I love bread.
I don’t like cooking.
Almost all bread comes in plastic bags.
This is a bit of a hurdle to my plastic-free living. The bread aisles are long and well-stocked with plastic wrapped carbs. Most bakeries have the fresh bread bagged and ready, enticing me to just buy them and recycle the bag with a partially responsible shrug. But reducing waste pulls me towards other options.
To live with less plastic, I found I have 2 choices:
1. Buy bread from the bakery at at the grocery and take something to wrap it in to avoid the plastic bag.
2. Just make a little loaf in my bread machine.
Years ago I bought a Cuisinart Bread Machine. It sat around for awhile, occasionally used, but now it has lots of work to do baking bread and omitting plastic bread bags. In about 10 minutes before work, and with less effort than loading up a slow cooker, I can put the ingredients into the bread machine, and push a few buttons. We come home to a lovely loaf of bread that smells awesome.
I timed it once, and my hands-on time was under 4 minutes! What is easier than that?! My favorite recipe is French bread, since the ingredients are only water, salt, flour and yeast. Fast, delicious, simple.
I have found that a huge part of living with less plastic is about changing a mindset. Normally, plastic = easy. Plastic = clean. Plastic = convenient. But that’s not always the case. It’s something we’ve grown accustomed to, things our disposable habits reinforce.
I used to think using the bread machine was time-consuming and labor-intensive. But it can literally take 4 minutes of my time. Four. Minutes. That’s way faster than going to buy bread. Probably faster than just checking out at the store with the bread.
Once I got the loaf bread down, I branched out a bit. It is also shockingly easy to make pizza dough in the bread machine, and hamburger buns and flour tortillas without it. The kids helped make tortillas, my teenager flipping them on the stove.
All of these homemade breads taste so much better than store bought, and the satisfaction you feel after baking it yourself is big.
When it comes to storage, you don’t want your bread to dry out. I have a large bread box that fits several loaves, each wrapped in a clean, dry kitchen towel. Nothing dries out and nothing has gotten moldy. We have stored a loaf for nearly a week with no problem.
I couldn’t do this plastic-free life without the beauty of the online community. You can google recipes for so many things. Here are the recipes I like best:
French Bread, 1 1/2 pound loaf in bread machine:
1 1/4 cups room temperature water
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 1/4 cups bread flour
1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
Add all ingredients in order and start bread machine, mine is on the French/Italian bread setting and 1.5 pound loaf.
I use the Cuisinart recipes in the bread machine manual for pizza dough and several other breads as well!
Happy plastic-free, time-saving baking!