Once upon a time, a rogue gourmet wanted to follow up on a myth he had heard of bread that rose without yeast. Lucky for this rogue, he found and purchased Alain Coumont's cookbook, "communal table: memories and recipes." Inside this wonderful tome of tartine, clafoutis, and bread is the recipe for the a sourdough starter used everyday by famed international bistro/cafe Le Pain Quotidien in their breads.
I'll quote Coumont here for a bit of clarification, as I'm definitely no experienced baker:
"Bread is a product of fermentation, like cheese, yogurts, beer, wine and cider, to name a few. Fermentation is dependent on the action of microorganisms , living things which convert the sugars contained in the raw materials, generating in the process a whole range of aromas and flavours characterizing a finished product, expressing its terroir; its place of origin in the broadest sense, in a word, giving it its unique personality."
When one constructs a starter, all of the maltose produced by the enzymes in the starter get produced into alcohol and carbon dioxide by fermentation. The carbon dioxide bubbles give bread the air pockets of fluffiness and guarantee a great texture. This fermentation process, without yeast will take some time--to the tune of 11 days of patience. So if you've got the gluten, honey, I've got the time!
For the starter:
2 kg of stone-ground whole wheat flour
1.2 L water
grey, unrefined salt
The first day:
In the morning, in an earthenware or stainless stell bowl, mix by hand 100 g of the flour, 60 ml of the spring water and a pinch of salt. Cover with a plate and leave at kitchen temperature.
In the evening, 12 hours later, add 100 g of flour, 60 ml of water and a pinch of salt. Mix, and cover with a plate.
The second day:
In the morning, keep only 150 g of the dough and add 100 g of flour and 60 ml of water. Mix quickly and cover with a plate.
In the evening, keep only 150 g of the dough and add 100 g of flour, 60 g of water and a pinch of salt. Mix quickly and cover with a plate.
The third to tenth day:
In the morning and the evening, repeat the second day's operations.
The eleventh day:
In the morning, the bread is kneaded for the first time. Take all of the sourdough starter and add 500 g of flour, 300 ml of water and a pinch of salt. Leave to rest for 5 hours.
It is now ready-to-use starter yeast.
Phew. That's a lot of waiting, to be sure. But once you've got your yeast, you can keep cycling it through if you desire. Stay tuned for a recipe to use with your starter. I know, more waiting. I'm a person, not a machine you fool.
Keep it class y'all!