The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking Humor

Windischgirl's picture

Baking Humor

Ok, one final rant about Switzerland:

The Swiss are the ultimate recyclers.  

During our visit, my 15 yo son accompanied my uncle to the recycling center.  He came back with wide eyes: "they have a bin for wine corks, for batteries, even one labeled 'Alt Brot' (old bread)!  Wonder what they do with that?"

My uncle's neighbor, overhearing, mentions that many farmers use the stale crusts for animal feed.

A month later, I come across Rose Levy's pumpernickel recipe, which specifically calls for bread crumbs made from the previous loaf!  I didn't have the heart to tell my son...


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

We are proud of our recycle centers too! The old bread here also goes to feed fish & chickens. Also, I can trade my dried out bread directly for fresh trout or eggs. It's fun to watch the fish eat the bread. It's thrown out on the water and the fish nibble as it softens. The bread looks more like a ball as it moves and wiggles all over the pond.

A neighbor picks up day old bread scraps from a bakery and dries the bread. Then dumps it into a large grater and feeds his pigs with the crumbs. They love it!  The aroma is fantastic! 

Why would using old bread in a new loaf be upsetting? Sometimes the old bread (if it is still good) has some very complex flavours adding a whole new dimention to a newly formed loaf. I'm sure the recycle center uses the old bread for animal feed. The baker sould keep old bread in very good condition if used into new bread. Most bakeries don't want the day old bread around for many reasons.

The home baker can save money and improve flavour with "soakers." A sourdough loaf that came out too sour could be put into a soaker (softened with water) and combined into a recipe with instant yeast, for example.  Results?  Quick fast sourdough loaf! Just remember that bread crumbs don't contain workable gluten and need to be combined with flour (or something) to hold everything together so there is a limit as to how much old bread can be used. I've gotten away easily with 1/3 of the flour weight.

Mini O

Windischgirl's picture

thanks, Mini.  I'm not so scared by the thought of old bread, but when you're 15... ;-)

I've had wonderful cakes in which the flour component was replaced by finely ground bread crumbs and it was held together by beaten eggs...a wartime treat, I heard.  The texture and taste was similar to cakes that use nut flours...then again, there was some finely grated chocolate added, so how could one go wrong?

Being a good Windischgirl, very little goes to waste here.  whatever old bread there is gets turned into bread crumbs for breading chops, etc; croutons; and the other day I made it all disappear (along with too many eggs) in a savory bread puddiing, aka "strata."

My folks have fish and they tool love the bread.  They seem to be fond of stale cereal as well.  And I just met a farmer who pastures his chicken--yah, better challah!--so I could probably foist some crumbs on him!

This is all making me hungry! 


Paula F

Philadelphia PA