Imagine the world without anger, without greed. We have the power, the tools, the skills and the resources right now to build a peaceful world, where people live in harmony with the Earth and each other. This blog explores ways we are doing just that, one post, one change, one day at a time. Join me. Tell your stories. Ask for help. Spread your ideas for making the vision real and, well, ordinary.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Zero Waste Challenge: No more plastic bread bags!

Crescent Buns
From Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day
© L Kathryn Grace
When we started eliminating plastic from our waste and recycling bins, one of the biggest challenges was the bread sack. Luckily, we have a couple of handy options for handmade, unbagged artisan breads from our local grocer. They're good, but often stale, and we cannot always get the whole grain, organic versions. No one nearby carries the English Muffins we like.

Ever since Mother Earth News offered a deal on Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day, I've wanted a copy, but I didn't buy it because it was all about white flour. Now the authors have brought out Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, using the same tested techniques, and I'm baking up an organic, whole grain storm.

It really is as easy as five minutes a day to keep fresh, wholesome, delicious breads on hand--and NO plastic bags! We're eating healthier because we can choose exactly what goes into our breads. What's more, the book's Master Recipe uses no oil or fat whatsoever, and the breads are eat-more-now scrumptious.

Yum buns for brunch

Of course, there are plenty of ways to add all kinds of calorie hopping goodies--the cinnamon crescent buns above, which I adapted from one of the recipes, are one example--so we're taking it slow and easy, but on the weekend, when we want a goody, watch out! It's not uncommon to spend twenty dollars on pastries of a weekend morning at our local boulangerie. Now I can pull my sponge from the refrigerator, shape a loaf or buns in a few minutes, let them rest for forty to ninety minutes, depending on the recipe, bake for twenty to thirty and voilà! Yum buns for brunch. No waxy paper bags to compost or pitch and almost no fuss. In fact, I who have never considered myself a cook, feel heavenly domestic.

Who knew living consciously could be so much fun?

This eating healthy, living consciously stuff can be a lot of fun. It gives us the opportunity to build so much goodness into our lives, like the joy of teaching a little one to make "guackers" from scratch. Plus, think of the money we save. Why I can buy enough stone ground whole wheat organic flour to make many loaves and buns for little more than the price of a single artisan loaf of dubious freshness at the grocery.

On my personal Zero Waste challenge: No more plastic bread sacks. 

Your turn

Are you considering challenging yourself to achieve zero waste? Have you already begun reducing? What's your latest discovery in the path to using less, wasting less?

Disclosure:  If you follow one of the Amazon book links above and purchase something, it is possible I will earn a few pennies, and what a thrill that would be. Alternatively, you could check out a copy from your local public library and test cook for a couple of weeks.

We make peace in a million small ways every day.
All text and images, unless otherwise noted, copyright L. Kathryn Grace. All rights reserved.


Wanda said...

I don't know about Zero, but we are making progress. I built an inground composting kitty toilet this weekend. That will significantly reduce the amount of stuff going into the landfill.

Hayden said...

I was using the 5 minute technique as published online at Mother Earth news all last winter. I wasn't thrilled. I DO like the flavor that happens with longer yeast development (which is also what good Italian bread does.) Any chance you'll post your favorite recipe?

Zero waste? I don't feel like I've gotten any closer these last couple of months. Have become stingy about what I obsessively think of as "nutrients" and pans etc. formerly rinsed out, water dumped are now rinsed and water tossed outside on the ground. Grey water, I guess, but not saved so it can be reused so much as saved so the nutrients aren't lost, but returned to the soil critters. And no soap in this stuff. But I guess my usual goats' milk soap probably doesn't have much of anything in it that's bad either, now that I think about it.

Kathryn Grace said...

Wanda, that's exciting, and sounds to me like a huge and significant accomplishment. Are you going to write a post about the project?

Hayden, the Master Recipe on the Mother Earth News site is for their white bread, and I haven't tried that one because I don't care for white bread. Just don't like the stuff. I'm using the whole wheat MR from their new Healthy Bread book and finding it delicious. No recipes of my own to add. Maybe someday.

I love how you are nourishing the soil. During parts of my childhood, we had no indoor plumbing, and the dirty dishwater, bathwater, all went onto the ground. The chickens loved the spots where the dishwater landed. One reason you are high on my list of favorite bloggers is precisely because of your commitment to renewing our soils. There is hardly a better legacy to leave to future generations than living soil.

Jennifer Margulis said...

Yes yes yes, I want to get to zero waste in our family. We do okay--one small bag of trash at most for a family of six--but we could be doing SO MUCH better. I wish more people thought like you. (Instead I get into fights with friends when I suggest we forego plastic bags. I petitioned our Co-op board to start charging for produce bags and the general manager found a million reasons why he doesn't want to)! Thanks for this post. And this blog.

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