Desem, Day 6

This is the continuation of my accounts of making desem bread, which is made with just flour, water, salt and nothing else. It's somewhere between regular baking and a science project.

The desem has spent its final day covered with flour in the incubator-pot. Today I take it out to start it on its way to being a "mother", for many delicious desem breads to come.

I take it out of the flour, dust it off, and inspect it. Looks good - full of air holes inside, and has that sort of sprouted-wheat smell, just bordering on sourness but not quite.

This time, I don't discard any of the desem. (Just in case you were thinking, "this is a pretty wasteful way of making bread if you're throwing away half all the time!" That's only for the first few days.) I moisten the whole thing with about 1/3 cup of pure bottled water, kneading to soften the slight crust that's formed, then add 1 cup of flour. I do use the flour that was the incubator. I don't see anything in the book saying I shouldn't, and all that flour shouldn't go to waste. I'll keep the flour in the pot until it's used up. Since that pot is also the perfect pot for making baked beans I guess we won't be having that for a while.

The desem is kneaded well until it's smooth, and put into a plastic box. The book says an earthenware crock would be ideal...but I don't possess such a thing that's big enough. So a plain old plastic box will be the desem's home. It goes back to the same cool spot it seems to like so much in the unheated freezer/boiler room.

Tomorrow, I'll finally be able to start the process of baking the first loaf.


So pleased I've made it this far with results that still mirror your own. Only thing I won't follow you on is using the flour from the incubator to feed the actual desem ball. I will use it, but for the actual bread making. With the toddling infant I don't know what ended up in that flour, so I'll keep it away from the desem mother, in all her reincarnations, just in case.
I've ordered the Laurel's Kitchen Bread book and should receive it soon. These posts have been a terrific preview.

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