All leavened bread was made with natural yeast cultures up until compressed baker's yeast became available in the late 19th century. Because commercially produced baker's yeast is concentrated, it acts much faster than a starter does; it can take many hours for naturally leavened bread to rise. The longer fermentation time allows lactobacilli to start fermenting and producing acids that give naturally leavened bread a tangy flavour. Because of its distinctive taste, the American-English term for it is
Want to find out more? Look at the chapter on pre-ferments in the book flour and water.
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