Desem Sourdough Starter

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Desem Sourdough Starter

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One of our favorite sourdough starter cultures, Desem is a Flemish-style starter made with organic whole wheat flour. It makes delicious whole grain bread. For best results, we recommend feeding your Desem sourdough culture weekly.

Desem sourdough starter is available as a dried culture. Dried sourdough starters are shelf-stable and do not have to be fed or cared for immediately. Dried sourdough starters can be ready to create baked goods within 3 or 5 days.

Detailed instructions will be included with your order. Click here to view our dried sourdough starter instructions.

Click here for a comparison of our sourdough starters.

 

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Recipes for Sourdough:

 


Questions on Desem Sourdough Starter

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  • From tabby at 9/1/2014 10:55 PM
    • hi, can I use sourdough starter in my bread machine. is there 1 starter more suitable for bread machine? thanks.
    • Sourdough is tricky to use in a bread machine as it does not behave as breads using traditional yeasts. For example, your rise time likely will be very different from what your bread machine settings are. See here for more info: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/using-bread-machine-make-sourdough
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Heidi at 4/12/2014 3:36 PM
    • I have a grinder that I grind grain into flour with. Can I use that kind of flour for this? I am new to sourdough so have no idea what it would do. Thanks!
    • We have found that fresh milled flour does not work well for sourdough starter. It is best to use a flour that has aged for at least 2 months. You can also purchase a flour at the store.
      Fresh milled flour can be used for baking with your starter with wonderful results.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From sharon at 11/12/2013 6:42 PM
  • From Anne at 10/19/2013 10:19 AM
  • From Joell at 10/16/2013 10:25 PM
    • What is the shelf life of this dried starter?
    • The shelf life of our dehydrated sourdough starters are as follows:
      At room temperature (68° to 78°F): 12 months
      In the refrigerator (40° to 45°F): 12+ months
      In the freezer (0° to 25°F): 12+ months
      Maximum culturing temperature: 90°F
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Stephanie at 7/5/2013 7:29 AM
    • I am wanting to give sourdough a try again, and I was wondering about the tanginess of this starter? I so want to make sourdough work for our family, but the first time around was a disaster!
    • You'll find tips for manipulating the "sourness" here: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/how-to-make-truly-sour-sourdough-bread/ If you have a problem with a starter, put an airtight lid on it, put it in the fridge and send an e-mail to: customersupport@culturesforhealth.com The fridge will slow things down and give us a chance to figure out what is happening.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Suree at 5/23/2013 6:10 AM
    • I have been thinking of purchasing this starter. I grind my own wheat so it is completely whole grain. Will this work for this starter?
    • Yes, Desem will work well with your whole grain flour. Note that freshly ground flour is not ideal for feeding your starter, but is fine for using as the ingredient in your recipe. Before using for feeding, age the flour on the counter for at least a week.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From jen at 5/9/2013 5:54 PM
    • is your sourdough starter dairy and egg free? Want to double check as we have severe food allergies. Thanks!
    • While the sourdough starters do not contain any dairy or eggs, the starters are all packaged in a facility that also manufactures products made with wheat, soy, eggs, nuts, and fish.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Bethany at 1/14/2013 1:26 PM
    • We use King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour at home. Should I get this starter or a white flour starter?
    • Whole white wheat flour is a variety of whole wheat flour and would be well-suited for the Desem Whole Wheat Sourdough starter.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Moira at 1/14/2013 12:09 PM
    • Is this a yeast free starter?
    • Our sourdough starters do not contain traditional baker's yeast. However, sourdough does naturally contain bacteria in symbiotic combination with yeasts.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No

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Customer Reviews

Excellent product! Review by Marilyn M
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Received my sourdough starter several weeks ago, and have been making many different recipes since! Using the discarded starter (which there is a LOT of), I have made the pancakes and crackers, which are just awesome! I have made several loaves of bread, the sourdough coffee cake, and banana muffins, as well as chocolate cake - all amazing and my family loves them. I highly recommend this sourdough product, and the great support you are able to get if you have questions!

