Desem Experiment ~ Desem Onion Rye !

I have found my Desem starter to be quite vigorous now. I thought I would expand it’s use and try using it as a starter for some Rye bread. I made up a preferment the night before baking. I used:

  • 1 cup of Desem starter at around 80 % hydration(approximately ratio of 2 flour to 1 water)
  • 2 cup of water
  • 3 cups freshly ground Rye flour
  • 1 cup Bread flour

I put this altogether in a mixing bowl, stirred well, and then left it covered overnight at room temperature. Next morning it smelled really good and was thick.

Then I put the preferment into the mixer and added:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 4 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Caraway seed
  • 1 Tablespoon of Dill seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Onion powder
  • 2 Tablespoons dried Onion Flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons Oil
  • 5 cups Bread Flour

I mixed this altogether in the mixer until well incorporated and then I let the dough rest(autolyse). After 15 minutes of rest, I mixed the dough for three more minutes. The dough felt really great and smells wonderful! I let the dough bulk ferment and it did so quickly, taking only 3 hours to double.

fermented dough

I let it rise for another 1/2 hour and then shaped the loaves. The dough made 4 lbs 6.6 oz of dough, which I divided in half to make two nice loaves. I shaped the loaves into small fat loaves and put them into my small bannetons (1 lb size bannetons) so the dough would rise up instead of out and be fat. I then covered the dough with a moist cloth and let it proof for another two hours. It looked nice and puffy.

shaped dough

 I baked the loaves one at a time with a spray to the dough, then covered the dough with a preheated roasting pan lid in a preheated hot oven of 450 degrees. After ten minutes, I took off the lid and turned the oven down to 425 degrees. I then baked it for 20 minutes more turning it after I took off the lid and then once more for even browning. The Desem Onion Rye came out super!!! I am very happy with it. The Desem is a great starter to use for whole grain types of breads.

Here is the first loaf, the sun actually came out so I got a nice picture:

first loaf of Desem Onion Rye

A side view:

side view

The sun took off by the time loaf two came out:

Second loaf

Here are the two of them:

Two loaves

Here is the crumb:


The dough of the first loaf could have been proofed another 1/2 hour. I haven’t opened loaf number two to see the crumb yet. However….the first loaf is sooooooooooooo good that half the loaf was gone by nibbling fingers in just a few minutes. I will say that this is probably the very best tasting Rye bread I have made yet. The Desem contributed a super sour flavor that is just incredible. If you keep a Desem, I highly recommend you try the preferment for whole grains and see how much you like the flavor.


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