The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

YW vs Desem SD - Caramelized Onion, Basil, Bacon, Parmesan Rolls

dabrownman's picture

YW vs Desem SD - Caramelized Onion, Basil, Bacon, Parmesan Rolls

We have been baking with YW, Combo YW / SD and straight SD lately but have not had the chance to compare identical YW and SD recipes to see how they might compare.  We recently made a Joe Ortiz Desem Starter that we really liked so decided to use WW to build each of the starters to the same 90 grams of levain with the same 80% hydration.


We usually want somewhere around 40 % whole grains minimum in our breads with sprouts and seeds, but since these rolls were going to be used for our monthly hamburger dinner we skipped the sprouts and seeds but added fresh chopped basil, caramelized onions, bacon and parmesan cheese instead. 

Yeast Water version is first for pictures.


These additions reflected isand66’s (Ian’s) bacon, caramelized onion and cheese bread we rank in our top 5 and his roll bake this week along with breadsong’s roll bake this week that had basil and parmesan cheese in it.  We thought combining the 2 would make for a very nice bun for our grilled poblano chili, caramelized onion and mushroom, cheese burger we were planning for dinner.


Since it is summer, we planned on bailing the rolls in the mini oven using (2) of Sylvia’s steaming cups designed for it.   We are amazed the varieties of well baked bread that come out of that little oven.


This was no exception.  Both rolls were soft and moist inside with the YW being more so but the SD was more open.  The crusts came out nice and crusty but were immediately toned down to nice and soft by brushing milk on them immediately – no one wants a hard hamburger bun. The crust on the SD was darker and more blistered and the spring was greater.  The SD rolls were baked last when the oven temperature and steam were working better.

Now for the Desem SD pictures


The YW rolls were slightly under baked and the SD ones were slightly over baked even though both were baked the same way and for the same time and temperature exactly.  Since only the levain was retarded, the SD tang was muted for the SD rolls and there was no SD tang in the YW as expected.

We liked both of these rolls equally well and have now found our new go to hamburger bun and possible bruschetta  bread.  We will add 10g each of potato flakes and ground oats with a little garlic and 12g of water to the recipe next time to make it even better.  We just forgot them this time by mistake.



The levains were built over (2) 3 hr and (1) 2 hr build before being refrigerated overnight.  Home ground whole wheat was used for the levains in keeping with the normal Desem starter feed.  We also ground the soft white whole wheat berries.


Each  dough was made by hand mixing the levain and non fat milk together first to break up and liquefy the levain, then the flours, butter and oil were added.  We added the fat to give the rolls an even more tender and moist crumb.  The dough was then hand kneaded for 4 minutes and allowed to rest for 15 minutes in an oiled, plastic covered bowl.

YW is on the right in side shot and on the left in the crumb shot.  The spirng better for the SD - quite unexpected.


(4) sets of S & F’s were done on 15 minute intervals with the herb, onion, bacon and parmesan added in on the third set.  The dough was then allowed to ferment and develop for 90 minutes.

Each batch made (6) 111 g rolls.  After dividing, the rolls were S&F’ed to shape and then rolled under the palms of the hand until the skin was tight and the fold seamed shut.  The rolls were then proofed for 2 hours on parchment in a plastic bag.

YW on the left, SD on the right.


The oven was preheated to 500 F and Sylvia’s (2) Pyrex cups, half full of water with a wash cloth in them were heated until boiling in the microwave.   The rolls with parchment were placed on the top part only of the mini’s broiler pan with the steaming cups and loaded in the lower rack for 10 minutes of steaming.  After 2 minutes the temperature was turned down to 425 F.

Who wants a plain cheeseburger?


When the steam came out at the 10 minute mark, the baking rack was moved to the upper level and the temperature turned down to 375 F convection this time.  In 5 minutes the rack was rotated 180 degrees and moved to the lower level for 5 more minutes of baking. 

When you can have one of these.  Both have grilled poblano peppers, Alpine Lace, Emmenthaler Swiss and brie cheese, caramelized onion and mushrooms.  One has lettuce and tomato and one does not.  Either makes any architect a proud builder :-) Even Lindy's on 4th in Tucson would have a hard time beating these burgers and no way they can beat the buns!


At 20 minutes the rolls were deemed done and removed to wire cooling racks where they were immediately brushed with milk to soften the crust for hamburger buns.

Brownman's Banana Bread made as a sheet cake For desert.

Formula follows the pictures.

