Bread as naked as the day it was born…

I’m the kind of weirdo that actually likes crust on bread and even loves the heels when I get a chance to have one. But in Japan sandwiches are very widely sold with the crusts cut off and even many loaves of bread in the supermarket have the heels removed, much to my chagrin.

But far more important than the irritation it causes me is the amount of food waste this mass aversion to bread crust creates. Take Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel, for example. In order for this luxury hotel to create their pristine-looking sandwiches, they constantly trim off the crusts of sliced white bread. However, according to their own estimates, this generates 2.5 metric tons (5,512 pounds) of wasted crust per year, even after reusing crusts as ingredients for other dishes when possible.

▼ Those little sandwiches really add up

As a part of sweeping changes to address several Sustainable Development Goals, the Imperial Hotel began a number of initiatives this year. In the hotel’s culinary division, reducing food waste has been brought up, and so from 1 October, the hotel’s Tokyo bakery with the surprisingly cool name of Gargantua will begin offering crustless white bread. Not to be confused with bread that has had its crust removed, this is bread that was baked in such as way that it never had crust to begin with.

Since a bread’s crust is developed by the surface coming in direct contact with the heat that bakes the bread, all the bakers at Gargantua had to do was lower the temperature and slow the baking down to a crawl so that the heat is distributed throughout the bread in a way that it bakes evenly.

That being said, it perhaps could be argued that the reduction in food waste may come at the expense of more energy usage, but without knowing the baking process in detail it’s difficult to say if that’s the case. Either way, the Imperial Hotel has also set a goal to become completely carbon neutral by 2050, so they’ll have to factor their crust-free bread into this equation somehow.

The bread, which was conceived by Imperial Hotel head chef Yu Sugimoto, is also said to be moister as a result of the way it’s made. A yellow variety that has had pureed carrots mixed in has also been developed.

The bread will first be offered at Gargantua on 1 October in their mixed sandwich set that contains four types of sandwiches for 2,268 yen (US$16) and the Gargantua Sandwich which is made up of four types of sandwiches along with fresh fruit, all served in a huge basket made of bread for 15,120 yen ($105).

▼ The Gargantua Sandwich

From there, the bread will be added to other menus around the hotel, but for now, you’ll know where to find them and can maybe even grab a cool school bag cake if they’re still selling them. Personally, I’ll sit this one out because as a crust-lover it’s an affront to everything I hold dear, but I still admire the innovation.

Source, images: Imperial Hotel
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