Light Wheat Desem

I’ve  been working with the Desem in new recipes and having absolutely fabulous results. Here is a Desem bread I call Light Wheat Desem and another that I am in the process of working with called Desem Milk ‘N Honey. Here are pictures of the Light Wheat Desem:

This is the overnight preferment:

preferment

Light Wheat Desem

three loaves

Light Desem Crumb

crumb

This turned out to be a really great bread. The preferment had a malted cracked Rye berry in it. The taste was incredible. I am also working on a Medium Desem with a bit more of the whole grain flour in it. I will get back on that one. I might be putting the two recipes in the Special Recipe folder when I get them worked out.

How I do Desem…

I had several emails asking me how I do my Desem bread, technique, recipe etc. So here goes…

I have been keeping an 80% hydration Desem in a bowl in the refrigerator. It has been easier to feed, and easier to use.

80% hydration dough

80% hydration just means approximately twice the amount of flour to water ratio. Like a cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water etc. Or for every five ounces of flour/ four ounces of water. Anyway, I take out one and one half cups of active 80% Desem which was fed the day before and make a preferment the night before I am going to bake. Preferment:

  • 1 – 1/2 cup 80% hydration active Desem starter – 13.5 oz
  • 1 – 1/2 cups water room temperature – 12 oz
  • 3 cups organic Whole Wheat flour aged at least one week 13.5 oz

Desem preferment after mixing:

preferment after mixing

Desem preferment the next morning:

preferment next morning

Mix together the preferment ingredients, cover and let ferment overnight at room temperature. Next morning add the preferment mixture to your dough mixer and add:

  • 2 cups water room temperature – 16 oz
  • 4 teaspoons Kosher salt – .8 oz
  • Turn the mixer on low and add 6 cups whole wheat flour – 27 oz
  • After the dough is mixed turn off your mixer and let the dough rest (autolyse) for ten – 15 minutes.

Desem right after mixing:

desem after mixing

After autolyse, turn the mixer on low and let it knead the dough for about 7 minutes. If you notice the dough tearing as it kneads, turn off the mixer no matter how long it has been mixing.

Desem dough after autolyse and 7 minutes of mixing:

Desem dough after kneading

Let the dough proof 4 – 5 hours or when about doubled. Then stir down dough, pour it out and shape loaves.

dough

desem loaves shaped

I made two loaves a little over 2.5 lbs each. I then let the dough proof about 2 – 2.5 hours. When ready bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes, slashing and steaming and turning loaf halfway, as usual.( I have been slashing, spraying my loaves once, and then covering the dough with a roasting lid for the first ten minutes, as it is easiest and seems to give great results).

First Desem loaf:

first loaf

Second Desem loaf:

second loaf

Both loaves

Here is the crumb from the first loaf:

crumb

So there you have it, recipe, technique and all !  Once you taste a loaf of Desem, you will go back to baking it over and over, it is that good, and addicting!

Desem…Again!!

I really love the flavor of Desem sourdough bread. It is actually addicting! It is always sour, and when toasted, it tastes like malted wheat. I made up another batch of Desem, but this time I was more careful to use wheat berries that I had ground and let season (age) for two weeks. I had read that the mills did that because freshly ground wheat does not bake up as well as aged flour. Well, it seems to be true. I got a great development of gluten and the dough handled better. I am really getting a nice open crumb for a 100% Whole Wheat flour bread. Of course, as you know, the only other ingredients are water, salt (I have been using Kosher salt) and the wild Desem yeast. That makes for a nice loaf of bread devoid of chemicals or other ingredients that may have been processed. I have pure artesian water that has no chemicals in it, so I am really lucky there. Here is the preferment that is ready to use for making a Desem dough:

preferment

I mixed the dough for nine minutes as that is when it looked done:

dough

After bulk fermenting for four hours I shaped and benched (rested) the dough:

shaping

Then came final shaping and proofing:

proofing

This time I did not proof in a very warm, humid environment but just allowed the dough to proof at room temperature. It took around 2.5 hours. I then baked at 425 for 30 minutes. Here is the first loaf:

first loaf

Here is the second loaf:

second loaf

Here is the crumb, as you can see it is nice, open and nicely textured:

crumb

There is a lot more leeway for using and baking with Desem. If you have a Desem starter, I would encourage you to experiment.

