How to make your own beeswax wraps

How to make your own beeswax wraps

Following on from my Plastic Free July I focused my attention on ridding our use of cling film. Beeswax wraps are a great choice for replacing this plastic wrap. These homemade food wraps are reusable and very quick to make.

Why is cling film so bad?

Cling film is brilliant at keeping food fresh but it is a very big contributor to the plastic pollution crisis. It is made from a variety of plastics which makes it extremely difficult to recycle. Meaning it usually ends up in the landfill and in our oceans adding to the 381 million tonnes in plastic waste we create yearly. Added to that there has long been concern surrounding the leaching of chemicals from the plastic into our food and drink. Cling film is not immune from this concern:

“New evidence suggests that heat makes chemicals in plastic storage boxes and bottles leach into food and drink: two major reports last year linked 175 compounds to health problems connected to cancers, fertility and foetal development.

Even Cancer Research UK, which has so far been sceptical, is now warning that cling film should not be allowed to touch the food it is covering during microwaving.”

MailOnline

This is a bit sensationalized and there are doubts it is as bad as the article makes out. For example the BBC has run some tests to see if they could detect the leaching, the results of which showed that it is safe to use cling film even in the microwave but if there are other non-toxic options that don’t add to our plastic problem, why not make the change. This is where beeswax wraps coming.

What are beeswax wraps?

Simple, they are some fabric coated in wax that make an amazing reusable food wrap. They can be used for bowl covers and to wrap food like sandwiches, fruit, really any solid food. You can buy beeswax wraps of course, and there are plenty of great options available:

But if you are anything like me you’d look at something and go – “I can make that!”. Beeswax wraps couldn’t be easier, they are just pieces of cloth that have been infused with natural beeswax. So not only do you get to the exact size, style and have the satisfaction that comes from making your own stuff, you’ll also save money with these homemade beeswax wraps.

How to make DIY beeswax wraps

Here are the supplies you’ll need to make homemade beeswax wraps:

  • Fabric scraps – use whatever you have but I recommend a light to medium weight and 100% cotton.
  • Sustainably sourced beeswax (pure or cosmetic grade) – you can grate a bar of beeswax or use beeswax pellets
  • Scissors Pinking shears if you have the as they cut zigzags and reduces fraying but no problem
  • Iron
  • Baking paper
  1. Start out by cutting the fabric to the desired shape and size, then lie it flat on a sheet of baking paper on top of a heat-resistant surface – ironing board or thick towel. Make sure the baking paper is bigger than the fabric or bee really careful when heating and spreading the wax to the edge.
  2. Next grate or sprinkle a thin, even layer of beeswax over the fabric. Cover the beeswax with another piece of baking paper.
  3. Heat an iron on a wool setting, around 150°C.
  4. Gently iron over the top sheet, melting the beeswax into the fabric and use the iron to push the wax to the edges. If there are any gaps, add a little more wax and iron.
  5. Leave your newly created beeswax wrap to cool then peel off the paper. Remove any excess wax and reuse for the next wrap or project.
  6. To use, make sure your food is cool and then wrap. The warm air or the warmth of your hands makes the beeswax pliable and gives it sticking power.

How to care for you DIY beeswax wraps

Beeswax wraps can be washed carefully in cold water and left to dry – don’t use hot water and don’t scrub as both will remove the beeswax.

If you take good care of your beeswax wraps they will last 6 months to a year and can be refreshed by adding more beeswax when they start losing their sticking power.

Vegan Sourdough Pizza Recipe

Vegan Sourdough Pizza Recipe

I love this recipe because it is so easy (requires no kneading) and makes great pizzas whether you are making them in the oven, using the frying pan method, or your very own DIY brick pizza oven.

Prep: 30 mins

Plus 8-32 hours resting – sourdough takes longer to rise and the longer you leave it the stronger the flavour so prepare the day before if possible.

