Eco-novice solves a storage quandary
I started making my own whole wheat bread about a year ago.
At first, I stored my bread in plastic bags that I'd kept from store-bought bread. One of the benefits of homemade over store-bought is that you can use reusable rather than disposable packaging.
But I didn't like using the plastic bags. For one thing, they aren't really made for long-term use and aren't particularly durable. Also, it's actually a bit of work to undo a twist tie and untwist a plastic bag to take out the loaf so you can slice it. And then you have to put back the loaf, twist up the bag, and put on the twist tie again. So I started looking for a container. Eventually, my sister gave me a plastic CD container (#5 polypropylene) to store the bread in. It was the perfect size and the lid was easy to take on and off. I could easily do it one-handed.
But after a while, I started to wonder about the plastic. Almost all plastics have mysterious undisclosed additives Plus it seems like they are adding triclosan to all kinds of stuff these days. And my bread container wasn't even intended for food storage, so who knows what it had in it. So I started looking for alternatives, hopefully something plastic-free or almost plastic-free.
I checked out My Plastic-Free Life to see what solution Beth Terry had come with. She puts bread in a cloth bag and then puts the bag inside a metal popcorn tin. That's a great idea, and it's plastic-free, but way too cumbersome for someone slicing bread lots of times in a single day with hungry children waiting.
Ideally, I was looking for a glass or stainless steel container -- a plastic lid was fine with me. But no one seemed to make a container the right size. I thought about a steel bread box, but it seems they aren't air tight at all, and are more for looks (keeping all bread products neatly tucked away in their respective plastic bags) than for utility. Eventually, I found a glass container with plastic lid at our local container store that looked promising. Sadly, it was just a little too short to work.
I was feeling pretty stumped. I even asked the other Boothers for advice. And then one day, the solution just came to me.
Now I store my homemade bread on a wood cutting board with the old plastic CD container inverted on top of it. So I'm still using plastic, but the plastic isn't touching my bread at least. Not plastic-free, but perhaps we could say plastic-lite. When the loaf is partly used up, I'm able to turn the loaf cut-side down. This is not an airtight system, but it keeps out enough air to keep my bread fresh and yummy for nearly a week, which is as long as a loaf ever lasts at my house anyway.
P.S. I bake bread 4 loaves at a time. I freeze 3 of them.... in plastic bags. No solution in sight.
How do you store your homemade bread?
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