where does "native yeast" actually come from?
I posted this question as part of an answer in another forum, but it really belongs here.
Are these native yeasts we use for sourdough actually from the surrounding environment, or are they perhaps just hiding in the wheat, deposited there in the field or in the mill? That is, are they really native to my kitchen (in Texas), or maybe native to somewhere like Montana, where my hard winter wheat comes from?
I suspect there are yeasts from both places that end up in my sourdough, but it is by no means clear which one is dominant. I guess if one wanted to ensure that local native yeasts were dominant, one might sterilize the flour, perhaps by hydrating it with chlorinated water, and just letting the chlorine evaporate. To test for flour-resident yeast, could just cultivate the starter with flour and water in a sealed container, and see if anything grows. Anyone done these things?
Would be interesting to be read something for bakers about native yeasts for bread from a yeast biologist. Anything out there in the literature?