Pre ferments make better sourdough bread!
What is a pre ferment?
A pre ferment is essentially anything used on the way to building a sourdough or other type of bread, which assists the leavening process. For example, a 'baker's sponge' is made of flour, yeast and water, and is a type of pre ferment. So too is a 'poolish', which is a very wet, lightly yeasted sponge. Another type of preferment is known as a 'biga', which is made like a dough, also with a small amount of yeast.
In this article, I'm going to walk through the basic sourdough sponge method. This doesn't include any yeast, except of course sourdough starter. It is especially useful if you are working with a dough starter, though it also enhances dough being made with a liquid starter too.