The Dutch bakers making stale bread fresh again through recycling

In the Netherlands, around 700,000 loaves of bread are left on the shelves every day. They usually end up in cattle feed.

But three bakers in the eastern town of Westervoort have found a way of recycling excess bread for human consumption, removing any potential allergens first.

"Sesame seeds, nuts, everything with meat, animal proteins all goes to the side. And we put the rest in piles, and it goes straight into the machine," explained Paul Berntsen, owner Bakkersgrondstof bakery.

About 20-30% of the old bread can be recycled. It's dried out and finely ground. This creates sourdough again, which the bakers can then add to their new dough.

The project, which receives EU subsidies, recycles 10,000 kilos of bread per year, but the goal is to move up to 100,000 kilos.

Of course, it's one thing to recycle bread, quite another to persuade people to eat it.

"Consumers find the concept of using old bread for new bread quite complicated," explained Rob Besseling of Top Bakkers, "so I think an easier way is for a caterer to choose this bread. And that this is finally presented to the guests in the company restaurant. They taste it and then think "how great, how delicious."

The bakers say that so far cafes and restaurants have been very open to the idea.

Watch the video in the player above.