The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

to Desem or not to Desem...

buns of steel's picture
buns of steel

to Desem or not to Desem...

So I've been baking sourdough bread for quite some time.  I keep two starters only, one captured from wild grape and one from unsprayed apples.  I used to keep a rye starter but gave it up.


After reading about how wonderful Desem bread is, I'm thinking I'd like to try it...  however...


per the instructions in Laurel's Kitchen bread book, you sure use a lot of flour.  I have a lot of wheatberries I can grind fresh, but they aren't cheap this year.  I'm also feeling a little lazy about committing myself to another lengthy process.  If it was worth it, I would be totally into it, I just want to make sure it's not a lot of time, effort, and flour, if the results won't be significantly different from what I'm getting now.


IS DESEM REALLY WORTH IT, WHAT'S THE DEAL.  WHAT IS THE TASTE LIKE, is it milder, sourer, etc...  What is so great about it?

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

I made a desem starter a while back.  You can make it with about 1/2 the flour she calls for.  And it isn't that wasteful, at the end of the process you can still use most of the flour for other things.  Most of the flour is used to cover the starter, for reasons unknown.


But, oddly enough, I never got around to actually making desem bread.  I did use the desem starter to make other breads.  And, for better or worse, the bread really didn't seem any different than that made with any of my other starters.  No magic.  Or, at least, no special magic.


I think you can change the hydration on one of your other starters to match the hydration in the desem starter and be good to go.


Maybe it's time for me to get out the grain mill and give it another try....




TRK's picture

I read somewhere-maybe the King Arthur Baking Circle-a series of experiments someone did.  He got very similar results converting an existing white starter to a stiff, 100% whole wheat (folowing the hydration in Laurel's Kitchen) starter kept at a cool temperature as he did with the strict desem instructions.  I can't give a link because I can't remember where I read it, but that is my memory

buns of steel's picture
buns of steel

Thanks Mike and TRK for your replies.  I'm still fence sitting :)