About

Virtuous
adjective uk /ˈvɜː.tʃu.əs/ us /ˈvɝː.tʃu.əs/
1. Having good moral qualities and behaviour

Bread
noun uk /bred/ us /bred/
1. A food made from flour, water, and usually yeast, kneaded together and baked
2. (slang) Money

I am Jane Mason and I work with people to solve problems.

During the first half of my career I mainly worked as a strategy consultant and executive coach for senior leaders in global financial and professional services organisations. During this time, I worked with executives to help solve some of their businesses’ most intractable problems. At the same time, I was working as a professional baker.

During the second half of my career, I have mainly been working in the world of food: baking and cooking professionally, teaching people how to bake and cook, training them how to set up micro bakeries, and writing cookbooks and articles in food publications. During this time, I have worked with people to help solve one of society’s most intractable problems: disconnection. Increasingly, people are disconnected from each other, from their communities, from the food they are eating, and the planet on which they are living. I have continued to work as a strategy consultant and executive coach.

I realise now that two halves of my career are complimentary. A talented leader who knows what he or she wants, who can get the best out of people, and enable them to interact optimally, will succeed. A talented baker who knows what he or she wants, who can get the best out of ingredients, and enable them to interact optimally, will succeed.

Acting alone, people, like ingredients, are capable of creating very little. However, when they are selected carefully for their quality and excellence, and put together with care, they will create something truly remarkable that will sustain the world and make it a better place.

Welcome to the world of Virtuous Bread.

36 Replies to “About”

  1. So Miss Jane…to follow-up. My frozen bread thawed nicely but I found it did not rise as much as I would have lliked…so was a bit dense (or was that me?). Am going to try again with something a bit ‘lighter’ than the multigrain.
    First thing on my agenda when these bloody nightshifts are done (Wednesday). Also want to fiddle with something for rolls or bread for a party I’m throwing for my husband’s 50th on the 23rd. You didnt answer if you were coming back to Canada any time soon? What are you feelings of my coming to visit you for a week or less sometime this coming year? Is it presumptuous of me to invite myself?
    Oh and when rushed I cheat and have the bread machine do the blending for me…then I take it out and have it rise on it’s own…and back in my trusted breadpans. I’m also a bit late on this but working on doing your mum’s christmas cakes this coming week….

  2. Jane, my long lost friend…what can I say, fab work, love the ethic, am already a make your own convert. Send me an email when you have time, lots of love xxx

  3. Jane you are a legend, thanks for all the assistance, support and custom you have brought us at The Clink, see you soon 🙂 xxx

  4. Jane are you related to a Richard Hemingway & Shirley from Ogden Utah ..? If so please let me know please …..we are good friends from what 1984/1985 ?

  5. Dear Jane,

    I was on one of the bread days in Chiswick last week and really enjoyed it… Rosie was great and a nice bunch of people. I ordered your book and went straight for the cinnamon buns recipe, can’t wait to try them. I am also from Canada and the McTavish’s have houses on the Moon River in Bala…

    thank you
    Christopher

  6. I am a scientist,a wife, a mum of 4, a professional potter, a knitter, a stitcher, a “taxi” driver, a vegetable grower, a cook , and now I am experimenting with sourdough!!!

    All day I have been thinking for a way to put all this activity into some sort of useful structure and not just a series of hobbies, may be doing some good for the world and possibly earning some money to help the family budget! May be your idea can help…. Where are you based?

  7. I made the Vigilantes from your Book of Buns. It tells me to sprinkle the sugar and the yeast into a well in the flour – but there is no sugar in the list of ingredients. Is the method wrong, or the list of ingredients? (They were tasty without the sugar but I suspect that they were intended to be sweeter.)

    1. Hi Alan, thank you for this! I just recently had that problem pointed out to me and I have contacted the publisher to get it fixed. If you put in 50 g of sugar that is perfect. Sorry!

