Reigning Great British Bake Off champion Nancy Birtwhistle joined forces with charity Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW) to show how stale bread should be viewed as a culinary asset rather than bin lining.
At a pop-up restaurant in London’s Borough Market diners were treated to a three-course meal – only for it to be reveal at the end that all the dishes contained stale bread as an integral ingredient.
The charity dreamt up the idea in response to its research, which found 24 million slices of bread are thrown away every day and that nearly one in five people have thrown away a forgotten loaf without even opening it.
Birtwhistle said: “There’s an assumption with people, my family included, that stale bread means ‘gone off’ bread, fit for the bin, but in actual fact stale bread is an ingredient and we need it for every course in the menu I cooked today.”
She prepared a starter of niçoise salad with black olive croutons, followed by a main of moussaka with a breadcrumb topping and summer terrine for dessert.
“It wasn’t until I came out of the kitchen at the end of the meal and revealed that stale bread had been used in each dish that they all gasped!”
One of the diners, 25-year-old production assistant Holly Harwood, was very impressed by the food.
She said: ‘’I know that stale bread is often used in cooking and it shouldn’t bother people because when prepared properly it tastes really good.”
Forty-nine per cent of adults eat bread every day, but research commissioned by LFHW as part of its ‘Use Your Loaf’ campaign showed that one in 10 bins bread after it passes its freshest state and one in four often throw bread away before reaching the end of the loaf.
Emma Marsh of LFHW said: “It is shocking to think of all that bread going to waste each year just from our homes.
“That’s why we are thrilled to be working in partnership with Nancy to help the nation ensure our beloved bread can be used in so many ways.”
Apart from producing three recipes, Birtwhistle and LFHW have also compiled a top five list of tips for getting the best out of a loaf:
- Most bakery products have a ‘best before’ date, which refers to quality. Your bakery products can still be eaten after this date, but may no longer be at their best.
- Sliced loaves and other bread products are all great for freezing and can be toasted from frozen as and when needed.
- Make slightly stale bread and leftover crusts into breadcrumbs by whizzing up in a food processor – these can be stored in the freezer to use later.
- Storing bread in the fridge can make it go stale faster. The best place to store a loaf is in a cool, dry cupboard or your bread bin.
- Freshen up a day-old loaf by running it briefly under cold water and popping it in a hot oven for 10 minutes.