Thursday, 26 May 2016

Gingerbread from Perfecting Sourdough by Jane Mason

bread, baking

I love sourdough bread and buy it often enough. Making my own sourdough always felt rather daunting.
Perfecting Sourdough by Jane Mason which has been published by Apple Press (£14.99 for a hardback)  earlier this month has inspired me to try making my own sourdough starter and bake a bread. And I'm so glad I did it.

bread making book

The book includes recipes for two starters - rye and wheat.
There are forty two recipes in total including basic breads (for example, ciabatta and French bread) and some truly fancy ones (Jasmine Tea buns sound particularly enticing, so does an Austrian Christmas bread).
I like that there are pages of possible problems and solutions, I find them very useful.
Most recipes come with a full page photo, plus you will find technique tips and photos so that you know what the end result is). The photos are very appetising.

It's a fantastic source of sourdough bread and pastries' recipes. I have bookmarked quite a few of the recipes and now that I have successfully baked my very first sourdough bread, I'm enthusiastic about trying more recipes. As I've been reading a lot of novels about the prairie and the American pioneers in the last year, I'd love to try my hand at making a Flax Prairie bread and Yukon flapjacks.

After perusing the book, I have decided to bake a gingerbread. It is the most unusual recipe, as it is not a sweet gingerbread, but savoury.
The instructions on making a wheat sourdough starter were precise and clear. I followed the recipe exactly as suggested by Jane Mason, mixing 50g of white wheat flour with 50ml every day, leaving it covered in the container, then adding more flour and water every day until on the 5th day I had a nice bubbly starter. Gosh, the smell was truly punchy and sour.
I used some of the starter for my gingerbread, and put the remaining starter in the fridge to leave until the next time I decide to bake some bread.
I think both bread-making novices and experienced bakers alike will find recipes and ideas for bread-baking inspiration in this beautiful cook book.
This book is a lovely addition to my cook book collection, and will make a super gift to anyone interested in baking or cooking in general.

sourdough bread, baking

Gingerbread (recipe reproduced with permission from the publisher)
65g wheat sourdough starter
345g white wheat or spelt flour
65g water
100g butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus extra for greasing
60g molasses
100g milk
pinch of salt
1 egg
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground ginger
3/4tsp baking powder

Day 1:
1. Measure the sourdough starter into a large bowl and return any remaining starter to the fridge.
2. Add 65g flour and all the water. Stir and cover with cling film, and leave on the counter for around 8 hours.

Day 2:
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the butter, molasses, milk, salt and egg together. Add to the refreshed sourdough and mix well. In a separate bowl, sift together the remaining flour, spices and baking powder. Sift or whisk to eliminate any lumps but don't overmix. The batter is thick, but if it's too thick you can slacken it with a drop of milk.
4.Scrape the batter into a 20x20 cm greased baking tin. Cover the tin with a shower cap (or cling film) and leave to rest for 3 hours.
5. Preheat the oven to 200C. place the loaf in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Insert a knife into the centre of a loaf: if it comes out clean, it is done; if not, bake for a further 5-10 minutes.
6. Remove the loaf from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.

sourdough bread, baking

Our verdict: we liked the savoury gingerbread, even my fussy eaters ate it with gusto. Eddie asked for a bread, butter and jam sandwich.
I found the shape a bit odd for a bread, perhaps a more traditional loaf tin would be better. Also for me there was not enough ginger. I would expect a gingerbread to be more gingery, so if I bake it next time, I will use the double amount of ground ginger and maybe a bit of ground cloves too.

sourdough bread, baking

Disclosure: I received the book for the purposes of reviewing. All opinions are mine.


  1. I could do with a slice right now! looks like a great book, I will look into getting a copy on my birthday wish list :)

    1. It was a nice bread, Fede! I'm going to do a giveaway for this book soon, so I'll tag you when it goes live

  2. Love your new header. This looks lovely and the book looks good as well

    1. Thank you Alison! Thought it was time to change the header.

  3. Would love to try this bread, have never actually tried sourdough

    1. I quite often buy San Francisco sourdough, and plan to bake one too, as there is a good recipe in the book

  4. Hello Galina... only now have I finally found a recipe for self fermented cakes!..I have a question though.. what kind of a better quality this method would provide instead of just having the cake levered with the normal way"baking soda"? I am from a far cou from where u r and impressed by the traditional way of doing it !