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  • Sourdough

    a couple of us "accidentally" started talking about sourdough bread making in a thread on mortar or brick cutting or something....And so we thought we should start a thread in the Brick oven cooking section....

    Anyone out there make desem bread according to Laurel Robertson and Alan Scott and Thom Leonard?

    I make it ALL the time - almost everyday and it is THEE best!
    REAL bread is what we call it!
    The thing is is I haven't finished building my oven yet...I can't wait to bake it in there!

    Cecelia

  • #2
    Re: Sourdough

    Hi Cecilia!

    I occasionally make desem using the Scott recipe. But I have never made it in my WFO. I agree it is a great bread. I more commonly make Hamel's 5 grain sourdough instead.

    Where are you in Kansas?
    Jay

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Sourdough

      St. Mary's - about 20 minutes west of Topeka.
      WHY don't you make your desem in the WFO???
      I cannot wait to try it - although it's easy to think about when my oven is not close to being finished .... when it's time, I'm sure I'll be, say, apprehensive...hesitant. I hate it when I ruin my bread!

      I make the desem with straight whole wheat (freshly ground), straight whole spelt, (also freshly ground), mix of white and wheat, and mostly wheat. I also add fruit and nuts - a favorite of my husbands, but not me. And I think this week I will add caraway as suggested by several friends....but to which one? the whole grain ones or the white/whitish ones?

      Cecelia

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Sourdough

        Hi Cecilia!

        I rarely do bread in the WFO for I have very high standards for my bread and I simply can't get the crust I want in small batches in the WFO. It takes at least 12 and preferably 15 pounds of dough in my 1 meter oven to get enough humidity in the oven to get the crust I want. And that is usually more bread than I want to make from either a prep or eating perspective. There are other threads on the site that go into that in far more detail. For smaller batches I strongly prefer a cloche in an indoor oven - which is easier, less messy, and breaks fewer oven windows (splashed water!) than steam creation in a conventional oven.

        You are right, tho IMO. Desem in a WFO is a particularly good bread!

        I asked about "where" because I had relatives in Kansas - grandmother in Hutchison, uncle in Wichita. Just curious!

        Bake On!
        Jay

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Sourdough

          yes, well, I do about 12 lbs of dough at a time - cramming 6 loaves on one stone. I have two ovens - a "very nice" dacor and a junk one on the back porch - I do not recommend dacors, by the way!
          And yes...I have succeeded in breaking the glass in both ovens - it doesn't really matter about the junk one - I can replace that whole oven without any regrets - but the dacor? I don't want to spend the money on the oven part because it has done nothing but give me problems from the very beginning - but I LOVE the stove top!!!
          ANYWAY, I used cover bakers up until this summer when I finally did the stone/steam thing (and cracked the glass) -

          I have a large family and a few faithful customers, so it's not too much for us.

          Cecelia

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Sourdough

            Since you are doing large batches you will LOVE the WFO. Only issue will be timing which you will learn! Sourdough in a WFO is especially fun. The WFO has its schedule and living rhythms and the sourdough has its (which is with practice more variable than the oven) and the two need to arrive at the proper point at the same time and....
            FUN!

            But great bread!

            Bake On!
            Jay

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Sourdough

              I have been baking a lot of Hamelman sourdough in the wfo...love it! But i have not heard of this desem bread. Is this recipe in "the bread builders" by Alan Scott?
              Drake
              My Oven Thread:
              http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/d...-oven-633.html

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Sourdough

                The directions are in Bread Builders. It's the bread that made Scott famous as a baker.

                Hamelman has some comments on desem, too.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Sourdough

                  I don't think Bread Builders has the directions for starting it up, though. The first time I ever heard about it was about 18 years ago in a book called "the Bread Book" by Thom Leonard - the entire book is on the subject - as well as growing your own wheat and wood fired ovens.
                  The next time was a few years later in Laurel Robertson's "Laurel's Bread Book." She gives very detailed instructions, but it wasn't until about 5 years ago that I got it right and have kept it going ever since.
                  But I'm interested in this Hamelman - I've never heard of that!

                  I'll look that up right now.

                  Cecelia

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Sourdough

                    I probably don't have proper desem either then. I may have to make a pilgrimage to Kansas to try some! )

                    Hamelman is a King Arthur baker and instructor. His book, Bread, is one of the highest rated bread books. It is, however, NOT very beginner friendly. He covers the material well - but in introductory chapters and when you get to the recipes he does NOT repeat the instructions so its a bit cryptic but if you know the material it is a great book.

