I've been seeing a lot of Facebook posts recently about people who are starting to bake, or to try to cook things in a different way. We're all avoiding the grocery store if we can (wisely so), but I've come to realize that a zero waste lifestyle is really resilient to interruptions like these. Am I eating all my normal snack foods? No. But am I glad that I've learned some simple zero waste hacks that make it easier? Of Course!
First - Yeast. So you want to try your hand at baking bread, but can't find yeast at the store? You don't need it! Yeast is literally everywhere in our world, including on that raw flour you just bought, and all that stands between you and a sourdough starter is a little patience. To make sourdough starter from only flour and water:
Add equal weights flour and water. Stir to a paste, and let sit for 24 hours. At the 24 hour mark, and each 12 hours following, feed your starter. In 4 days, you have sourdough starter! I suggest 150g each flour + water to start and for each feeding. At a feeding, put in 75g of the starter with the fresh stuff. You can discard the rest, or better yet...
MAKE SOURDOUGH CRAKERS! Using the discarded sourdough starter, add a scant cup of flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup room temperature butter (I use olive oil for vegan crackers), and any dried herbs you want for seasoning. Mix it all together, wrap in a beeswax wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll them out to 1/16" thickness, and cut into bite sizes. Shaping it is optional. At this point, I like to brush with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt and/or flax / chia / hemp seeds. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.
Finally, my favorite hack! During my last trip to the grocery store a couple weeks ago, there wasn't much vegetable broth left, so I started making it. When you're cooking vegetables, just toss the (clean) potato skins, carrot peels, celery stalks, onion peels, WHATEVER into a bowl... freeze if you need to save more than a day. When you're ready to make stock, throw in all of the veggie bits with 4 quarts of water, and let simmer until it becomes tasty. After it has developed some good flavor and color, salt it to taste. (I didn't measure, but it was maybe 2-3 teaspoons for the 4 quarts? Go slow - you can always add more salt.)
Hope y'all enjoy some of these recipes! Did you try it? Let us know how it turned out!