desem

No Knead Desem Bread

desem_loaf1.sidebar.jpgI’ve adapted the No Knead Bread method for making this bread as described here, for a bread that originally requires at least 20 minutes of kneading. It turns out a quite light, crispy-crust, delicious loaf. continue reading...

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Adapting the No Knead method for desem bread

desem_sliced1.sidebar.jpgLike probably everyone, or at least every food blogger, in the world with an oven and a fondness for baking bread, I tried the No Knead Bread as written up in the New York Times in November. Authored by Mark Bittman via Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York, this almost perplexingly easy method of mixing up a bread dough that has that distinctive 'artisanal bread' crumb and thin, crackly crust caused a sensation in the teapot that is the world of food blogging.

As just about everyone says, it does produce a very good bread. And yet...for me it lacked that something extra special. This has a lot to do with the fact that in this country good bread is quite easy to get. Even the bread sold at the major supermarkets is not bad at all. The rather shiny, slightly gummy, open-grained texture of the No Knead Bread reminded me of pain paillase, a very popular twisted loaf bread that's widely sold in Swiss bakeries. The thing is though, pain paillase, being a sourdough bread and baked into a fat baguette shape, is tastier than the all-white flour No Knead Bread. So, I haven't baked any basic No Knead since the first couple of loaves. Besides. I'm trying to cut out white flour at the moment. continue reading...

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Sliced desem bread, showing the crumb

Sliced desem bread, showing the crumb
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A loaf of desem bread

A loaf of desem bread
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Desem, the final chapter

This is the final chapter 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.

My desem is now about three weeks old, and is quite mature. How do I know it's mature? Because, after it's been fed some fresh flour and water, it turns quite spongy within a few hours. It also dissolves completely in water, leaving no strings of gluten in my hand. continue reading...

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Desem, Second Baking

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. continue reading...

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The Care and Feeding of Desem, Week 2

So, once you have a desem, how do you take care of it?

For the second week (that is the week after it's been born, then grown in the in the incubator flour bed), it has to be fed every day. The thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn't feed it more flour than is already in it. continue reading...

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Desem, Day 8-9: The First Loaf

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.

I am writing this somewhat bleary-eyed after a late night...

The process of making the first loaf of desem bread is very long, and it's easy to miscalculate the time needed. That's what I did. Here's how it went... continue reading...

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Desem, Day 7

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. continue reading...

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Desem dosas

Yesterday, I took the cut away desem and made desem dosas. I had never made dosas with desem that was so young before, it but it still came out great. continue reading...

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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. continue reading...

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Desem, Day 5

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 isn't as active today, but it's certainly moving and growing. This is how the incubator-pot looks when I opened it up: continue reading...

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Desem, Day 4

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.

Yesterday I was a bit worried because the desem hadn't grown or changed at all. So I made two adjustments: I increased the amount of water in the dough a bit to make it softer, and I switched the location of the incubator/pot to a warmer location. continue reading...

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Desem, Day 3

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 been incubating for 2 days since it was born. I take the pot up from the washing machine room and open the lid. continue reading...

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Desem, Day 1

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.

Time to start the desem now. The ingredients for today: continue reading...

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Desem, Day 0

I've decided to start a desem again.

What the heck is desem? Well, it is supposed to be a Belgian whole wheat bread, though my only Belgian friend d__ doesn't know about it. In any case, it appears in the best whole-grain bread baking book I've ever read, The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book : A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking. My Amazon review is quoted here: continue reading...

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