The best bread I have ever eaten came from the mountains of Switzerland.
This bread is a hearty, whole grain bread yet is not as dense as a lot of the home made bread I have had. Sure, it's not as light as whipped store bread, but bread shouldn't be that light anyway.
I watched this bread being made a time or two, and found their secrets:
1. The use of a leaven, which is much more rigorous and healthy than cultured yeast.
2. The use of a super long fermentation. They would mix and knead the dough one evening, roll it out the next morning, and ferment it until baking the following evening.
3. The use of barley. Almost all Swiss flour, I have since come to find out, has a significant portion of barley. Barley is a lighter grain than wheat. It also adds a great sweet nuttiness to the bread.
4. Mixture of sourdough and yeast leavens. This lets you do the long fermentation at room temperature without producing too much acid in the bread.
I used some active, thriving cultures to start my leaven, and so this morning I had a very active, strong CO2 producing stuff.
The yeast used was pre-activated in some warm sugar water for about an hour before havign the bacteria mixed in.
The scrapings were taken off of the rinds of some fairly young cheeses, which still have active bacteria working on their surfaces.
The sauerkraut is fairly fresh, and it is raw. In addition, the batch of sauerkraut I took the water from has a strong acid, and super active culture. Sauerkraut is made mostly with wild lactobacilli. At any rate, the active cultures are lactic-acid bacteria which is what I want for my sourdough.
By basic sourdough, what I meant is that the process the baker uses is basic. They probably didn't make their starter but got it from someone else, and then they just use it to make a quick rise recipe.