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Desem Whole Wheat Sourdough Starter

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$12.99


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Desem Whole Grain Sourdough Starter Culture

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One of our favorite sourdough starter cultures, Desem Sourdough Starter is a Flemish-style starter made with organic whole wheat flour. It makes delicious whole grain bread. 

Your Desem Sourdough Starter: What's in the Box? 

  • Each box contains 1 packet of dehydrated Desem Sourdough Starter Culture
  • Store in a cool, dry place until ready to activate.
  • Activate using whole wheat flour and unchlorinated, unfluoridated water.
  • Our Desem Sourdough Starter is easy to use and maintain. Feed daily for frequent use or weekly, if baking infrequently.
  • Learn more about maintaining a sourdough starter and baking with sourdough

 

Desem Sourdough Starter Ingredients:

  • Organic whole wheat flour, live active cultures
  • Non-GMO


Desem Sourdough Starter Instructions and Troubleshooting: 

  • Dried sourdough starter cultures can be ready to create baked goods within 3-5 days.
  • Sourdough starters culture at room temperature, 70-85ºF. 
  • Instructions for using this starter are included and can be found here.
  • Having trouble activating your sourdough starter? Browse our Sourdough Troubleshooting Articles or contact us for assistance.

 

Desem Sourdough Starter Shipping Information and Shelf-life:

Our Desem Sourdough Starter Culture is shipped in a barrier-sealed packet as a dehydrated culture. The starter is best if stored:

  • 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

 

Desem Sourdough Starter Allergen Information:

Manufactured in a facility that produces products made with gluten and dairy.

 

Actual product may differ from image shown above.


Questions on Desem Whole Wheat Sourdough Starter

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  • 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
  • From Dorothy at 10/9/2012 7:55 AM
    • Can you use the Whole Wheat sourdough starter with white flour as well? Why the different kinds?
    • The Desem whole wheat starter has been fed whole wheat and should be activated with whole wheat. Once the starter is active, you can change it to anther kind of flour, see this article for instructions: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/how-switch-sourdough-new-type-flour Always keep a backup when you switch types of flour: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/create-sourdough-insurance-backup
      The different sourdough starters include wild yeasts found in specific regions and will have slightly different flavors and characteristics. The product pages include descriptions of flavor and unusual characteristics (short proofing time etc.).
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Genet at 7/24/2012 8:07 PM
    • Can I freeze some of my sourdough starter as "insurance" in case some of it goes south?
    • Absolutely. For long term storage, you can also dehydrate a portion of your starter and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Anna at 3/29/2012 6:51 PM
    • Can I use whole grain bread flour to activate my starter? Is there a difference between bread flour and regular whole grain flour? Thank you :)
    • Bread flour is high gluten, high protein, and doesn't have the right proportion of carbohydrates for the sourdough to work best. You can use it, but it won't give the best results.​
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Amy M at 2/9/2012 9:08 AM
    • When working with this starter do I have to bake with straight wheat flour as well? For example - can I feed my starter with whole wheat flour but then bake with a mix of whole wheat and spelt flours?
    • Yes. At that point, you could add different flours for a nice multi-grain bread.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Victoria M. at 1/19/2012 3:13 PM
    • I am new to sourdough and am curious, how is this starter activated and how long does it take?
    • The Desem Sourdough starter is activated by feeding specific amounts of whole wheat flour and water, and it may take from 3-7 days to fully activate and be ready for baking. The starter comes with complete instructions on activating, maintaining, and making fresh starter for baking.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Lori at 12/3/2011 6:30 PM
    • I have been working with my whole wheat sourdough starter for a couple of months now. I feel I've come a long way, but I'm still having some difficulties. Instead of 3 feedings, I find my starter rises better if I feed it at least 6 times before using it. I'm getting better at kneading, too. The dough now fills the pan and rises a bit above it by the time I'm ready to bake it. However, as soon as I poke it with a knife to put the slits in the top, the dough collapses. Is this normal? I'm not using bread flour, but regular flour and I'm wondering if this is the problem. I've read on another website that whole wheat bread will come out softer and rise better if 1/3 cup of gluten is added to the dough. Do you recommend this? Thanks for your help!
    • Gluten is what lets the dough rise high (because it is stretchy and holds the flour together). A long rising time means the dough is really puffed up, and if the gluten is over-stretched, poking the loaf will cause it to collapse. More gluten will help. More kneading is good too, because that's what activates and distributes the gluten. Gluten is a protein, so if there's not an allergy problem, added gluten can provide additional strength to a dense, heavy flour like whole wheat.​
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Cortney at 7/10/2011 11:15 PM
    • I'm on day 6 of activating my desem starter per the instructions that came with the starter and the how to videos on this site. For one thing, discarding all but 1/2 cup of starter twice a day when feeding it has not left me with much to bake with, it doesn't seem that the starter is "growing". And secondly the starter is just getting drier and more bread-dough like the longer it's activating. As I'm reading more about Desem online, it appears that this starter is more of a sponge/solid starter as opposed to a softer, "goopier" starter, is this true? Tonight I reserved more starter and added the corresponding amounts of water and flour and now I have a little loaf-like starter that I'm keeping in a bowl overnight. Am I doing this correctly?!
    • To begin with, it sounds like you definitely need more water, or less flour. The starter should be anywhere from batter-like to spongy, but not denser than that. Different environments can require some adjustment to the basic instructions.

