Phytase is an enzyme. I think your friend is thinking of phytic acid
Phytic acid (known as phytate when its salt form) is the principal storage form of phosphorus in in many plant tissues, especially seeds. Phosphorus in this form is generally not bioavailable to non-ruminant animals because they lack the digestive enzyme, phytase, required to separate phosphorus from the phytate molecule. On the other hand, ruminants readily utilize phytate because of the phytase produced by rumen microorganisms.
For more info see the wikipedia article Phytic acid - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- all of the yeast and all (or most) of the liquid in the recipe are combined with sufficient flour from the recipe to form a medium to heavy batter. The sponge is allowed to rise at room temperature until approximately doubled in bulk (1 to 3 hours). The remaining ingredients are added and the dough is kneaded. The resulting dough has one bulk fermentation and a final rise "in the pan" (or "on the board" or "in the banneton" - depends on the bread)
- a fermented (yeast-risen) batter used as one ingredient in a subsequent bread recipe. Flour and water are combined with a very small amount of yeast and allowed to ferment at cool temperatures (in the 60sF or in the refrigerator) for 6 to 12 hours. Classic poolish is equal amounts by weight
of flour and water, plus the small amount of yeast. The final recipe has additional flour, water, yeast, salt and other ingredients.
- adding water to whole grain flour/cracked grain to soften the bran. No yeast is added. Cool or room temperature water is generally used for fine to medium flour; hot water is generally used for very coarse flour or cracked grain. Soaking time and the amount of water used vary widely according to recipe and desired results.
An excellent discussion of using whole grains in bread may be found in the Winter 07 issue of the San Francisco Baking Institute Newsletter at http://www.sfbi.com/pdfs/SFBINewsWI07.pdf