Bread is one of Britain’s most wasted foods. In 2013 WRAP reported that the equivalent of 24 million slices of it are thrown away in the UK every day! Ends and crusts are notoriously unloved. Whole loaves go in the bin though, because too many were made and sold by the shops. We also buy too much (often encouraged by cheap prices, special offers and larger loaves working out cheaper than the smaller ones).
What can we do to massively reduce all these loaves being thrown in the bin? I asked the members of the reduce your food waste Facebook group what they do to avoid wasting them and I have listed their recipe ideas below. Their first tip though, was that if you know you won’t be able to make it through a loaf in time, freeze it!
I freeze bread all the time. If I freeze it sliced, I freeze it at angle because it makes it easier to separate the pieces once it is frozen. It will last longer in the freezer and defrosts well. Defrost rolls in the fridge over night to be able to cut them in the morning. Alternatively you can freeze rolls cut open with the pieces separated out to start with. Frozen slices of bread defrost quickly. We often make sandwiches in the morning with the slices still frozen and by lunch time they are fully defrosted. You can also freeze breadcrumbs until you need them. With or without a freezer though, you still might find yourself a loaf you are not sure what to do with.
Savoury use it up ideas shared by the group included:
- Toast slightly stale bread – it tastes just fine!
- Use breadcrumbs in/ on homemade fish cakes
- Cover homemade chicken nuggets with breadcrumbs
- Use day old bread in homemade meatballs
- Top a savoury crumble with breadcrumbs
- Make glamorgan sausages (a type of vegetarian sausage which uses breadcrumbs)
- Croutons e.g. these rosemary and garlic challa croutons
- Melba toast make a delicious alternative to crackers
- Bread sauce. It is meant to be a good eaten with chicken or turkey, but I have never tried it!
- Strata bakes. I had to look this one up! It is a kind of frittata with cubed day old bread and it is very flexible. It sounds like a great way to use up lots of leftover ingredients which can be added to the frittata. You could add cubes of potato to this.
- Savoury bread cases which can be used instead of pastry. To make sure they don’t go soggy cook them in the oven a bit first.
- Sarah shared her marmite and cheese bread and butter ‘pudding’ recipe and has kindly allowed me to reshare it here. ‘I just butter the bread then spread with Marmite. Layer in a dish with grated cheese between each slice. Cover with a milk and egg mix just as you would for a sweet version and then sprinkle some cheese and a bit of paprika on the top before baking in the same way you would do the sweet version.’ I think my kids will love this and it’s on my to try list!
- Bobotie. It is a traditional South African tender and creamy mince meat recipe, which uses a couple of slices of bread – this Bobotie recipe explains more.
- Amy shared her article with more ideas on how to use up your bread
Suggestions for sweet uses included
- Bread and butter pudding
- Bread Pudding
- Apple Charlotte,
- Summer Pudding.
- Bread crumb cookies
So next time you are faced with an excess/ stale / day old bread, don’t bin it, use it up instead! Another post you might like: Making bread the zero waste plastic free way
For an overview of how to reduce your food waste buy my Eco Thrifty Living Book ! One of the central themes in it is reducing waste and the first chapter is all about reducing kitchen waste. The suggestions I make are affordable and could save you money! I think it’s a great introduction to the eco-thrifty life but I’m probably biased. Before you make up your mind, check out the reviews on Amazon and from bloggers: Frugal Family, Inspirationalise , A Refuge for Daffodils and Allotment Recipes.