  8. Hi Jane,

    I bought your beautiful book All you Knead is Bread. I need your help with a clarification: the measurements ! In your recipes, are the gram measurements not equivalent to the cup measurements ? If I use the gram measurements, I assume I should not mix/match with the cup measurements you cite. If they are not equivalent, then wouldn’t each the yield of the recipe depend on what I chose to follow (either grams or cups) ? To give you an example…. the Roti recipe calls for “200g water/1 1/3 cup” but the ‘simplest bread’ (first recipe of the book) calls for ” 200g / 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of water” . I’m confused and in need of your clarification. Cheers.

    1. good lord, we seem to have a big problem, that should have been caught by the publisher. To clarify – you have caught a mistake! The right answer is that 200 g water = 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons. I will let the publisher know! Thank you for writing.

  9. Is there any way to for me to change the background of your site as I’m having trouble seeing it.

  10. I have just come across your book ‘All you knead is bread’, which looks great. I am bemused, though, as the total lack of any mention, anywhere (as far as I can see) of sugar. Almost every other bread recipe I have come across adds a teaspoon or two of sugar as substrate for the yeast, yet it is not mentioned anywhere at all in your recipes. Why not?
    PS – I have tried a couple without sugar, as you specify – complete failure!
    Jeremy

    1. Hi Jeremy

      In fact, you do not need sugar in bread and I am mystified why your bread without sugar would be a failure. So, is your yeast within date and did you use water that was cold enough to NOT kill it? Sugar, within reason, merely speeds up the rising process. Yeast likes sugar and so when it eats it, the yeast goes into overdrive. In a factory process it is a way of getting the bread out the door faster. I never use it unless I am making enriched bread. You will see most of my recipes call for 10 minutes of kneading (whether by hand or machine) and also a 1-2 hour first fermentation period. All of this to help the bread rise without the sugar. The yeast happilly eats the sugars in the flour – they are not so refined, however, as to cause the yeast to jump up and run. Please try again – be patient – and let me know how you get on.

  11. Wonderful to hear you honor bread and its transformative power. Came here to let you know that had great success with Peasant Bread in “Homemade Sourdough. Addition of coriander unexpected and delightful flavor plus.

    Wanted to share link with another baker and found Amazon critique of book’s rye starter recipe–page 41.
    Since using own starter, will continue to try your intriguing recipes. Best of luck in your mission!

    1. Hi there, thanks for this – I have responded on Amazon too! The reality is that there are a billion ways to make a starter and make bread – but some people may not know that! It’s all about ratios – yeast colony to flour to water – and it is infinitely variable! Also, FYI the book will be reprinted in the spring after I test and re-write all the recipes. I did not write them and many people have written in with questions. So, the publisher has asked me to test and re-write in January because the author of the recipes has refused! If you want to take your book back and get a refund, do – it will be re-released in the spring!

  12. Jane, in Perfecting Sourdough, is the water and flour used to build the starter subtracted from the second day ingredients? Thanks.

    1. Hi there, yes they are. I know that is COMPLETELY tedious but that is the way the publisher insisted on doing the copy. You need to get your calculator out for every recipe…..

  13. Hi there,
    I am deeply inspired by your mission. Perhaps I too am meant to chart a similar course…

    I noticed in your comment to Naomi at the end of 2015 that the book “How to Make Sourdough” was possibly updated. Did this actually end up happening? Would I find this revised version on Amazon UK?

    I just ordered your “The Book of Buns” thanks to a blog post by the excellent baker Karen Kerr. Can’t wait to dive into baking from your books.

    Cheers,
    Anne in Seattle

    1. Dear Anne

      than you so much for your kind message. It was lovely to receive. Yes, How to Make Sourdough was updated to “Perfecting Sourdough” and it is on Amazon. There are facegroups called “Baking our Way through Perfecting Sourdough” and “Baking our way through the book of buns” if you would like to join them and bake in an online community! Thankyou.

  14. Hi Jane,
    I have the Homemade Sourdough bread book and I’m doing quite well with it. My question is do I have to use milk in some of the recipes. I follow a vegan diet with an occasional egg and the use of ghee. I do not use milk. Can I use water instead?

