Monthly Archives: August 2017

2nd Try at Jane Mason Sourdough: Sudden Change of Direction

summary: second try at making Jane Mason Sourdough Bread: Fail!; new pet refuses to play; learning patience; getting inspired by “Taste of Persia” by Naomi Duguid; there’s a reason for eating by candlelight; khinkali stuffed with mushrooms to the rescue; great new condiment: ajika; reminiscing about “Anything Can Happen” by Papashvily;

khinkali Now that the major disappointments with our Jane Mason starter are finished (I hope) and we have decent wild yeast bread at last, I feel strong enough to recount the woeful tale of what happened with my 2nd Try to make significantly less sour bread, playing with our new pet given to us by Jane Mason.

I think I know where I went wrong and why the bread became so sour. It had to be those 24 hour periods of resting for “8-12 hours”. We’ll try again soon and report back.
– me, blog from OUR kitchen, ISO not-sour Sourdough: We’re getting closer…,
Chalk it up to experience and be a bit more patient next time.
– Jane Mason, All You Knead is Bread, p23

Excited about making bread with the bubbling starter, I eagerly mixed more dough, this time making enough for just one loaf.

Ha. By afternoon, it was clear that nothing was happening with the dough I had put together that morning. Not even close. It just sat like a murky glob. No bubbles. No motion. Its most significant trait was to smell sour. Clearly, this turbid sludge was NOT going to turn into anything that would create bread.

Aside from filling our kitchen green bin with the sticky mess, what could be done with it? We racked our brains. (continue reading )

Tartine Bread: 3rd time’s the charm (and 4th and…)

go directly to the recipe

Tartine Bread summary: recipe for Tartine Bread; 3rd try is the charm; only major change was to use Jane Mason’s starter; how freeing it is to not have anything to toss away; too many pictures to choose from; joys of having happy pets;

(edited 24 September 2017 to add the missing water measurement in the recipe Duh!!!)

After the recent successes with natural yeast (it turns out that even I, a repeat offender of saccharomycicide (2008, 2012), can be remediated!), I decided to try Tartine Bread again. But with Jane Mason’s starter.

Tartine Bread Success

(continue reading )

5th try lucky!

go directly to the recipe

summary: recipe for Jane Mason Wild Bread; 5th try at making not-sour bread using the Jane Mason’s liquid levain; trying a different bread recipe, based on one in “Homemade Sourdough” by Jane Mason; using stronger flour; kneading with ‘slap and fold’ and ‘stretch and fold’ techniques; overnight refrigeration of shaped bread;

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

sourdough bread Let the bells ring out again! Loud and clear! I’m never making sourdough, ever again!

I avoid referring to my naturally leavened breads as sourdough because too many people associate sourdough with breads that are indeed sour in flavor and sometimes leave a sharp, vinegary aftertaste. In France, sour bread is probably considered a fermentation mistake, while in San Fransisco, it’s a well-appreciated taste […] My preference is for complex flavors from the grain and fermentations that are subtle, in balance, and not sour.
-Ken Forkish, “Understanding Levain”, Flour Water Salt Yeast, p.122

That’s right. I’m not going to call that bubbling sludge in the jar in the fridge a “sourdough starter” any more.

Here are its new names: “Levain”, “Wild yeast”, “Natural starter”, “Sludge” and “Pet”. But never “sourdough”. Ever again. Shakespeare was wrong. That which we called sourdough starter was giving our bread the wrong idea when it heard the word “sour”. (continue reading )

4th Try at Mason Bread – such high hopes…

summary: Fourth try at making Wild Bread, based on a recipe in “All You Knead is Bread” by Jane Mason; adding the float test didn’t help; how to know when to shape; how we react under duress, continuing the search for not-sour sourdough but seriously contemplating conceding defeat;

This is the sad and sordid account of our 4th try at Jane Mason Sourdough bread that was supposed to be not-sour. Ha.

sour sourdough And we had such high hopes!

Sourdough bread doesn’t need to taste sour: the longer you take to put your final dough together, the more acidic it will smell and taste. If you like a more acidic taste, select the recipes that take a lot of time to make. If you prefer a less acidic taste, choose recipes that take less time.
-Jane Mason, Homemade Sourdough: Mastering the Art and Science of Baking with Starters and Wild Yeast, p13

I suspect that anyone would find the bread that I made this time round to be quite sour. This morning’s toast was a little like biting into a lemon. Or a pickle. But not as pleasing as either of those.

Clearly, this recipe I’ve been using takes too long to make.

Be patient. Sourdough is very sensitive to temperature. If your starter does not look “right” after the time called for in a recipe – just wait. If your dough has not risen after the time called for in a recipe – just wait. It usually gets there in the end.
– Jane Mason, Perfecting Sourdough

(continue reading )