(Posted on 10/1/2014)

Quick start Review by Brant
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Culture took off like a rocket. It did take me a while to get the hang of sourdough. It isn't really hard, but there are a few tricks you need to know. Once I mastered those I started having success. The product arrived on time and in good condition. Starter is very high-quality.

(Posted on 8/31/2014)

makes great einkorn bread Review by Candace
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I had some frustrating failures with trying to make my own sourdough starter, so I was very happy to learn that I could use Einkorn wheat to feed this starter. I made my first loaf of bread yesterday... absolutely delicious!

(Posted on 7/25/2014)

Excellent starter Review by Jason
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Great rise
Excellent aroma
Wonderfull texture
Amazing flavor

(Posted on 7/9/2014)

very good Review by rupert
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very easy to activate

(Posted on 7/2/2014)

That's sourdough for ya! Review by Crystal
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This starter created an awesome "sour taste" in the first two loaves I made. I did have to detour from the instructions a bit - as my starter was coming out as thick as un-risen dough! (But I live somewhere really dry.) After adding a bit more water to each "feeding" my starter is just right.... now to find the perfect recipe...

(Posted on 6/18/2014)

Successful Sourdough! Review by Kim Smith
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I use einkorn flour with this whole wheat sourdough starter and it has worked really well. It took about five days for my starter to show signs of good health (bubbles, doubling in size), and since then I have been making pancakes, muffins and bread...all have been delicious! My chickens are also enjoying my extra starter :)

(Posted on 4/9/2014)

It worked Review by emmaleesee
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I followed the directions and was able to make great bread the first week.

(Posted on 4/3/2014)

successful sourdough Review by Lisa K
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Last year I followed Sandor Katz' instructions to get "wild fermentation" started and was very successful at it. I got tired of maintaining the starter and so let it die. Doing research on "wild" yeasts vs. tried and true cultures, I saw advantages and disadvantages to both. I decided to order the desem sourdough starter and make a comparison between it and the wild yeast in taste, texture, and rising ability. Please bear in mind I'm comparing the attributes of (warm)summer wild yeast and (cold)winter desem yeast. The taste between each is comparable, where each have a distinct sourness to them. The texture of the wild sourdough dough is smoother and easier to work with in the kneading process. The desem is real sticky, despite adding mass quantities of flour beyond the recipe. As it rises in the bowl, it stays sticky. For the final rise in the loaf pans, the stickiness stays and because so much extra flour has been added it's heavier and can't rise as high as the wild sourdough. The finished product of the wild yeast is fairly light and high. The finished product with desem is lower and denser. The desem bread appears to stay mold-free longer than the wild yeast bread. I also have made several batches of desem sourdough pancakes and I have to say that they are delicious! Would I recommend the desem sourdough starter? Absolutely!

(Posted on 4/2/2014)

Reliable Review by MFritz
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I've tried many times to make my own starter from scratch with very little success. I feel this starter actually helped me SAVE money because I didn't have to throw away product and time after failing miserably. I was very happy with the results. My starter started bubbling with in several days and I've now had 4 successful loaves and two amazing batches of pancakes (delicious with homemade strawberry sauce!).

(Posted on 2/17/2014)

Very happy Review by Ktb
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I very quickly had a happy, healthy, active sourdough culture!

(Posted on 1/26/2014)

Delicious and easy Review by Ceiba
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I had no trouble activating the sourdough from the package and I've been making bread now for a few weeks. I love the texture of sourdough bread. I've messed around with different recipes and even just guessing at quantities and it has always turned out well. I use extra starter to make pancakes sometimes. Sour pancakes with syrup is delicious.

I wouldn't hesitate to try it. You do need to feed the starter often at first with more flour and water, but then you can keep it in the fridge and the feeding slows down.

I love it!

