Making a 'pre-ferment' without salt and yeast
Whenever I read a recipe that calls for a pre-ferment, it calls for a biga, poolish or pate fermentee, all pre-ferments which contain yeast. What I'd like to know is if it is also a custom when making certain artisan breads, to use a 'pre-ferment' which contains no salt and yeast, in other words, a dough of only flour and water (technically not a pre-ferment since there is no yeast to 'ferment' anything, but you get the idea).
Having a dough of flour and water stored in a fridge in advance before making a final dough (where salt and yeast are added), should in theory release a lot of flavor from the grain because of enzyme activity in the dough (which is not disturbed by yeast simultaneously acting on the dough).
I am thinking of making a bread this way but I have yet to find a recipe that calls for this technique. Has anyone ever tried this?