Using a pre-ferment and a longer fermentation in the breadmaking process gives greater complexity-of-flavor, through yeast- and bacterial-action, enhancing the flavour and keeping time of the finished product. The starter ingredients are mixed in a container at least three times bigger than the ingredients, to allow room for the starter to grow. The starter is left sitting at room temperature, up to 72 hours, before being added to the dough. Starters typically last three to five days, but this time can be extended through refrigeration and providing more water and flour until it is ready to be used.
There are several kinds of pre-ferment commonly used in bread baking:
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