zero waste bread

Making zero waste bread

Zero Waste Bread

How to make bread plastic free and with zero waste?

I make bread and pizza dough around twice a week. By making my own I can make sure it is plastic free and zero waste. 

I have managed to source most of the ingredients plastic free.  The salt used is in a cardboard box. Butter is in a paper wrapper. The flour in a paper bag, the eggs on cardboard trays and so on. 

There are two ingredients that have a little bit of plastic. The yeast and olive oil have a plastic lid. However, this still seems better than buying bread in a plastic bag.

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Most recipes for making dough include the instruction to put some clingfilm over the dough when it is rising. However, there is absolutely no need to use this wasteful product. Even if it is biodegradable, it is still intended to be used once and then chucked. A total waste. Plus biodegradable does not necessarily mean it will break down on your home compost heap. It could take months or even years! 

A bread maker doesn’t use clingfilm when the dough is rising as the bread maker has a lid. Any container with a lid or even something rested over it like a plate will do the job just fine.

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Dough loves being warm and will rise more if it is warm. You can even put the dough in the bread maker to rise without the power turned on. 

I usually put my dough in a bowl, then zip it inside a freezer bag. Putting the bag in a warm room or cupboard to prove works really well too.

We have a small south facing conservatory which is perfect for this! However, if you are in a hot country a freezer bag may not be the best solution as you don’t want the bread to get too hot.

After I have let my dough rise I shape it either for bread or for pizza. If for pizza I put it on a pizza stone. For bread I put in a stoneware loaf pan and put it back in the freezer bag to rise again.

I love baking on stoneware. Once seasoned stoneware is naturally non-stick. Meaning there is no need for baking paper, which reduces waste and is perfect for baking bread on!

If you don’t have a freezer bag, don’t worry, there are loads other household items you can use to retain heat. You can also use a wet towel over your dough, but you will have to wash the towel afterwards. I once tried using a shower cap to cover the dough but this isn’t food safe.

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Energy efficient baking

For one loaf of bread a bread maker is the more energy efficient option. However, if you don’t have a bread maker the best way to save energy would be to cook it at the same time as using the oven to cook other things.

Bread can also be baked in a slow cooker which again would be low energy.

Once the bread is made I store it in a reusable bread bag. Be warned home made bread doesn’t stay fresh for aslong as shop bought bread.

If you need some tips on how to use up bread, these are my top ways to make sure nothing goes to waste.

zero waste bread


  1. I've always used a damp teatowel to cover my dough. Afterwards it goes in the pile to be washed when the other kitchen towels and tablecloths are done.

  2. I sometimes make a bread pudding with bread leftovers. In this heat I've had to put some in the bin :-/ A vegetable crumble with a breadcrumb topping is an option too. Anyway, what I really wanted to say was thank you for recommending freecycle. I joined a few days ago and have just sent a message to someone offering our old camping stove. It's nice to know it's going to a good home, and there's none of the faffing about that comes with selling stuff on eBay.

  3. Zoe

    That's great about freecycle – I can't remember what life was like before I knew about it!

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