Day 232: Bread Exchange

artisan_bread_2Wouldn’t it be nice to come into work every monday to a lovely, fresh loaf of bread sitting on your desk?  That’s right, this post is about how you can have fresh, bready goodness once a week without raising a finger (well, almost) or creating any landfill waste.

I have to give full credit for this idea to my sister who started a bread exchange with 3 of her friends back in Ottawa.  The concept is this: you get 4 people together who each agree to bake 4 loaves one week a month and give them to the others.  You make it one week and receive it for 3.

In true energy-efficient style, I figure you might as well fill up your oven while you are baking, so what’s another couple loaves?

I suggested it at work and two of us were really gung-ho (thanks Emilie) and managed to rope 2 more people into it (ie.  we left bread on their desks and they felt obligated to join), so for the past month we’ve each been getting a loaf a week.

Sure, I had to spend one Sunday evening making 4 loaves, but it’s mostly rising time, and it’s a small price to pay for that weekly, waste-free delicacy.  We figure 4 people is ideal because if you have more than that you might have to do two baking batches

And if you’re intimidated by yeast, don’t be.  I always thought yeast was highly technical what with things rising too much or falling disastrously; I was terrified the water would be at the wrong temperature and kill the yeast; I was discouraged by the premise that you had to stick around all day waiting to punch the dough down.

But last year I realized that recipes have usually been tested and usually work out if you follow the directions, so I invited yeast into my kitchen.

I probably do eat too much bread in general (if there is such a thing), but the bread exchange lets us try a variety of flavors and keeps me from buying the packaged kind in the supermarket, so it’s well worth the effort.

So, now that I’m in the bread-making swing of things, I’m calling out to all you fabulous bakers.  I’d love a few new recipes to add to my repertoire.

9 Comments

Filed under DIY, food

9 responses to “Day 232: Bread Exchange

  1. Are you up for experimenting? I like to use my Memere’s very simply bread recipe, but it has vague measurements (as in “flour enough to get thick”). Maybe I’ll just point you to Farmgirl Fare’s beer bread instead.

  2. I have no recipes to share as I am still scared of yeast LOL! But I have to say what a fantastic idea this is. It encompasses so much – lack of food waste, no packaging, using resources in the oven and helping to make others feel appreciated.
    Brilliant idea!

  3. A note on the beer bread: I’ve found that it doesn’t do well over an entire week if you store it at room temperature — it starts to taste sour towards the end. I haven’t tried putting it in the fridge (though that would be the logical solution…).

    Also, it’s not exactly a zero waste recipe since you need a bottle/can of beer to make it. I usually make it when friends offer us beer to take home after a party instead of buying my own. Just some thoughts!

  4. Laura Rogge

    I tried baking bread for years, without a ton of pleasing results until I got the Tassajara Bread Book…amazing!!!!! Get it, it will change the way you bake bread. I haven’t made a bad loaf or dessert yet.

  5. Laura Rogge

    I also meant to say that as soon as we read this idea, I tried it at work…I work in a greenhouse, and we get really busy about this time around here…most people said they’d do it in the off season, but not now. I can understand that someone who doesn’t regularly make thier own bread would find it daunting to start it when time is limited…but I’m going to start bringing in more bread than I normally do, and show them what a good idea this is.

    • Jen CleanBin

      Christine – a bottle of beer is ok by our rules since we recycle our glass bottles.
      Laura – I put that book on hold at the library, so I’m looking forward to trying it out! And good on ya for trying the bread exchange. it is a bit of work, adn it seems like we’ve moved to fortnightly exchanges, but it’s still fun.

  6. Nrthngrl

    This is probably a silly question…….but what are you putting the bread in to get it to the others???? Reused bread bags, paper bags, fabric bags, ???.

    • We reuse plastic bags that we already had (it’s amazing, even though we haven’t been getting any new ones for 9 months now, we still have a a whole sock full of them). Fabric bags would be a good idea though.

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