                    Thanks for the comments on desem. I will have to look it up again!
                    Jay

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Sourdough

                      Hey, that would be something! Come on up!

                      I looked up the Hamelman and ended up at "the fresh loaf" website and saw some pretty yummy looking pictures. I might look into it ...but not till I'm finished reading "English Bread and Yeast Cookery" by Elizabeth David.

                      I tried Desem several times in my breadmaking years, but never really quite understood it - now we are on much better terms! It's so simple - sometimes authors make the simplest things so much more complicated than they need to be - (Bread Bakers Apprentice comes to mind) - I mean, forget it - once they start talking scientifically and mathematically...AAAAACK!

                      Remember: Laurel Robertson and Thom Leonard - Authors. Not too mathematic or scientific...
                      And Elizabeth David!

                      Cecelia

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Sourdough

                        Hi Cecilia!

                        Have you tried King Arthur White Whole Wheat (I presume you have access to it)? I have been using it a lot in whole wheat style breads. Has essentially the nutritional content of whole wheat but has less of the reddish pigment that supposedly gives whole wheat its somewhat "bitter" taste. I like it for near 100% whole wheat breads.

                        For low whole wheat (like the 5% WW I posted pictures of yesterday), I prefer to grind the grain immediately before mixing the dough. It seems to have more volatile aromatics that way. I have never tried to make enough flour for a whole loaf of home-ground whole wheat though!

                        From your comments I take it you are allergic to baker'e percentages???? I have too many bread books now. Maybe I can find a copy of one of those three at a library!

                        Thanks!
                        Jay

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Sourdough

                          yeah - you could say I'm allergic to baker's percentages!
                          I am learning, as far as yeast and salt go...how much yeast per pound of flour and then how much salt and then it changes for how long you want to leave it alone, etc etc...but that makes more sense to me than bakers' percentages.

                          I grind my own wheat - King Arthur, as good as it seems to be...is way out of our price range! I use only unbleached bread and all purpose in my baking and I prefer pillsbury or gold medal...or a more local brand, but will use kroger. Sorry - not very prestigeous, I know...but I have used King Arthur and, well, couldn't tell a difference!!!
                          But, like I said, I grind my own wheat and other grains - and I make great Whole wheat desem and whole wheat regular (sandwich - peanut butter and jelly style) bread - no white flour. Actually, the recipe...oh, I'm sorry...FORMULA...in Bread Bakers' Apprentice for 100% whole wheat bread is what I use - with freshly ground hard red winter wheat (Bronze chief from wheat montana)- I always get nice light loaves with a nice crumb - not crumbly and falling apart....
                          Everyone likes it but I LOVE the desem, and if I'm gonna eat bread, that's the bread of choice!

                          I suppose if I studied harder the percentages and stuff...I might get it. But you can't teach an old dog new tricks!
                          Besides, I'm supposed to be out there finishing up my oven floor!

                          Cecelia

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Sourdough

                            Thanks for the comments!

                            For whatever reason, I can buy KA bread flour for only about 40 cents a bag more than anything else. I would agree that my experiments with Gold Medal and other brands are USUALLY no more than marginally different. (A couple of bad experiences with one house brand has left me with a few scars tho!) So I use KA. I find it has consistency perhaps more than a quality uniqueness.

                            The white whole wheat is interesting. It is the grain that is different and I have heard that it can be purchased sometimes. Watch for it!

                            You are convincing me I should perhaps get out my earplugs and fire up my mill and make a real batch of whole wheat flour. As you know the fresh flour is magic!

                            The biggest advantage of BP IMO is simply to allow scaling up/down in volume and for dealing with different hydration starters. If you are pretty standardized on your batch size (and I am guessing you are) there really isn't much advantage!

                            Thanks!
                            Jay

                            Bake On!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Sourdough

                              Yeah, about 5 years ago Walmart carried KA all purpose for a small amount higher than the usual stuff and I used to get it. Then they quit carrying it and it was way too much at the grocery stores.
                              And you know what? Just in the past month, I have not been able to get Pillsbury unbleached at Walmart, and they only have a tiny little space for Gold Medal unbleached - but they have shelves and shelves of "Great Value" all purpose - bleached only! AND this other stuff that LOOKS very nice called Eagle Mills unbleached ultragrain - something like that - it's a combination of unbleached wheat flour and 100% ultragrain..."looks like white, tastes like white and bakes like white" - Sam's tried carrying it a while back, too. Can anyone tell me about "ultragrain"? I think it must be some genetically modified grain to appease the masses!

                              And speaking of flours - what is the Italian flour like - the "00" - ???? I really would love to try it out with pizza!

                              Cecelia

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