The value of high protein (strong) wheat flour in final bread dough is common knowledge amongst bakers. However what qualities does a strong flour add to a leaven designed to grow microorganisms?
1. How much protein survives intensive fermentation (e.g. 8-16 hours at 20C - 26C, at 100% hydration) in a form that can contribute to the development of gluten in the final dough?
2. Most bakers have heard that the leaven (or pre-ferment) benefits the final dough, conditioning (by acidification) unfermented flours, helping to improve dough development and dough texture. How does this process work?
3. Is the protein in flour a primary nutrient for microorganisms and if so should lower protein flours (of the same grain variety) receive less fermentation than flours of higher protein?
4. If protein is a valuable food source in leavens, then are leavens made with higher protein flour capable of supporting a relatively higher amount of microorganisms?
5. Any other points?