Bacillus natto and B. subtilis are used, primarily, to ferment legumes and (natto particularly) are famous for the mucilage that they produce. However, when they get into bread dough, they are considered a spoilage microbe as the mucilage produces a "ropy" defect in the dough.
My question is this, does anyone know if ropy dough is used in some culinary circles? It occurred to me that the ropiness would be a defect in baked bread but might be useful in steamed breads. Interestingly, (I believe that) steaming is the primary means of cooking bread in many of the same cultures that developed an appreciation for bacillus-fermented legumes. Is it possible that bread steaming was developed and focused upon because kitchens in which natto was prepared had too high an incidence of bread ropiness to make baked bread practical?
I'm thinking of adding a little natto to a dough ferment and steaming it to test out this theory but I'm curious if anyone, here, has experimented with this yet.