The delicious ice cream bars made from old bread at this acclaimed restaurant
Using upcycled food for good rather than just virtue is Matt Orlando's mission.
The taste of my fair-trade, organic, sustainably produced breakfast bar was not satisfying. It tasted like shit. I felt good about having eaten the healthy meal.
Therefore, he strives to shatter the stereotype that sustainable food isn't as tasty as it is virtuous.
His Copenhagen restaurant is equipped with a test kitchen that Orlando uses to study how Amass can use spent coffee grounds, old bread, vegetable trim, and more as valuable ingredients. He has a different approach to innovation because he doesn't keep it within the four walls of his restaurant. In order to scale up his experiments he is willing to partner with industrial producers so he can manufacture food with upcycled ingredients, which is appealing to a mass audience who might not necessarily care about sustainability in the first place.
An ice cream bar made from old bread has become one of Orlando's biggest achievements to date, a project he's been working on for years.
There was a need for a partner who would make use of the unsold, irregular bread of medium-sized Danish bakery Jalm&B at the beginning of the project. Following an upcoming collaboration with a brewery in 2018 for the production of bread-based beers, Orlando and Amass approached Kim Wejendorp, the company’s director of research and development, to see what they could do with the discarded breads.
By covering the bread with water and heating it to the point where the starches broke down into sugars, Orlando and Wejendrop used Amass' sister brewery Broaden & Build, which has since closed, which was a victim of the pandemic, to treat it like the beginning stages of making beer. After reducing the liquid, they dissolved it into a syrup, mixed it with dairy, and spun it into ice cream, which is now available for sale in stores.
Previously, we had reported on the efforts of the team, who had served the ice cream at a Copenhagen food festival, where it had been well received by the attendees. The ice cream had a malty, honeyed flavor and had been accompanied by no additional sugar added to it. Furthermore, Irma, a local equivalent to Whole Foods, expressed interest in carrying the ice cream in their stores as well.
Orlando and Wejendrop's reaction to the confection made them realize that they could build partnerships with companies of industrial scale to reduce large waste streams that could have a significant impact on the environment beyond their restaurant.
As a result of the pandemic, Orlando says that they were able to get extra “headspace” to really understand what they were doing and how to scale it. As they worked on the recipe, however, they soon encountered a problem as they had to make a product that could be sold in grocery stores rather than at food festivals or restaurants. They encountered a number of obstacles as they worked on their product.
In their restaurants, chefs are concerned with the here and now. They do not really have to worry about creating foods that have shelf stability — foods that will still have the same taste and texture two months from now that they did the day they were made — as they did the day they were produced. In addition, ice cream can become unappealing over time if the processes aren’t well-stretched.
It was therefore decided that in addition to Jalm&B, they would partner with Hansens, a Copenhagen-based ice cream maker, on the project. As a result, Hansens found a way to accelerate the process even further by combining the right ingredients and techniques to prevent crystal formation, allowing ice cream to be firm enough for a stick in just a few short months. In addition to industrial-scale food production, Orlando also learned a lot about mass marketing when he made that final ice cream bar.
Amass initially thought it would be a good idea to sell the ice cream in individual cups. However, when they realized there was no market for that, they realized they had to meet the consumer where he/she was if they wanted them to try something as novel as bread ice cream. This was why they put it on a stick, added a caramel center and dipped it in chocolate instead of forcing the issue.
As far as I am concerned, the three-pack of treats, each of which contains the equivalent of a thick slice of discarded bread, has been a huge hit. Irma has begun selling these bars at its employee cafeteria, while Novo Nordisk has begun serving them there as well. A few weeks into the process, Hansens has already contacted Amass to let them know they are selling out of the bread ice cream, and they are ready to make another batch. In addition to this, Hansens may make the bread ice cream part of its permanent repertoire of ice creams.
It was achieved by Amass, Jalm&B, and Hansens that nearly 700 lbs of food waste were converted into 15,000 ice cream bars in the first run. Orlando assures me that Amass is working hard on performing an alchemical process with other byproducts as well, but that it will be far more appetizing than you’d imagine what spent coffee grounds or left-over bran from milled grain would taste like.