“Desem” is a delicious 100% whole wheat bread made with water, salt, and natural starter—and that’s it. It does not use commercial yeast. Desem is a simple, nutritious, versatile bread. I bake many other breads—whole grain and other—but keep returning to desem as my basic weekly loaf. The term “desem” is Flemish for starter, and the bread is similar to the French “Pain Poilâne” and “pain au levain”. Although made with natural yeasts and bacteria (i.e. “sourdough”), desem does not taste sour and is not at all like the famous San Francisco sourdough loaves.
Why this web page? There is quite a bit of information about making white sourdough bread on the web, but not much about how to do so with whole wheat.
Some features of desem bread
• The taste of pure wheat is highlighted.
• It uses no oil, yet is moist, and stays fresh longer than commercially yeasted bread.
• The raw bitterness and heavy texture found in many whole wheat breads are mellowed in the natural yeast process without the need to add white flour, gluten, or conditioners.
• The nutrition inherent in the whole grain is broken down into usable form by the bacteria.
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