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Plastic Free Bread: can it be?

I've been in search of plastic free bread, and I've found one that I really like. They are called Della Fattoria, based out of Petaluma, CA. That's +1 for Della since that places it within a 15 mile range of my home: definitely local! The closest place I can buy it is at Whole Paycheck... I mean, Whole Foods, San Rafael. That's a lengthy 9.1 miles from my house. Hopefully when Whole Foods opens up in Novato they'll carry Della Fattoria because they are less than 4 miles from my house by bicycle, slightly more by car.

Okay, enough about distances & transportation, let's talk about Bread. I tried out a loaf of the LEVAIN. Listed ingredients on the brown paper wrapper are organic wheat flour, water, organic rye, sea salt. Pretty simple really, but as always, the devil is in the details. Case in point: when I looked on the Della Fattoria website, I noticed a discrepancy between the packaging and the website for the listed ingredients on the Levain. I short phone call later and I was speaking with Kathleen. Looks like I managed to find a typo in the packaging! For the complete list of ingredients, see the website. I was looking for something wheaty, soft and tasty so that my son would like it. When I picked it up off the shelf at approximately 6:15pm, it was still soft and smelled good: a good sign! Next to it were several other brands of Artisan Bread, all wrapped in either plastic or paper WITH plastic. Jeebus... why does almost everyone do that? There are some other great bakeries in the Bay Area and almost every single one uses plastic in their packaging, which generally precludes me from buying it despite the good flavors, smells and tastes!

I brought the bread home along with my bulk legumes and grains (unfortunately, I had no cloth sacks for these items so I had to *sigh* use plastic bags.) I spent about 15 minutes attempting to chase down cloth sacks for holding grains/legumes but Whole Foods is not carrying them right now. HERE'S A TIP WHOLE FOODS: PUT THEM NEXT TO THE THINGS THEY SHOULD BE USED FOR SO THAT PEOPLE KNOW THAT THEY HAVE AN OPTION, THEN YOU WON'T HAVE SUCH A HARD TIME MOVING THE PRODUCT! DUH!

So I got the groceries home and put away (which included taking the bread and putting it in a reused plastic bread bag to keep it from drying out), finished making red beans and rice and decided to have a bowl along with a slice of bread with butter. YUM! *special note: when I talked with Kathleen, I found out that Della Fattoria bread should NOT be stored in a plastic bag: they use a wet dough and bake in wood fired ovens and it means that plastic will make the bread go soggy: follow the directions on their website!*

Now, I understand some people don't like Rye or Pumpernickel, and I can respect that, but this is good bread. It's a slightly different taste when you put the different flours together with the wheat, but I dig it: it's very hearty. I had considered the Rosemary & Meyer Lemon bread (it smelled delicious), but I was trying for neutral ground with the boy & I wasn't sure how he'd react. I'll try that next time and let y'all know how it goes. In the meantime, keep your eyes open for plastic free bread in YOUR area. If you live in Marin, check out the store finder at Della Fattoria.

Some corrections from Kathleen:

date Mon, Nov 17, 2008 at 4:37 PM
subject RE: Levain Review on my blog

Hi Ian! Well, not a typo really, just sort of a technical thing related to the way the state want(sic) ingredients listed. Pumpernickel is a coarse rye, like a whole grain rye, but the wording should correctly be rye. For your readers who would like to understand better, this bread is about 60% whole grain 10%rye 40% whole wheat, and 40% white flour. I find kids usually like this bread a lot. It makes great toast and the world’s best peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

The “who carries our bread list” is unfortunately outdated. We stopped serving most of Marin and San Francisco with the exception of Whole Foods San Rafael.

Thank you for taking the time to write about us, word of mouth is the best!



Anonymous said...

This is a really interesting piece. I'm curious to know more. For instance, are you looking for plastic-free bread in order to conserve, reduce chemical exposure, both, or is there a completely different reason?

What can you tell me about water bottles? I know you're against the single-users, which makes perfect sense. But I have read that some of the plastic reusables (and the singles too) degrade over time and the plastic stuff gets into the water. Which plastics are considered safer? Is it better to use a stainless steel container, or are there then concerns about metals in the water?

Thanks for getting me thinking :)

nollij said...

Insofar as the reason for looking for plastic free bread, you should read my article. Then you should read the article linked within that entry: it's what changed everything for me.

Inre: water bottles. Having worked for a water purification company for 2 years, I can tell you a few things about plastics. I'm no expert, but I will say that "bottled water" is a joke. Most of the time it's tap water. The massive increase in single use plastics are directly linked to the DOUBLING in the amount of plastic waste in the North Pacific Gyre in the last 12 years. What is the direct harm to you and I? More toxics in the fish and seafood we eat. It's especially harmful to children. I'm not against plastics completely: I would likely be dead right now if it were not for them (sterilization inre: my recent surgery probably saved me from a nasty infection). What I'm strongly against is single use plastics. Here's a substance that's designed to last forever (it doesn't biodegrade, it's just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces: it never goes back to it's constituent elements) and being used once. I'm sad to say that even "recycled" plastics end up in the landfill most of the time, or they get shipped to china at which point their fate is even more ominous.

For drinking water, I use steel and aluminum, preferably stainless steel. If you have a nickel allergy, stainless steel CAN be a problem, but most people don't have a nickel allergy. The best thing for carrying water? GLASS. Yes, it breaks, that's it's only real downside (ok, it can be slightly heavier too... call the weight weenie whaaambulance and ask me if my name is Karen...).

Camelbak makes bottles now that are BPA free, so if you have to use plastic for a waterbottle, that's probably your safest bet. I'm quite fond of my new Aerostitch double walled stainless steel bottle.. it actually does a pretty good job of keeping water cold and it sounds beautiful when you use it like a gong. They sell them here:

Anonymous said...

Hi. Great that you have found plastic-free bread! If you will label this post simply "plastic" it will show up in the link on Fake Plastic Fish. "Plastic food" will not show up. Blogger's not that smart.

Hey, your friend Dan at the Green Bean says "hi!" He thanked me profusely for connecting you two again, even though I had no idea that I was doing that.

We are all one, right? :-)

And oh, I was thinking about the red pill yesterday. But this time it was about our own perceptions of reality. Deep and mysterious. And I was not under the influence of anything but my own over-active brain.

Rachel said...

So the bread is 60% whole grain and 40% white? And the 60% whole grain is 10% rye, 40% whole wheat, and 10% not mentioned?