It’s a common question among composters – can you compost bread? For some, the thought of adding bread to the compost may seem like a good idea. After all, it’s organic, right?
Yes, bread can be composted and it adds plenty of nutrients, including nitrogen, and organic matter to the compost pile. It decomposes quickly, especially when chopped into small pieces.
Before you start collecting your stale loaves for the compost bin, let’s take a look at whether or not this is really a good idea.
Why Should You Compost Bread?
We’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat”, but what about when that food goes in the trash?
When it comes to composting, many people are unsure of what can and cannot be thrown into the compost pile. One of those often-debated items is bread.
As it turns out, it’s very beneficial to compost bread, especially old or stale bread that is no longer fresh.
Bread is an organic scrap that breaks down quickly and adds nitrogen to the soil. That makes it a great addition to any compost pile.
However, some composters decry the thought of putting bread in their piles out of concern for attracting pests to the compost pile.
There is truth to this argument, rats and other pests love bread! But if you take certain precautions, you can put bread in your compost piles without attracting animals or bugs.
If you choose to add bread to your compost pile, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First off, fresh bread is frowned upon. The stale stuff is best for adding nutrients to your soil without attracting critters.
Below, we’ll take a look at how to compost bread the right way in more detail.
How to Compost Bread
Here are some tips to help you compost bread.
1. Use an Enclosed and Covered Compost Bin
The first step in composting bread is finding a place to do it. You don’t want to just toss out scraps on the ground – they will attract pests and animals which could become a major nuisance.
The best way to avoid this is by using an enclosed and covered bin or container for your compost pile.
This will keep wild animals out and make sure that your food scraps are properly contained until they decompose.
Just be sure to pick a spot that is away from your home – if you’re living in an apartment, consider getting an indoor countertop composter instead!
2. Break it Into Smaller Pieces
You want to make sure that the bread pieces are small enough to decompose quickly.
To do this, simply tear up the slices into smaller chunks or shred them up with a blender or food processor.
This will allow for more air circulation and speed up the process of decomposition significantly.
Make sure all pieces are no bigger than two inches wide so they can break down quickly and evenly!
3. Place the Bread in the Center of the Pile
Once you have all of your bread pieces broken down, it’s time to start adding them into your compost pile.
When doing this, make sure that you place them at the center of the pile so they don’t get too cold or too hot during decomposition.
This ensures that bacteria have access to oxygen as well as heat so they can efficiently break down the organic matter in your compost bin.
4. Add a Small Amount at a Time
The key to successfully composting bread is in the quantity. Too much bread can cause an imbalance in your compost pile and attract pests.
Start small with a piece or two at a time, and then slowly increase the amount as needed. This will ensure that your compost pile remains healthy and pest-free.
5. Bury It Completely
Bread is delicious for humans, but it’s also delicious for animals like rats, mice, and birds.
To prevent scavengers from snacking on your scraps, make sure you bury the pieces deep within the compost pile so they are not visible from the outside. This will keep critters away from your food waste and help them stay out of trouble.
6. Aerate and Turn the Pile Regularly
Finally, aerating and turning the pile regularly will help ensure that everything breaks down evenly and quickly without any pockets of air or wet spots forming on top of it which could lead to mold growth or bad odors!
Simply use a garden fork or rake every few days to turn over one side of your pile onto another – this will allow for better airflow throughout the entire contents which should improve its performance significantly!
What Types of Bread Can You Compost?
When it comes to bread, the types that you can compost are limited to those that have gone bad. That means no fresh loaves from the bakery!
Any type of stale or moldy bread is fair game for composting—this includes everything from white bread to artisanal loaves.
Does it matter if the bread is toasted? Not at all!
This doesn’t make a difference when it comes time for composting. Toasting does not change anything about how the bread will decompose over time.
So feel free to add both untoasted and lightly-toasted slices into your bin without worry!
What to Avoid When Composting Bread
When you’re composting bread, there are a couple of things to avoid.
First on the list is bread with any dairy ingredients. Dairy products such as butter and cheese contain high levels of fat, which will attract rodents and other animals to your compost pile before they have a chance to break down.
The second thing to avoid when composting is anything that comes in plastic packaging or has a plastic tie attached to it. Plastics are not biodegradable and will not break down in a timely manner.
Plus, plastics can release harmful toxins into the soil which could negatively impact the plants growing from your compost pile.
Other Ways to Get Rid of Old Bread
We’ve all been there before – you bought too much bread or didn’t eat it fast enough and now it’s starting to go stale.
You don’t want to waste food but you also don’t want to eat rock-hard bread. If you decide that composting that old bread isn’t the right choice, there are a few other options.
One option is to make croutons. Who doesn’t love a crunchy, flavorful crouton? And the best part is, making them is super easy!
You can also feed the bread to livestock. If you have chickens or pigs on your property, consider saving your stale loaves for them instead of throwing them away.
And don’t forget about vermicomposting if you’re not sure how you feel about traditional composting.
Vermicomposting is an amazing way to get rid of unwanted food scraps while also creating nutrient-rich soil for gardening purposes.
Ultimately, composting bread can be done but it needs to be done with caution. Bread can take longer than other organic materials to break down.
Make sure you bury it deep enough in your pile so that it doesn’t attract unwanted pests while also avoiding store-bought varieties with additional preservatives which could disrupt your compost’s natural balance.
With these tips in mind, you should have no problem adding small amounts of bread into your compost safely!
Rebekah is a full-time homesteader. On her 22 acres, she raises chickens, sheep, and bees, not to mention she grows a wide variety of veggies. She has a huge greenhouse and does lots of DIY projects with her husband in her ever-growing homesteading endeavor. Learn more about Rebekah here.