Desem/Motherdough ~ Gee What Won’t I Do?

Yep, just messin around. I like the flavor of Desem so much, and Motherdough is beyond great, that I thought I would combine them. I started out the night before baking, with a preferment, using Desem combined with water/flour/etc. I set it out overnight at room temperature and next morning it looked like this:

Desem preferment

Then I added some Motherdough which, if you didn’t know, is just using a vigorous starter kept at 80% hydration (for me anyway) and refrigerated(it developes the flavor). The motherdough looked like this:

Motherdough starter

I added more water, flour, salt, some oil and came up with a nice dough which only took three hours to ferment, although I let it go four. It then looked like this after bulk fermentation:

dough after bulk fermentation

It was a little on the sticky side, but I shaped up the loaves and weighed them out at just over 2 lbs each and then put them to proof in bannetons:

proofing in bannetons

The proofing rate slowed a bit and they took 2.5 hours to proof and really needed 3, but I was running out of time before I needed to make dinner. So…. here is the first loaf:

(Sorry about the poor quality of pics, no sun outside, and poor lighting inside. I still need a lightbox or something).

first loaf

The second loaf I baked a little hotter as the first one came out a bit light:

second loaf

The third loaf:

Third loaf

Here are some pics of the crumb:

crumb

crumb pics

The bread flavor is really great! It is a very nice tangy sour. The crust was wonderful, crusty and crispy. This was altogether a great marriage between two great flavored starters. I got the idea of using Desem starter as a flavoring because the Whole Wheat tastes so terrific after fermenting with Desem, I thought it would interesting to use it as the flavoring besides adding another vigorous starter as a complement. I really am having so much fun baking with sourdough. I love experimenting and doing off the wall things with it. I also baked another Soft Sourdough a couple of days ago using Desem again as a flavoring. It came out wonderful and makes terrific sandwiches and toast. I haven’t had a lot of time for posting though. If you notice carefully behind the pictures of the bread, the walls are barren and the wallpaper is ripped off. I am redoing the room by repainting the ceiling and wallpapering. Then comes the carpet. So you see, even though I am still baking, I am extra busy! If I get a chance, I will post about the soft sourdough, if I don’t …. I will continue on…. till next baking day,

Teresa

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:

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.

Desem Sourdough Day

I started a preferment the day before yesterday with my Desem starter, but had to go into town yesterday so I wasn’t able to mix it up and bake. Instead, I took out my preferment and did a build on it adding half again the amount of dough I had. Then I put it into the cold pantry overnight. In the morning it was very light and airy. So I put it in the mixer and doubled the weight of the preferment making about four lbs of dough. The dough was light and spongy after four hours, and had risen higher than any of my other Desem doughs so far. So I shaped it and put it in the couche:

shaped Desem

dough in couche

Boy did we have a full kitchen today. It was hard to fit in the bread baking schedule. My daughter made cream puffs and potato croissants (boyfriend coming over). I had to put my Desem loaves on the top of the stove to get some warmth and I put a wet cloth over the loaves. One of the loaves actually had the top crust(which was turned upside down) heat up, dry out and stick to the cloche, which never happened before. I had to spray it with water to get it off and then I noticed the outside layer, which was touching the stovetop through the couche, was actually a bit cooked! I decided to slice down through the middle to try to save the loaf. It actually  came out pretty nice:

first loaf of Desem

The lighter color on the top of the crust is where the dough dried and cooked.

 The next loaf was also dried out on the top crust from the heat of sitting on top of the stove and stuck to the couche. I was able to peel off the couche and get the loaf onto the stone. I also made one long lengthwise slice on the top of the loaf to try to save the loaf. I don’t think any other slices would have worked as the whole top crust was dried out and somewhat cooked. I didn’t  realize it was that hot on top of the stove when I set the loaves on a grate on top of the couche on the stovetop. But we had been using the stove for hours and it was just hotter than I realized. It also came out nice anyway:

Desem loaf 2

Here are the two finished:

Desem two loaves

I don’t have any crumb pictures yet, but will tomorrow. They are still too hot to slice!

