By default, live-build installs packages from the Recommends: field of required packages. It installs quite a lot of packages we do not need and bloats the image. Not doing it would allow us to make images a lot smaller, quite possibly around 300M.
However, while trying to do it, I discovered that we have missing dependencies that would break the image if someone ever removes them from Recommends: of some package. An image built with --apt-recommends false fails to mount the config and work correctly. This may not be the only one issue, either.
We need to identify the missing dependencies and include them in the Depends: fields of our packages properly. Right now, disabling that option makes the images work again, but regardless of the bloat reduction work, we have a disaster waiting to happen. If someone at Debian changes some Recommends: fields, our build will stop working without warning.
I've saved package lists from the working and broken images. Here's a visual diff for easier inspection: https://www.diffchecker.com/OJHson3E
Let's find out which oned are actually required.