(Posted on 1/25/2014)

sucks Review by Rob
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did not work at all

Response from CFH: Please contact customer support for troubleshooting advice before discarding product. Many cultures can be saved with minor adjustments

(Posted on 1/13/2014)

not bubbly, but tasty Review by oldexercisejunky
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I've been feeding this starter for over a week now. It never gets very bubbly, and it doesn't rise much in the jar on the counter, but it was able to make a loaf of bread rise in 7 hours, and it tastes great. I like the crepes recipe in the online ebook. And I tried some quick yeast rolls with a cup of starter for flavor -- that came out good too.

(Posted on 12/23/2013)

Just Could Not Make It Work Review by dean
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I tried with two different starters and followed the directions to the letter. I also watched the videos multiple times but just could not make this work for me.

Perhaps that was my problem since two other reviewers said NOT to heed the advice in the tutorials. But after wasting that much time and effort and resources, the frustration level is just not worth it.

Response from CFH: For sourdough, feeding with freshly-ground flour is not recommended. Age the flour first or save your freshly ground flour to use as the ingredient in your recipe.

(Posted on 12/21/2013)

Didn't work for me at all Review by Scott
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This starter never worked for me. The company was very kind and actually sent me tons of information and even a free extra starter to replace the original one I bought...so great customer service...but to no avail. First time, I tried it with the oven light. After numerous days it still wasn't working, so I figured it must be because the over light was too hot. Second try, I left it above the fridge in a room that was 69 degrees F. The starter is said to work only in 70-75 degrees...so perhaps that's where I went wrong. However, I've made wild yeast starter in this temperature and it worked more than fine. Everything else I did was exactly following directions. The Desem starter didn't bubble at all for me...it was like the "anti-starter". After probably 10-15 days of trying, it started to develop an off smell. So basically, be aware that it might not work if your conditions aren't absolutely perfect.

Response from CFH: The Desem Starter should culture well at 68-85ºF. We are always happy to troubleshoot and help resolve any issues.

(Posted on 12/5/2013)

Great starter, but don't listen to the tutorial videos. Review by Laura
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I've been feeding and caring for my starter for a couple of weeks now. It rehydrated just fine, and been bubbling (which is so exciting!). I made pancakes with it yesterday that turned out great! I haven't tried bread yet. (I still need to buy a loaf pan.)

I do want to say that in the tutorial videos, I was told that my starter would be twice the volume when it's ready to use as it is when I first feed it. I didn't find this to be the case. I've fed it faithfully twice a day since I got it, and it only increases by 50%. (1 cup of starter becomes 1 1/2 cups.)

Also, the tutorial video instructed me to use too little water. When I measured the ingredients out as instructed, my starter was way too dry, like a dough. I doubled the amount of water until it resembled a thick smoothie, and that looked much better. Beware! The tutorial videos don't seem to include instructions that are appropriate for whole wheat starters.

(Posted on 3/13/2013)

Yum! Review by tiger
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I have to admit that I messed up my first batch by not putting enough salt in the mix. However, I just ate this bread with some goats milk bree and WOW!!! Delicious!! It is worth it.

(Posted on 1/7/2013)

O M G !!!! Review by Tiger
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I am just putting my oven to 400 degrees so that I can make my first two loaves of sourdough bread. I am so excited. I guess you're reading this and thinking, 'So why the five stars if you haven't made the bread yet?' I made waffles!!!! When you are activating your sourdough you tend to have a lot and I mean A LOT of starter develop very quickly. I hated wasting so much of the starter so I followed the recipe for waffles. I added a little extra flour because my starter was softer but O M G!!! The best waffles EVER!!!! I have been enjoying them for about three or four days. I am down to my last one and I am already oh so sad. I have about 4 cups of starter still semi-activated in the fridge soOOooo!!! I am going to pull it out and make some more sourdough waffles!! Excellent dessert, which is how I eat them, but I think they would make a great breakfast too. The bread I am about to bake has risen better than any bread I have ever made and I have been making bread for about 2 years. Now I am just dying to try this sourdough as a bread. I bet it will be awesome!!!

(Posted on 1/6/2013)

Amazing results Review by joyful
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I love my sourdough starter and would defiantly recommend it to anyone. Thanks so much for an amazing culture to make my sourdough experience so great.

(Posted on 12/17/2012)



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