    1. Dear Cecilia

      I am glad you are doing quite well with it because I am going to be honest with you, I did not write the recipes (I wrote the science) and the publisher had so many complaints about the recipes that they asked me to rewrite the book completely which I did. The new book is called Perfecting Sourdough. However, if you are getting on ok with the recipes – crack on! As re milk, (and eggs, etc) you can substitute. Firstly, have a read here: http://www.virtuousbread.com/bread-and-conversation/simple-recipe-for-delicious-vegan-sweet-treats-conchas/ It’s long (sorry) but it does talk about substitution for vegans. Short answer is you can substitute any drink you like in the sourdough bread. If it calls for sour milk just squeeze in a lemon. Good luck!

  15. Hi Jane
    Having been given All you knead… for my last birthday I’m not well into making bread. Mostly rye and maritimers’.

    As you might guess from my choices I’m interested in the health aspects of what I eat. I read this article today:
    https://theconversation.com/multigrain-wholegrain-wholemeal-whats-the-difference-and-which-bread-is-best-89538?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20January%2022%202018%20-%2092867896&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20January%2022%202018%20-%2092867896+CID_5d0b36b8594520f3c8d71145db08dafe&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Multigrain%20wholegrain%20wholemeal%20whats%20the%20difference%20and%20which%20bread%20is%20best
    and was encouraged to drop you a line.

    Knowing which breads are healthy is one thing, being able to bake them (as a novice) is another. I think it may be the case that ‘healthier’ breads pose more of a problem, for example, even rye doesn’t rise as well as strong bread flour.

    If you can point me towards any information that addresses this question I’d be most grateful.

    Not that I’ll be abandoning your lovely book, farinata, is coming next. Many thanks for starting me down the ‘bread path’.
    Kind regards
    Geoffrey

    1. Dear Geoffrey

      You ask a bundle of excellent questions. You say you are “not well” into making bread – does that mean you are not being successful?

      Flour is complicated – in the way that food is complicated. I am not a nutritionist but am deep into the food and nutrition world and can only tell you that there is little agreement on anything. I have highly educated and super healthy vegan friends and see the health aspects of that choice. I also see the benefits of the Weston Price philosophy. The only thing anyone can agree on, whether or not you are vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore, is that you should eat as wide a variety of fresh, unrefined,food as possible. You then have to make a choice whether organic is a positive or negative label. Also whether meat and eggs (if you eat it/dairy included) should be anitbiotic and hormone free and fish should be wild or farmed and if farmed, how. So, you have no easy answers.

      As re grains, I choose organic because I believe in it, but I know many who don’t. I choose stone ground because I believe in it. I choose to eat as wide a variety as possible. Sometimes I eat white bread, sometimes I eat whole meal (whether it’s spelt, wheat, kamut, rye, emmer, einkorn). I also eat bread made with a mix of grains that can include any of the above as well as oats, buckwheat, millet, barley, etc. – either in grain (cooked) or in ground form. I make “long fermentation” bread to enable the yeast in the bread to ferment the flour well before baking, thus making it easy to digest.

      All flour tastes and performs differently and the big divide is whether there is gluten and what type of gluten it is. Stretchy gluten grains (wheat family) rise the most and can form large holes in the bread. The higher the gluten content the higher the bread can rise and the larger holes can be supported. Non stretchy gluten bread cannot form large holes. Non gluten bread cannot form large holes. Rye has gluten but it is not stretchy. You cannot compare it to wheat – and certainly not to high gluten wheat flour. The performance is completely different due to the different type and strength of gluten. When you write “even rye does not rise as well…” you are expecting it to do something it cannot do. Rye will never rise as well as even a weak bread flour. The gluten in rye does not allow it to rise very far.

      In All You Knead Is Bread there is some discussion of gluten. Performance however does not indicate health. Health is a function of how the grain is grown, processed, and prepared and the role it plays in your diet. You can look on the Real Bread Campaign website for more information.

      I hope this has been helpful.

  16. Hi Jane – g’day from South Australia. I see Amazon is doing a Kindle version of your previous ‘All you knead’ book. Will there be one for Perfecting Sourdough? Cheers.

    1. Dear Derek, thanks for your message. I must say I have no idea if Perfecting Sourdough is going to Kindle. I will contact the publisher and ask. Kindly, Jane

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