The Recycled Loaf

Making a new loaf out of an old one

I always have crusts of loaves lying on my bread board and so I often make a new loaf out of the old one. I got the idea from James Morton’s Brilliant Bread book. He calls it The Revival Loaf, I am calling it the Recycled Loaf. I soak the crust in water, break it into small crumbs and add it to the ingredients for my next loaf. It adds texture and improves the taste and reduces food waste – win/win.

Your crust can be any size. The one used in this recipe was very stale and hard and weighed 150g. Yours could be not as stale and weigh more or less than this. It doesn’t really matter. Soak the crust for at least an hour before making the recipe.

A recycled loaf

You can add your soaked and broken up crust to any of your bread recipes to make a recycled loaf. The one I use here is my simple white bread recipe, but feel free to play around. You can add it to your sourdough recipe, your sweet bread recipe etc.

It is difficult to be precise about the amount of water you will need to add as it will depend on the crust you use. A stale wholemeal crust will soak up more water than a fresher white crust. As you are mixing this dough you will need to splash the water in as you go. Squeezing and mixing and splashing until you get the right consistency.

Ingredients for The Recycled Loaf

Whatever crust you have left over
300g warm water
500g strong white flour
5g (or 1 sachet) easy bake yeast or 10g fresh yeast
5-10g fine sea salt
Additional water (you will need varying amounts so it’s difficult to give an amount here)

Method

At least one hour before (or the day before) put the crust in a bowl and add 300g water. Break up the crust into smaller pieces when you can. (My crust was very hard so it took a while for it to soak up enough water to be able to break it up). When it has soaked up the water break the bread up into small pieces. You can run it through the food processor to get it really fine if you prefer. I like mine quite chunky.

Add the flour, yeast, and salt and start to mix. Add more water as you need it, using your hand like a claw and squeezing the dough as you go so that your are squeezing the water out of the crust and into the flour. Mix, adding small splashes of water, until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough.

Allow the dough to rest for 10-30 minutes and then see if you think it needs more water adding. Sometimes as the dough rests the flour absorbs more water and the dough becomes a bit dry. If you need to, add a little more water and squeeze the dough until the water is incorporated. You can now develop the dough using the stretch and fold method or by kneading or in your stand mixer.

Once you have developed your dough, cover it well and let it rest to ferment and rise. This can happen at room temperature or in the fridge overnight. Once it has doubled in size and is light and airy. Shape your loaf and cover again with a proving cloth or oiled cling film. Leave to rise until fully proofed.

Preheat your oven to 220C, gas mark 7, 425F placing a solid shelf in the oven. When your loaf is ready to bake, place in the oven and steam your oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes (depending on your oven) until fully baked. Cool fully on a wire rack before enjoying.

The recycled loaf makes a delicious loaf and saves on food waste. You can find other ways to use up your bread here.

If you would like to learn more about how to flavour your dough and new shaping techniques my online Savoury Breads course might be just the thing for you.

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