How to be a more sustainable baker

How to be a more sustainable baker

Sustainability is close to our hearts at Risen. When we created the brand, we made sure that all our choices, even down to the ink used on our packaging, was eco-friendly. Our flour is milled in Austria, where farming practices are at the forefront of environmentally-friendly agriculture, and transported to the UK by rail not road. Our wheat comes from farms that are close to the mill and our millers are committed to zero-waste principles, which means every single piece of wheat gets used and nothing is wasted.  

With our recent heat-wave, a sure testament to the inevitably of damaging climate change, we must strive even more to make better choices for our planet, however small.  Every ingredient swap, every avoidance of food waste, every time you bake your own bread and avoid plastic-wrapped, preservative-laded supermarket bread is a step toward sustainability.

What can you do at home? 

As well as choosing ingredients like Risen flours, which come from brands like us that have made a clear commitment to zero-waste and more sustainable practices, there is a lot you can do to make a difference at home too. These are our baking bread tips that relate to the way you bake - and what you bake with - that will help to ensure that the whole process has much less environmental impact.

  • Don’t use plastic wrap/clingfilm to cover your bowls. If you’re waiting for dough to rise then the first tool you’d usually reach for is plastic wrap. This is usually made from single use plastic that isn’t going to go anywhere but landfill. This type of plastic can be the reason microplastics leach into the soil and when these plastics are incinerated they create greenhouse gasses that make climate change worse.So, instead of reaching for it try something else instead. We’d recommend a beeswax wrap (which is reusable and rewashable), reusable bowl covers or storage lids, old produce or grocery bags or just a plate, lid or pan. Some bakers recommend a shower cap; whilst this is plastic you can reuse it to your hearts content.

  •  Avoid the disposable options for piping, decorating and icing your creations. For example, opt for reusable pastry and icing bags so that you’re throwing less away. Yes, washing the bags is a pain and will have a slight environmental footprint but it’s much less than sending everything to landfill. Investing in a good set will last you years anyway!

 

  • Steer clear of plastic ziplock bags for storage. They are good for keeping things fresh but there are other options that don’t have such a negative environmental impact. You could just make a straightforward swap to reusable bags, for example, or opt for old biscuit tins - or get the beeswax wrap out again. Freshly baked bread doesn’t stay fresh for long so using a tea towel or paper bag for a day helps and has zero impact.

 

  • Find other ways to prep your baked goods for gifting or donating. The plastic ziplock bags tend to make another appearance if you’re going to be giving your food to others. However, they don’t have to. Glass jars and containers are very easy to recycle at home and can be dressed up to look really special and unique - plus, they are reusable. Beeswax wrap is another great alternative or you could simply hand over what you’ve prepared on a plate, if it’s someone you know, of course!
  • Maximise the space in your oven when you’re baking. It takes so much energy to heat your oven up, you might as well put it to good use. Even if you’re not doing multiple bakes, a bit of planning makes it easy to double up on oven tasks. Use the empty racks to toast nuts, roast root vegetables for dinner, or bake off a few trays of cookies at once. It makes total eco sense to use as much of that heat as you can and save on those horrendous energy bills.  
  • Reuse parchment paper until it literally falls to pieces. Why?  Because it is not recyclable or compostable due to it being coated in a thin layer of silicone, making it water and temperature resistant and nonstick (which is why us bakers love it)  So using it as many times as possible before inevitably adding it your local landfill is essential.  You’ll need to wipe it down with a damp paper towel after each use to avoid a build-up of crumbs and grease, if baking biscuits, for instance and make sure you store it where it’ll get plenty of exposure to fresh air. Part of environmental sustainability is keeping waste to a minimum, and reusing parchment is one way you can help do your part. 

Taking these easy steps gets you well on the way to being a more sustainable baker and buying our flour from our sustainable mills in Austria helps us continue our commitment to our eco partners, National Parks UK and Ocean Cleanup. Our planet is in critical need of our help and we are only guests; let’s be the most sustainable, thoughtful guests we can.

For more information on our green credentials, click here