I let my bread dough soak in a clear glass bowl most of the time. I origionally just used this bowl because it’s big and fits quite a bit of bread dough, but as a bonus I can see if there are natural yeasts (from the air) working in the dough. This only happens for me every once in a while, but when it does I’m happy to leave the commercial yeast out of my recipe, and just wait a bit longer for the natural yeast to do it’s job and the bread to rise.
This picture is one of those times, no yeast had been added to this. Just the whole wheat flour, whey, and water as described in my how I make bread post.
Why wouldn’t I want to use regular yeast (that comes from a grocery store)? Because as talked about in Nourishing Traditions, no studies have really been done on that commercially available yeast. Traditionally natural yeasts from the air were used. Commercial yeasts were introduce to ‘hurry up’ and standardize the process of making bread.
More about Natural Yeasts on the Weston Price (Nourishing Traditions) site
Rather like the carefully nurtured cultures and caves that produce delectable fermented cheeses, sourdough bread cultures are a product of place and the people who care for them and use them. They are all different, produce flavors and rates of fermentation peculiar and beloved unto themselves, require temperatures and other conditions known intimately and respected by the baker. Commercial baker’s yeast, on the other hand, is a monoculture of just one single variety of yeast, grown to be a consistently fast and vigorous replicator and producer of carbon dioxide, but incapable of developing grain flavors (the lactobacilli are best at that).
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