Haven't you always wondered what bakeries do with their leftovers? You can bet it's crossed my mind a time or two. That's why I made it my mission to find out.
I learned that there isn't much waste in most bakeries, and there is some recycling of products going on. Day-old bread is often used to make bread crumbs and if the bakery is also a cafe, the bread is sometimes used to make bread pudding or frittatas.
But there are items which can't be recycled. Many bakeries and gourmet food shops such as Foodstuffs, with locations in the northern suburbs, offer their day-old bread, bagels, muffins, scones and croissants at 50 percent off.
While at least one bakery owner admits his lawyers advise him to throw the leftovers away (which is not only a shame but encourages dumpster-diving), I'm happy to report that most bakeries I contacted give their leftover, made-from-scratch products away. Here's the inside scoop on what some of our local bakeries do with the remains at the end of the day:
Deerfields Bakery: Their goodies go to PADS homeless shelter as well as church food pantries, nursing homes and health care centers.
Weber's Bakery: Whatever products this southwest side shop doesn't sell the first day, they're put on sale for 1/2 price the next day. On the third day, the goods are put aside for Pacific Gardens Mission.
Sweety Pies Bakery: Leftovers go to ELL Parent Center in Skokie as well as area schools, churches and synagogues.
SweetPea Cakes: These Barrington and Crystal Lake shops donate their leftover goods to Heartland Hospice in Palatine for families of loved ones who are there for care.
Sweet Whimsy Pastry Shoppe: Although this Long Grove bakery sells some of their leftovers at half off on the second day, they also donate goodies to local hospitals, firehouses and a long term care facility for the staff and residents to enjoy. But neighboring merchants and lucky random customers also benefit!