I am so glad I tried Desem bread. I never knew Whole Wheat bread could taste so good! It is moist, chewy, with a hard to describe full fermented wheat flavor of toasted wheat and maltiness. There is no added malt, but you sure taste it, especially when you toast the bread. My children that don’t usually like Whole Wheat bread (most of them) love the Desem bread. It never fails to be tasty and wonderfully sour!

Here are the pictures of the crumb:

crumb

Experimenting with Desem Starter

My last two batches of Desem were pretty different. The Desem starter is now very stable and reliable so I thought I might try experimenting with it a bit. Last week I made a batch of the more traditional Desem recipe which is in Laurel’s Bread Book. The dough is raising higher and the malt flavor of the wheat is very pronounced, not to mention how wonderfully sour it is EVERY time. I didn’t put any malt in the dough at all for the first batch but the fermenting of the Whole Wheat made the dough taste like malt, especially when toasted. I started with about 3.5 lbs of dough:

Desem dough

This doesn’t look like over 3 lbs of dough , but it was. I made this dough from the preferment of the starter from the night before. I then let it bulk ferment for four hours at which time I took the dough out of the bowl and shaped it and then put it into small bannetons:

shaping dough

bannetons with Desem dough

While looking at this picture, I remembered the first time I tried Desem and my dough was a wet mess and I tried putting it into the bannetons and how terribly the dough stuck and ruined my bread! The dough was then placed in the warm oven ( I turned on the oven to 200 degrees long enough to warm up the baking stone and then turned the oven off and kept it cracked open) and covered with a wet tea towel to keep it humid:

Desem being proofed

I proofed it for two hours, taking the dough out of the oven after one hour so I could heat the oven and placing the dough on a rack on top of the warm oven with the dough still covered. Here is my result:

Desem Bread

Next I decided to try to use my Desem starter to bake up some lighter bread made with 1/2 bread flour. I also decided to use a regular loaf pan for baking. I used 2 cups of Desem prefermented from the night before and followed pretty much the same schedule as the last Desem dough, four hours bulk ferment and two hours proofing. I missed with the two hours proofing though, although the dough felt ready, it really needed another 1/2 hour or more to proof. Here is the dough proofed and ready to shape:

dough ready to shape

I shaped the dough like a regular loaf where you fold over the ends and then fold over lengthwise, pinching the dough together with the heel of your hand. I then placed the dough into loaf pans:

dough in loaf pans

The dough felt proofed enough, so I poked a couple of holes into the top as suggested in Laurel’s Bread Book. It is supposed to keep the top crust from separating from the rest of the loaf.

 proofed Desem dough

 I wasn’t satisfied with it though, so I also slashed and then I baked the loafs at 450 degrees for five minutes, spraying several times, and turned the oven down to 400 degrees and baked another 40 minutes, turning halfway. Here are the loaves:

Desem Bread

When the bread came out I waited for it to cool a little, and then I spread butter all over the loaves to help make the crust soft and chewy(this was supposed to be a softer Desem). As you can see, I needed to allow the dough to proof longer. I think with the added bread flour, I needed not only to let the dough raise longer but maybe at room temperature instead of in a very warm oven. I will have to try that next time. The crumb was pretty nice although a little dense:

Desem Crumb

If you want to experiment with Desem and don’t want to wait the two weeks for the starter to get going and then another month for it to gain strength, I have a limited amount of Desem for sale on my website. It will be sent as a small piece of dough ball at a very low hydration so it won’t raise while enroute. You can find out more about it at the bottom of the page at:

http://www.northwestsourdough.com/starter.html

Click on the picture of the Desem bread and it will take you to another page that tells more about the Desem starter and what you need. You will need Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book and a good supply of fresh organic Whole Wheat flour plus some really good water and a cool place in your house. Desem is fascinating, especially for those who love Whole Wheat breads.

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