Perfecting Sourdough by Jane Mason

Monday 13 June 2016

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I recently received a cookbook for review entitled Perfecting Sourdough, by Jane Mason.  Mastering the art and science of baking with starters and wild yeast. Expert author and founder of Virtuous Bread, Jane Mason, has provided the ultimate companion for those wanting to master the art of baking with starters and wild yeast. Chapters dedicated to each type of sourdough cover everything from basic step-by-step instructions to troubleshooting tips and advice on equipment and ingredients. Perfecting Sourdough is packed with useful information to give even the most novice baker the confidence to crack sourdough!

I was really excited to get this book. I have always wanted to bake my own sourdough bread.  I don't know why . . .  I have never had any success with regular bread, but I thought I might have success with this type.

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Chapters dedicated to each type of sourdough cover everything from basic step-by-step instructions to troubleshooting tips and advice on equipment and ingredients.

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There is literally everything you need to know in this book.  Equipment, tools, Bread and Sourdough basics, etc.  Scattered amongst all of the information and recipes are some very beautiful photographs.

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There is a chapter on Batter Bread.    Pancakes, waffles, breads. as it says that are a bit simler and a great place to start when you are baking with children and there is a little bit less time to wait before sampling the finished goodies.

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Everyday Rye.    Breads created using a Rye Starter, and all the knowledge you need in order to make some very decent rye breads like Swedish Limpa or Peasant Bread.

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Everyday Wheat.  These are the loaves created using a Wheat Sourdough Starter.  Loaves like San Francisco Sourdough Bread and Ciabatta Bread . . . French Bread, Pizza Bases, etc.

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Flavoured Wheat  . . .  these are the everyday breads with a bit of something extra added to give an additional depth of transforming flavours.    Grains and seeds, cooked vegetables, dried fruits etc.

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Sweet Bread and Buns  . . .  or as she says, a delicious alternative to cake.  Here are the Cinnamon buns, Gingerbreads, Austrian Christmas Bread, etc.

I had high hopes for Perfecting Sourdough from the start. The 160-page hardback is the third of Jane Mason’s books after she set up Virtuous Bread in 2010 to help people make, find and learn about good bread.

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I tried to create a starter from scratch no less than three times, hence the length of time I have taken to review the book.  It failed for me each and every time.   I can only conclude that the air where I live is too polluted to make a sourdough starter from scratch.   I was very disappointed in that because I had really, really wanted to make my own sourdough bread, and show you something that I had created from the book.   I did give it a good go however, so all is not lost.  I will try again in the Winter. Maybe the same pollution that is in my air now won't be in my air then.  Hope springs eternal!

In any case, if you are wanting to try making your own sourdough from scratch, this is a book which is filled to overflowing with all the information you might need to know in order to do so!   There is also a Facebook Group which is baking their way through the book.

Published by Apple Press
(Part of the Quarto Publishing Group)
Hardback, Colour, 160 pages
ISBN: 9781845436506

Many Thanks  to Apple Press for sending me this book to review.  Although I was sent the book free of charge, I was not required to write a positive review.


  1. The book looks amazing:) If it is any consolation..I have never been able to sourdough it.

    1. I did give it the good old college try Monique! It just did not work for me! xo

  2. I love to bake and bread is one thing I do a lot, mostly because I the commercial bread they sell here is so sweet as to be inedible.

    Even though I am good with yeast, if it's any consolation, I've never been able to get a starter going from scratch and I've tried and tried. In the end I took advice from Celia,s blog and bought the flakes and hey presto, it works every time.

  3. Thanks for that Marie. What kind of flakes? I couldn't find them mentioned. I would love to try them. I will go through it again and see if I can figure it out! xo


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