YW StarterBuild 1Build 2 Build 3Total%
Yeast Water25200452.86%
Total Starter404199030.00%

Or the Desem starter below

Desem SD, Caramelized Onion, Basil, Bacon,  Parmesan Rolls     
Desem StarterBuild 1Build 2 Build 3Total%
SD Desem Starter1000102.86%
Total Starter404199030.00%
Levain % of Total14.49%    
Dough Flour %   
Bread Flour7525.00%   
Soft White Whole Wheat5016.67%   
Durum Atta5016.67%   
Dough Flour300100.00%   
Non Fat Milk19565.00%   
Dough Hydration65.00%    
Total Flour350    
Milk and Water235    
T. Dough Hydration67.14%    
Whole Grain %42.86%    
Hydration w/ Adds68.29%    
Total Weight621    
Add - Ins %   
Olive Oil 103.33%   


 Add ins are split between  12 rolls     
3 Bacon strips     
4 T Chopped basil     
6 T Caramelized onion.     
1/4 C Grated Parmesan    



SylviaH's picture

Very nicely done dabrownman!  I can just imagine the delicous flavor of the buns with the combo of ingredients!  This warmer weather is a great time to enjoy buns and burgers.  You've done a great job of keeping the heat outdoors and at the same time turning up some fantastic breads and buns!  


dabrownman's picture

steaming method makes keeping the heat outdoors possible!  These are fine tasty buns which puffed up nicely.  There are good for all kinds of things.  Will make bruscheta out of them tonight.  Who would have guessed the mini oven would be so prolific?

Thanks for your nice comments Sylvia.

isand66's picture

Fantastic!   I just had a burger at a local place called the "Burger Shack"...but they don't hold a candle to yours!

Your buns look perfect and I can almost taste them from here.

I will have to try some of these when I return.   Glad I saw this now and not when I was in China eating rice and pigs ears!  Don't know if I could have handled it...

Great baking.


dabrownman's picture

burger fanatics around here.  Had a nice DaMcBun for breakfast this morning - see the reply to Khalid.  Enjoy you pig ears on your trip and remember the noodles ( a thin unleavened bread) are great there too.   Thanks for your comments and inspiration for these fine buns. 

Mebake's picture

Lovely Buns, DA!

I can only imagine how diverse and intense the flavor is of all those beautiful buns. Nice Work!

As to the oven spring of a sourdough leavened buns versus the yeast water buns, a sourdough culture has an advantage over yeast water culture. A sourdough culture contains organic acids secreted by the lacto bacterias, which act as dough conditioner and strengthens the dough structure, while a yeast water culture lacks the bacterial acids.


dabrownman's picture

These rolls are tasty.  Had one for breakfast this morning  - DaMcBun Style - split in two, toasted, buttered, apricot / nectarine  jam, Emmenthaler Swiss, sausage and an egg - with cantaloupe, a peach, blaze grapes, and fresh cherries - delishious!

The science of starters is amazing.  Thanks for the information and nice comments. Hope your Ramadan goes well!

breadsong's picture

...bacon-burger-buns sound so delicious with caramelized onion, and basil too...
they must have tasted as wonderful on their own as with all of those other burger toppings.
Glad you tried the basil and hope you liked that flavoring!
:^) breadsong

dabrownman's picture

the yogurt and risotto like your fine buns but did add bacon and caramelized onion.  They were tasty as hamburger buns and this morning for the DaMcBun.  Tonight we will try bruschetta on them!  Your semolina, basil, risotto buns were inspirational.  I'n saving those for a special occasion. 

Thanks for your kind words.

gmabaking's picture

and wonderful pictures too. This morning I baked Silverton's three day hamburger buns. I thought I was really being creative until I read this combination of my favorite tastes. You are such an inspiration!

dabrownman's picture

blushing!  I love Silverton's recipes.  They aways come out great.  Glad your buns came out well.  I think I am in a rebellious  stage like before I was 35 yrs old :-)  Guys really never grow up I guess.  I sort of stole the recipe from Ian and breadsong's bun bakes earlier this week  and from my favorite of Ian's bread.  It is so nice to have such great bakers among The Fresh Lofians who post their great recipes and bakes for the rest of us admire and use as inspiration.

Here is a picture of the bruschetta's we had for dinner.  These buns are versatile!  Thanks again for you nice comments.

Brushed with mojo de ajo then grilled and finally topped delicious...

isand66's picture

Wish they served those on the airplane to China!  I can smell them half way around the world!  You're killing me :).

breadsong's picture

Dabrownman, with all of your preserving, cooking, baking, and fancy plates, you make every day a special occasion!
The amount of care and work is evident...that's inspirational to me!
:^) breadsong

dabrownman's picture

every meal a little bit special, (it really doesn't take too much time, effort or talent)  the food makes those that eat it a little special too!  My apprentice says I'm pretty special all right..........she's pretty insubordinant for an ankle biter who thinks she can poop anywhere she wants :-)

What are ya gonna do when your go to taster has an attitude like that?  I'd put her on bread and water but she is pretty much on that diet already :-)

Glad you like the posts and get inspired from them.  I do from your posts too. That is what makes the world go 'round  ....instead of square.

jarkkolaine's picture

Very nice looking buns and hamburgers!

Also, the side by side comparison of yeast water and sourdough breads is interesting. Thanks for sharing your experiment! 



dabrownman's picture

Nothing like a good experiment to confirm what you think is going on.  In this case we were surprised that the SD did so well.  Usually the spring of the YW is explosive.  Still have the SD / YW combo starter part to go and we think that that will give us the best result.

Thanks again .

jarkkolaine's picture

From my limited experience so far, I agree, the combination gives great results!