Cookbook Review: Wild Bread

Wirld Bread MaryJane Butters

Is the world ready to rethink bread making?

MaryJane Butters thinks so. Wild Bread completely reinvents the concept of healthier-for-you, naturally fermented sourdough.

Until now, sourdough was perceived as too much work and sour-tasting, artisan-style-only loaves. In Wild Bread, her quick and easy 1 minute 2x/day technique demonstrates the use of eight different types of flours for each bread featured—everything from gluten-free brown-rice flour to quinoa to common white to heirloom whole wheat—for a whopping 295 recipes and 475 photographs.

Wild Bread: Sourdough Reinvented, is available at and


Proofing Time: 4 hours
Bake Time: 40 minutes
Makes: Two 8″ brioches

A brioche is a slightly sweet, rich loaf of French origin, traditionally served for breakfast or, with the addition of fruit, for dessert. As with many breads, brioches can be made in an array of shapes and sizes. One of the traditional shapes is brioche à tête. (Literally, “brioche with head.”) This classic shape is achieved by placing a large ball of dough into a small, fluted, fared tin and topping it with a second, smaller ball of dough. Another version—the one we chose for this recipe—is a loaf achieved by arranging balls of dough in rows in a loaf pan, which results in a “bubbly” top. In any form, the surface of a brioche has a deep, golden colour with a rich sheen.

It’s the night BEFORE Bake Day. As usual, you’re going to pull 1/2 cup mother from your Refrigerator Mother, feed her 3/8 cup flour and 1/4 cup water, stir/cover, and put her back until next week.

To the 1/2 cup mother now in your Glasslock bowl that’s about to become “activated batter,” you’ll add 3/8 cup flour and 1/4 cup water; stir/cover.

It’s Bake Day. Rise and shine! Feed your activated batter 3/8 cup flour and 1/4 cup water; stir/cover. Two to three hours later, it’s ready to go to work for you.

Depending on the type of flour you’re using, follow the amounts in the chart below.


  1. To the batter in your bowl, add buttermilk, honey, 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk (reserve white for egg-white wash), and salt; mix well.
  2. In another large bowl or a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add flour. Make a well in the centre of the flour to receive the liquid and add wet ingredients. Mix until a stiff, tacky dough forms.
  3. Cut butter into pieces. With the mixer running or by hand, add butter, one piece at a time. Continue to mix until butter is incorporated into the dough.
  4. Wash and dry Glasslock bowl and coat with butter. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and scoop dough from the bowl or stand mixer. Shape dough into a ball and add to buttered bowl. Cover the bowl with its lid and let condition in a warm place (70–73°F) for 2 hours.
  5. Generously butter two Norpro 8″L x 4.5″W x 3″H nonstick pans.
  6. Deflate dough and divide into 32 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Place a layer of 8 balls into the bottom of each loaf pan. Add a second layer of 8 balls to each pan, resting them on the sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours, or until dough is level with the top of the pan.
  7. Make egg-white wash: In a small bowl, combine reserved egg white and 1 t water. Mix until frothy and strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove clumps (this creates a smooth, glossy finish on brioche).
  8. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  9. Place loaves on a baking sheet, remove plastic wrap, brush tops with egg-white wash, and bake for 30 minutes, covering with foil halfway through to prevent over-browning. Remove from oven, brush with egg-white wash again, and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until tops are deep golden brown and internal temperature reaches 200–205°F.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Gibbs Smith.

One comment

  1. Reveena ( has some sour dough starter going and has been baking delicious breads. Thanks for this post. I’m sure she’ll find some recipes to use.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.