I have left the kitchen for last in my plastic free journey because I know it’s going to be a hard one. Everything comes wrapped in plastic, and to make things even more complicated I have kids who want snacks that are wrapped in plastic. To make matters worse, while I enjoy baking and being in the kitchen, my family is largely unimpressed with the ‘copycat’ snacks I’ve tried to make in the past.
My fresh baked bread is also nothing like store bought bread. It’s heavy. It’s crumby. It doesn’t hold together well. It tastes so strongly of bread, it overwhelms all other flavors. It’s fine for eating to enjoy the flavor of bread, but you can’t make a sandwich with it.
That all changed when I decided to try my hand at Focaccia bread. My husband loves to eat sandwiches with focaccia, and I decided to try my hand at making it. I’m so glad I did! I can safely say that this is the first recipe I’ve ever used that made me proud of myself, without needing the opinion of others to bulster that pride.
Best of all, all of the (simple, few) ingredients can be easily sourced outside of plastic. The recipe we made by Ursula from lilvienna.com. The direct link to the recipe is here. You’ll need to visit the blog for the recipe, but we’ll lay out the ingredients here real quick, along with where they can be sourced zero waste:
- 1 cup plus 1 tbsp (255 ml) warm water
Obviously, this can be gotten from your tap without any plastic packaging. 😉
- 2 teaspoons (5 g) active dry or instant yeast
Yeast in a glass jar is readily available at most grocery stores. The glass jar is easily and endlessly recyclable, and so is metal. You can also skip the jar entirely if your local store has bulk bins. Have your bulk bin store zero out your jar and refill it there, or if they don’t allow that, a reusable bag with a weave tight enough to hold it.
- 1 ¼ teaspoons (8 g) fine salt
Salt is also readily available in bulk bins, but the paper salt containers are also readily recyclable.
- 2 tablespoons (25 g) olive oil
Plastic olive oil containers are taking over the supermarket, but there are still glass jar olive oils with metal lids. Oil is very hard to source sustainably if you don’t have access to a refillery, but glass is better than plastic in terms of recyclability.
- 3 cups (400 g) all purpose flour
Flour comes in a paper wrap, which can be composted, recycled, or reused. King Arthur Flour suggests using it as a gift wrap.
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or other herbs) (also fresh thyme, same answer)
I sourced my thyme from my herb garden. Dried herbs can be found in the bulk bin section, but I have found it simply easier to grow my own herbs. If you have a sunny windowsill, a large pot, or a sunny garden, I suggest adding a few herbs as well. 🙂
About the recipe
I highly recommend you try out the recipe, and follow the instructions exactly. Although I thought kneading the dough for 8 minutes was excessive, the dough looks and feels like a professional baker did it if you knead it exactly that much. Really, the whole thing looks like it came fresh from a fancy bakery!
While I don’t think it would be good for PB&J, this is the perfect bread for any savory sandwich–plastic free, and so easy to make. Apart from rising it didn’t take much time at all to make it. I’m still on the look out for the perfect PB&J sandwich bread the kids will adore, but in the mean time, this is a great bread for pretty much everything else!