Not always do we ponder over food waste even though it’s so evident around us. Be it lavish wedding functions, day-to-day activities of a restaurant or even our humble homes, food waste is almost like a habit. Reports suggest that 40 percent of food that is produced is wasted when in fact there are so many simple measures one can take to prevent it. At the recently held Tasting India Farm to Table Symposium in New Delhi, this was the topic of discussion on Day 1, which made all of us sit up and take note, as various panelists spoke about their inspiring initiatives to fight food waste.
A highlight of Day 1 was also the India screening of renowned chef Anthony Bourdain’s documentary called Wasted! The Story of Food Waste. It featured various efforts undertaken by award winning chefs across the globe as well as food conscious people to reduce food waste and come up with cooler ways to utilise the unwanted parts. One such brand that instantly stood out for me was Toast Ale, who use bread waste to make their range of craft beer. Who would have thought beer from wasted bread!
Toast Ale was founded in 2015 by Tristram Stuart, who is an award winning author and an active speaker on the environmental and social impacts of food waste. The idea of brewing beer from bread, which is in fact an ancient method dating back to the Babylonian times in Mesopotamia, came about when he found that shocking quantities of bread crust were wasted on a daily basis, up to 13,000 slices by a single sandwich manufacturer. Something had to be done to make use of the perfectly edible bread parts and brewing beer seemed apt.
Bread beer is made in the same fashion, but replacing 1/3rd of the malted barley quantity with wasted bread. “Bread is combined with malted barley in hot water and the naturally occurring enzymes in the malt turn the starches into simple sugars. Yeast converts the sugar to alcohol and hops are added to give bittering flavours and aroma, and to help to preserve the beer,” as mentioned on their official website.
Since then Toast Ale has gone on to win various awards and accolades, and now offers a rage of craft beer – Craft Lager, Pale Ale and Session IPA, as well as a limited release special summer edition called ‘Top Lager’ which are produced in Yorkshire. They collaborate with craft breweries and bakeries all over the UK, and have also released a special bread beer recipe for home brewers. Read here.
The microbrewery culture is well-established in India by now, so here’s hoping that master brewers in the country join the initiative too and make delicious craft beers from wasted bread.
Images source: http://www.toastale.com