I’ve always wanted to make my own homemade bread. But I was always intimidated by the time and many steps it would take to make it. Thankfully, having my new apartment has helped. When I turn on the oven here, it doesn’t get ridiculously hot like it did in my parents’ apartment. So I can actually bake in the summer time! I’ve been baking up all kinds of muffins, cakes and pies with farmers market produce. But now – I knew it was time to give breadmaking a try. I found a relatively straight forward, no-knead artisan bread recipe in Simply Living Well by Julia Watkins. Please go purchase her book – it’s loaded with amazing DIYs and recipes. The recipe in this blog post is based off of hers with a few little tweaks of my own – but seriously, you should check hers out. She has so many great ideas in there for living a slower, more sustainable life. I find myself referencing it often. Without further ado, here’s a zero waste bread recipe even a beginner can do.
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Zero Waste Bread: Easy No-Knead, Artisan Bread
Why make your own bread?
Really quick, before I dive in to the recipe, I felt it was important to talk about why you should make your own bread. If you head to the grocery store, you can find bread there pretty easily. But have you noticed the packaging, or the ingredients list? Bread is often wrapped in hard to recycle plastic film that usually just ends up in a landfill, or worse, the environment. And, there are so many additives in most conventional bread.
That’s why you should consider making your own. Plus, it tastes unlike anything you can grab at the supermarket, that’s for sure! There’s truly nothing like biting into a warm loaf of bread you made yourself.
- 3 cups all purpose flour (I honestly used more than this – give more if the dough is too sticky/wet)
- 1 teaspoon of active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- Herbs (I used dried thyme + basil – but this is optional – add to taste)
- 1 2/3 cups of water (admittedly, I didn’t measure this out perfectly)
Note on packaging: To make things extra eco-friendly, try grabbing all the dry ingredients at the bulk food store. Yes, refilleries do sell active dry yeast – you may just have to ask them where they keep it, as mine keep it in the back of the store and bring it out upon request. Herbs can be grown yourself, or purchased plastic-free at the farmers market. You can also find them dried out in glass jars in most grocery stores.
- Begin by mixing your dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then, gradually add in the water until blended. Mix the dough gently with your hands and mold it (as best you can) into a ball. If it’s too sticky, add in some more flour.
- Cover the bowl with beeswax wrap and let it sit for 18 to 24 hours at room temperature. At the end of this period, there should be some bubbles covering the dough.
- Lightly flour your counter and place the dough on it. Dust the dough with flour and fold it over itself once or twice. Then, dust a kitchen towel with flour, place the dough on it, and cover the dough with another towel. Let the dough rise for 2 more hours.
- About 30 minutes before the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 450 F. Place a lidded Dutch oven in the oven as it warms up.
- When the dough is ready, use a sharp knife to score an X into the top of the loaf (honestly, I tried to, but mine didn’t want to cooperate much). But ideally, each score mark should be ~2inches long and 1/4 in deep.
- Carefully remove the Dutch oven from the oven and place the dough in it. Cover and return to the oven, letting the dough bake for 30 minutes. Remove and take off the lid, then bake for another 15 minutes, or until the top of the bread is golden brown.
- Transfer the load to a wire rack and let it cool for at least 30 minutes. Then dig in, or keep wrapped in beeswax wrap for later!
Note: You can actually freeze your bread to extend its life! But honestly, we ate this bread over the course of one week. So there wasn’t much of a point. I will say it does get a bit stale after about a week, so you’ll want to eat it when it’s at its freshest for optimal flavor!
Video content: Check out reel of me making the bread!
How to eat this artisan, zero waste bread
You can eat it just as is (that’s mostly what I did), pair it with a meal, or top with some vegan butter! Also, try pairing it with some homemade jam for a burst of flavor you’ll never forget!
There’s really no wrong way to eat bread. It’s nice to enjoy with friends and family too! You can make this in preparation for a dinner party, or make it for a bread, wine and cheese kind of night.
So, would you give this zero waste bread a try? Be sure to check out Julia Watkin’s book for more amazing recipes like this!
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