Veganly Delicious

Julie-Juliaing one cookbook at a time.

Review on All You Knead is Bread by Jane Mason

on November 29, 2012

Okay, you know that little saying that I write at the end of all my reviews (that I get from publishers?) The one that says a positive review isn’t required of me?


Well, this is what this is. A non positive review. (But to be fair, it’s a not a negative review either). this is a Confused review.

I am not going to claim I am the biggest official on bread making. I really got into it a few months ago when I made some Sweet spelt rolls. (which were awesome). And then I made Vanilla Raisin Bread (American Vegan Kitchen – which was yummy, but deformed, I don’t get the whole “shape and tuck thing”), and then I made bagel rolls (Best Veggie Burgers). So I’ve had a good roll (no pun intended) going on, and then… along comes this gorgeous book.

And I squealed and said. “Bread!” (Really, I did. I said. BREAD! – duh it’s a bread book. but remember I get excited over simple things).



All You Knead is Bread
Jane Mason
Ryland Peters
175 Pages
copyright 2012

When I tell you guys, this is a gorgeous book. It’s a gorgeous book.  It’s rift with pages, full of techniques (on kneading, rolling, and tonnes and tonnes of bread). It just makes you want to yank out all your bread flours, yeast and mixing bowls and get started. (I am am an old school girl. I knead with my hands, I don’t have the spiffy dough hook thing. As much as I want a Cuisinart Stand Mixer, I’d probably do it so I could get a lot of loaves done at once).

I have this love affair with sourdough bread, so instantly this is the first thing I go to make. (both the Rye + Wheat).

And… well let’s just say. It didn’t work out. At all. I’ve never made a starter before period, so I don’t know what I was expecting, but I just got… really dry dough that had met water. (I did this for about 3 days, and It wasn’t bubbly, watery or anything). The rye just dried out. I was very bummed out.

But I dusted myself off and thought, you know, maybe it wasn’t the best idea to start with a starter, let’s just go with a basic brown bread. So I made the Brown Cob. (Which is a British style bread). And here is where (my) issues started.

A: Jane doesn’t proof with sugar. Now  I’ve never not  proofed without sugar before. So this “water and yeast in the dough.” kinda freaked me out. But I did it, and it never really… “exploded”. like it does with sugar. (You know, volcano action everywhere!) .  But I used it, and kneaded and everything, and it never really…. rose like dough does. I was tres. disappointed.  (it “puffed” up overnight though, but it was more of a surprise than anything).

B: Jane likes her salt. My first red flag was that she called for 1 1/2 tsp salt. That is a LOT of salt, and she didn’t add any sugar or milk to balance it out. But in it went.

And it was a not very well risen, salty, slightly soggy bottom bread. Like it was eating into a ball of salt. Was not impressed.

I did email Jane right away and wondered if it was errata or anything in the book, and Jane did come back to me saying that while she did prefer her bread salty, 1 1/2 tsp did seem like a lot. (the book has measurements + weights).

But with three flops, you can understand while I am a little gunshy about trying anything else. (to be fair, the water + yeast thing was my fault).

So this was just based on my baking attempts, this would totally not get the Veganly Delicious Seal Of Approval, and give this book a Fry raving.

With this book though, you can learn a lot about making bread period. And the pictures are gorgeous, and with Jane’s fast response to my questions, I’m not really going to say that the book is a total flop. I think it just has a learning curve to it (maybe a big learning curve).

This book is accidentally vegan. (She does use eggs and milk and lard, but that just translates to flax/chia seed eggs, tofu, almond milk and coconut oil). There are a 50+ recipes to choose from (plus some starters of course). It would be a good book to work with and I think if one never had a bread book it would be all you “kneaded” (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

So…I don’t know. I’d say try the book out and see how you fair with it. I’m going to try again, and I’ll totally amend my review.


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