Thursday, May 31, 2007

Desem Primer

A Primer

“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.

-recipe and rest of article-

1 comment:

Leslie said...

Hi Jonathan! Here's the poppyseed cookie recipe you asked about...
1 1/3 cups unbleached flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
3 ozs. cream cheese, softened
2 T. sour cream
poppyseed filling (I use canned)
1 egg

Sift flour and salt together. Cream butter, cream cheese and sour cream until fluffy light. Stir in flour until blended, then knead lightly until smooth. Cover and chill several hours or overnight until firm enough to roll.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Divide dough into thirds. Roll out one third at a time to a ten inch square, trim edges even, then cut lengthwise and crosswise to make 16 squares. Place squares 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Place spoonful of poppyseed filling in center of each. Bring two opposite corners together, pinch together then tuck and roll down to form attractive top. Beat egg well in small bowl, brush over tops of cookies. Bake 15 minutes or until golden. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack and cool completely. Store tightly covered. Dust with powdered sugar before serving if desired.
I hope you enjoy them!