels
3. Sew along other edge to top
4. At top of fabric, fold fabric over 1/2 an inch to create a hem
5. If intention to string ribbon through, cut two small holes in the hem line. String ribbon through
Even if you don’t follow this precisely, they don’t have to be perfect! Just strong enough to hold a loaf of bread. I’m certainly no sewer extraordinaire, but I absolutely adore the ones I’ve made! There’s also plenty of DIY bread bag tutorial videos on youtube to follow along too.
For information on RedCycle, head to https://www.redcycle.net.au/what-to-redcycle/
For a few ways to re-use bread tags, head to https://www.thekitchn.com/10-ways-to-reuse-bread-tags-tips-from-the-kitchn-204337
For Sustomi Calico bread bags, head to https://sustomi.com.au/shop/calico-bread-bag/
For Seed & Sprout bread bags, head to https://seedsprout.com.au/collections/bags/products/large-organic-cotton-bread-bag
Follow my Instagram @tassiegirlzerowaste