Cook: 3-15 mins

Makes: 4 pizzas (10-inch)

Ingredients

Pizza Dough

315g Warm water
12g Salt
12g Olive oil
50g Sourdough starter
500g Bread flour

Toppings

2 x 400g Canned plum tomatoes
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp Dried oregano
300g vegan mozzarella (if you’re really adventurous you could try this homemade recipe)
small bunch of fresh basil leaves (optional for the extra professional look and taste)

Method

Step 1 – Mix the dough

Add the warm water, salt, and olive oil to a bowl and stir until the salt is dissolved. Then add the sourdough starter and mix until evenly distributed. Lastly, add the flour and mix in. You don’t need to need the dough just mix enough that there aren’t any clumps of flour left. It shouldn’t be too sticky but if it is add a little flour to your hands or leave for 15 mins and come back.

Once it’s all mixed together, cover the dough with a lid or wet towel and leave it in a warm place for 1 hour.

Step 2 – Stretch and fold

Now reach into the bowl and start working the dough way from the edge. We are going to do the stretch and fold technique, you grab an edge and stretch it into the middle. Then turn the down slightly and grab the next edge and stretch it into the middle (watch this video to see what I mean). Keep doing this until you’ve formed a ball that has a smooth surface underneath and a seamed surface on top.

Cover and leave in a warm place for 1 hour.

Repeat the stretch and fold, then cover and leave in a warm place for another 1 hour.

For the final time, repeat the stretch and fold then cover and leave in a warm place for 1 hour. The best thing to do now is move the dough to the fridge and leave for 4 hours to 24 hours, the longer you leave this stage the stronger the flavour. But if you are desperate for your pizza you can move straight onto step 5 now.

Step 3 – shaping the balls

We’ve already waited anywhere from 4 hours to 28 hours, can we make the pizza yet? Nope. Time to shape the balls and leave again.

Tip the dough out of the bowl and divide into 4 equal pieces. Roll into balls (I like to stretch the side under to make a smooth side and a seam side again) then cover with a damp towel and let them sit for 4 hours.

Step 4 – Make the sauce

While waiting drain some of the juice from the plum tomatoes and tip the rest into a bowl with the olive oil, oregano and a generous pinch of salt. Combine by scrunching together with your fingers. – The kids always love this part.

Chill until needed.

Before the dough balls have finished their 4 hour sit, make sure your method of cooking of choice is ready.

Step 5 – Shape the sourdough pizza base

Nearly there.

There are several ways to shape a pizza base but the way I go for is to put a ball on a lightly floured surface then stretch it out until it makes a small disc. Then lift it up and stretch it out with my fingers letting gravity do the work and just rotating the disc of dough until I get the size I want. It takes some practice but gives a well-defined crust. Failing that you can still get good results with a rolling pin.

Step 6 – Add topping and cook

Pizza oven method

This is my favourite method and produces the best result, if you don’t already have a pizza oven consider building a DIY brick oven that can be constructed in 5mins.

Make sure your oven has reached between 400 – 500 degrees Celsius.

Add the dough to a pizza peel (or whatever you have to transfer the pizza to the oven, you could just use a baking tray) then spread over some source, a handful of mozzarella and some basil (if using).

Transfer the pizza to the oven (it takes some practice to get it off the peel). It cooks really fast so keep an eye on it, it generally only takes 3-5 mins.

Frying pan/grill method

It sounds strange but this method makes great pizzas close to the standard of ones coming out of a pizza oven.

Heat a grip on high and prepare an ovenproof frying pan. Get the pan really hot, then working quickly drape the dough into the pan, spread over some source, a handful of mozzarella and some basil (if using).

Cook for 2 mins, until little bubbles appear, then put the pan under the grill for another 2-4 min.

Standard oven method

Preheat the oven to as hot as it will go with a tray or better still a pizza stone inside. Add the dough to a lightly floured tray (or pizza peel if using), drizzle with a little olive oil and slide into the oven for 3 mins. Remove from the oven and then spread over some source, a handful of mozzarella and some basil (if using). Slid into the oven and bake for further 10-12 mins.

Final thoughts

It isn’t difficult to eat 4 pizzas in my household but if 4 pizzas are too much, the balls of dough and stretched out pizza bases can be frozen for up to 3 months. For the balls, you’ll need to wrap them individually and then defrost for 8 hours at room temperature. For the stretched bases you can top and cook from frozen.

I’ve gone for the simple but classic margarita topping, what’s your favourite? Leave a comment below and share a picture.

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