Making good bread is a matter of controlling variables; there is no one magic ingredient that, on its own, will elevate your bread to sublime status. – Richard Miscovich, From the Wood-Fired Oven, p119
This month, Cathy (Bread Experience) chose Pain au Levain, from a recipe in “From The Wood-Fired Oven” by Richard Miscovich, for the BBBabes to bake. I can’t help thinking about how I would have reacted before – even a year ago – to Cathy’s announcement. My heart would have been pounding and mouth dry as I tried to think of any excuse at all not to make this month’s bread. I was like Kaitlyn Bailey:
I had no experience making sourdough, so parenthood began with a thorough scour of the internet. I quickly learned that I was […] entering a cult-like subset of the baking world, whose members spend their weekends worshiping yeast cultures and driving far and wide in search of the perfect flour mix.
One of the blogs I read insisted that sourdough couldn’t be made from a recipe, and instead suggested that a beginner start by spending time getting to know their dough and then just “follow their instincts.” Unfortunately, my dough wasn’t very chatty, and my instincts were telling me that I shouldn’t use the funky-smelling jar in my fridge for something I was going to eat.
– Kaitlyn Bailey, Sourdough starter: How I learned to love my yeast beast, Globe and Mail, 24 May 2018
But, thanks to Jane Mason’s book “All You Knead is Bread”, all that has changed. Our Mason starter, that has been valiantly bubbling since last July, is better than ever. The fear of making naturally leavened bread has gone entirely.
We LOVE our bread made with Jane Mason Starter!
I got Richard Miscovich’s book out of the library, started reading it, and began dreaming about having our own wood-fired oven….