We’ve decided to make our own bread. Home baked bread is yummy, you know what you’re putting in, where the ingredients come from and, depending on what breads you normally get, it could be cheaper than buying it ready baked. We’ve used some vouchers left from Santa to get a bread-maker so that it’s easy to make, and tastes better (I’m yet to make loaf in the oven that doesn’t threaten to become a black hole based on it’s density), so sustainability for us to keep to it is projecting well. Of course, even that wasn’t easy. I organised it to be sent to our old address, leading to groans of ‘why do I make this more complicated than it already is’, but that has been remedied now. I think.
Does this decision wash away a few carbon footprints compared to supermarket in-store baked bread? We get our household energy from renewable supplier Octopus Energy (https://octopus.energy; I’ll probably write a proper thing about them soon), so there is no guilt felt in turning the bread-maker on. I don’t know where the supermarkets get their ingredients from or how far they have travelled before they are used, so I can’t say for sure in that respect. I do know that the stuff we’ve sourced is not bad for the environment, and that’s good enough for me.
Charlecote Mill (http://www.charlecotemill.co.uk) is the nearest flour mill to us, and luckily on the way home from visiting family, so flour pick up is not using any extra petrol if we time it right. Two water wheels to mill the grain sourced from three very local farms make it a exceptionally low impact flour. One big bag means we’re bringing less packaging into our home, and thankfully it’s nice and recyclable. This mill isn’t going to be good for everyone else who gets inspired to do the same thing, as it could be miles from you. Luckily, someone else has made a page of other mills so you can do your own research: http://www.sourdough.co.uk/british-artisan-flour-mills-by-region/
There are only a few brands that make the kind of yeast that work in a bread-maker, so we will just pick the one that has the least packaging, or the one that has the most recyclable packaging. I think we need to do some more research on this, but I am happy with baby steps at the moment.
Sugar is an easy one thankfully – Silver Spoon grow sugarbeet in East Anglia, and you can get it in most shops!
If our aim was just to reduce costs, the cheapest options with no environmental conscience would mean that we’d break even around 50 loaves in. This isn’t our aim and is virtually impossible if you want complete transparency about the ingredients, but we’re only looking at an extra £5 a year on bread at worst (and presuming bread prices stay the same…. 😉 ).