Jane Mason’s first book was All You Knead Is Bread, with her second being the Book of Buns, a collection of unique recipes from all over the world: sweet and savoury, every day and special buns. Mason explains why she focused on buns, saying: “Buns have a special place in our history as they were originally made to allow poor people to buy their own whole ‘loaf’ in miniature rather than buy a small piece of a larger loaf, giving dignity to everyone’s bread purchase.”
Mason has researched and travelled widely with photographer Peter Cassidy, and have created step by step photography and simple instructions so bakers of all levels can bake a new bun every week for over a year if they so wish.
One of Mason’s best friends became Type 1 diabetic as an adult after a virus attacked her pancreas, so she is familiar with the dietary impact of bread on someone with diabetes. Mason encourages diabetics to eat bread in moderation and to consume mainly rye bread. She says, “Rye is a very slow release carbohydrate, so it’s better for blood glucose control. In addition, I urge all diabetics to bake their own or find a source of extremely well made bread with no sugar added and preferably made with stone ground flour. This is because most shop bought bread has sugar added. If it freshly baked is sold from shelves or in pretty baskets in the supermarket there’s not even a label for you to read.”
Some of the recipes in All You Knead Is Bread and some in the Book of Buns contain sugar when they are ‘sweet breads’, but Mason says, “You never need to add sugar to daily bread. Sugar is used to accelerate the yeast but is not necessary. In fact, slow fermentation bread (bread that is made over four hours or more, and up to 36 hours for a really tangy sourdough!) is better for digestive health all round, whether or not you have diabetes.”
One of Mason’s collaborators (or ‘Bread Angel’) is Peter Voshal, is a scientist who specialises in diabetes research. There are now 175 Bread Angels around the world, including the first Asian Bread Angel, Ni, who lives in Phuket, Thailand. You can read about Peter Voshal’s work here: http://www.virtuousbread.com/bread-and-conversation/peter-voshal-chemist-bread-angel-baker/
Mason’s company, Virtuous Bread, incorporates Bread Angels, a network of micro bakers. Mason started teaching bread courses and then a micro bakery course. Any micro baker trained by Mason can start teaching and list classes on the Bread Angels website.