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Product Review (submitted on April 2, 2014):
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!