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cecilB 09-08-2009 08:42 PM

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!


texassourdough 09-09-2009 03:57 AM

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?

cecilB 09-09-2009 05:58 AM

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?


texassourdough 09-09-2009 06:33 AM

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!

cecilB 09-09-2009 06:47 AM

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.


texassourdough 09-09-2009 11:00 AM

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....

But great bread!

Bake On!

DrakeRemoray 09-09-2009 03:10 PM

Re: Sourdough
I have been baking a lot of Hamelman sourdough in the it! But i have not heard of this desem bread. Is this recipe in "the bread builders" by Alan Scott?

texassourdough 09-09-2009 03:33 PM

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.

cecilB 09-09-2009 08:36 PM

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.


texassourdough 09-10-2009 06:06 AM

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

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!

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