Fermentation. Does it need yeast?
I've learned that the longer a sponge or biga is left to ferment the less yeast is needed. Right now I have both fermenting away to see difference each will make in bread tomorrow. Both using two cups of flour (11 oz ) and 1/4 teaspoon of yeast. They have both been active for over two hours now. Both have gone from that wet dough smell to a wonderful yeasty aroma. Tomorrow is going to be a good day.
The question. Is yeast really necessary in the fermentation of dough? I know yeast breaks down the starches and consumes the resulting sugars. Is this process of exchange important to the fermentation? Would good fermentation occur without yeast?
Here's what I'm getting at. Is this possible.
First to make a batter using equal parts water and flour out of a bread recipe. Let this batter ferment. Then build the bread like you would in a direct method.
Thought of a mad scientist. If the yeast and natural bacteria are competing for the sugars leaving out the yeast would result in a quicker flavor maturity time. Thus cutting the time ( estimate ) in half. A four hour time to two, eight to four and the like.
Or if I do this am I on the way to making a fuzzy pet? Does the yeast act as a control for the natural bacteria? Much like salt does for yeast.
This then opens yet another question. Would salt in this yeastless batter control the bacteria?
Deeper thoughts on this from the mad scientist. I'm taking on the assumption that starts where originally done to either capture wild or stretch purchased yeast. Then yeast was traditionally added to starters as time passed. We now have yeast that doesn't need proofing. Can be added directly to flour. Making capturing wild or stretching out what little you would have obsolete. Is the idea of adding yeast to a sponge obsolete as well?
And as a side note. I've made my first bread recipe calling for eggs. Turned out great! But as far as personal taste goes I like bread better without. Still learning. Still having fun!