      The reason you discard dough while you are activating is so that the newly activated starter is not trying to do too much work until it has become stronger. Once it is activated and you are ready to begin baking, of course you will want to let it build up.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No

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Customer Reviews

Great flavor and clear instructions. Review by Ruthless
Quality
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Value

About 25 years ago I made all our bread with a sourdough starter. Thought I would try it again with whole wheat. This starter had a rough time due to dry air and dry flour at high altitude and a house that gets down to the 60s at night. I need to play with the starter when I am home to watch. Love the flavor made one loaf of bread. Too dense. Plan to have it rise in oven with the light on next time and check every hour or so. I also had to add more water to the starter, could not stir flour in without extra water. At 8,000' you usually need extra water. May take a few tries, but I will stay at it until I figure it out. The flavor is worth it!

(Posted on 3/25/2015)

Great Product Review by Lisa
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Price
Value

This is a wonderful product. I especially love that they have video and detailed description of how to manage your starter and how to make bread from your starter. I have had no issues with my starter.

(Posted on 3/22/2015)

Excellent Product! Review by Nora
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Value

Amazing product...it was easy to activate, and once activated I have had enough starter to quickly bake with! After feeding it while in maintenance mode the starter bubbles up like a shaken up soda. Since I am new to baking with sourdough, my loaf wasn't exactly perfect, but the flavor had that delicious soury tang I was hoping for. Looking forward to more baking with this product!!

(Posted on 2/15/2015)

first time Review by don
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Value

I have no premise for a review being my first attempt at maintaining a starter and making sourdough, but Sarah has been great at answering my questions and my starter is getting consistently better at CO2 generation after i feed the monster!!

(Posted on 2/13/2015)

Lots of time committment Review by rancherdee
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This is like having a baby in the house again--always needing a feeding. I did finally bake my first loaf of whole wheat sourdough bread yesterday. It made a large loaf. I couldn't see purpose in making the "X" nor was I sure what size it should be (made it corner to corner with an exacto knife). I look forward to enjoying a slice for breakfast today. Hope to try some of the other recipes because It is difficult for a frugal person like myself to through starter away, but I can't bake all the time, unfortunately.

CFH Note: The "X" is to keep the loaf from tearing as it continues to rise, a very sharp knife or exacto knife works great! Store your starter in the fridge to minimize feedings. It should only need to be fed weekly in the fridge and the amount you remove for baking will be active and ready for baking within 3 feedings.

(Posted on 2/10/2015)

Oustanding starter for whole grains!! Review by Connie
Value
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Price

I have used various sourdough starters over the past 12 years, some I started, some I borrowed, and some I bought. This starter is by far the best I have ever used and it is my absolute favorite. I use almost exclusively whole grains - wheat, spelt, and rye. The Desem starter works so well with all of my whole grains. I also love a really thick starter and I keep this one very thick so it is ready to use at a moments notice. This starter was easy to activate and was ready for loaf bread within a week. I really love it!!

My four star rating on price is because money is tight for me and the cost kept me from purchasing this starter before. I wish I had known that it was well worth the money and I would have saved up and made it a priority sooner. :-)

(Posted on 12/14/2014)

Great starter! Review by Keenmom
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This starter works really well! I've tried to make sourdough bread a couple of times before with a homemade starter but when I did, my bread turned out like bricks-even my chickens didn't like it!
With this particular starter however, my bread turned out nice and soft. I am very pleased with it and look forward to making more things with this starter.

(Posted on 11/25/2014)

Great Product Review by JLM
Value
Quality
Price

Company stands behind their product. Will recommend and patronize Cultures of Health

(Posted on 11/20/2014)

Yummy Review by Kris
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Have had good success with the starter. Baked 6 loaves and they just keep getting better and I am getting the hang of the process. Called for help twice and they were very kind and gave great suggestions.

(Posted on 11/4/2014)

awesome first time starter! Review by Sara
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I love my sourdough starter! I had been wanting to make bread, and finally got the sourdough starter. I was nervous at first, but it was surprisingly easy. Definitely recommend!

(Posted on 11/1/2014)

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
Value
Quality
Price

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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Value

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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Value
Quality

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
Quality
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Value

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)



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