Blog: Bringing sourdough to the next level

Blog: Bringing sourdough to the next level


When thinking about traditional breads, sourdough instantly pops into mind. For more than 5000 years bread has been baked with sourdough. Sourdough knowledge and recipes were kept in families and bakeries and passed from generation to generation. Over the last 150 years this tradition has been somewhat lost due to the introduction of bakers yeast, that accelerated the baking process and guaranteed a more consistent product. Nowadays we see a revival of sourdough breads, based on the consumers preference for traditional products and strong flavours.

At the Center for Bread Flavour we specialise in developing innovative sourdough fermentation methods. Sourdough fermentation is actually a simple process. You mix flour and water and give micro organisms the time to produce acids, esters, alcohol and CO2. The result is a unique bread with a rich flavour and texture, that is totally different from a standard baking process. In todays bakery sector however, the most important ingredient is time, as time is money. Making a sourdough bread might be relatively easy, but the process is time consuming and the quality is affected by different (external) factors. Our customers face the difficult challenge to make a consistent sourdough that delivers the same flavour and properties every day. 

That is why – at Puratos – we have put together a team of specialists that is working on sourdough fermentation and turns traditional sourdough into a convenient and consistent product to use. Getting to understand the underlying microbiological processes and translate this knowledge in new techniques and products is our main focus. At Puratos we have a broad experience in creating sourdoughs; we have a collection of more than 700 different types of yeasts and 1500 lactic acid bacteria. It is through the usage of different types of flour and a selection of specific micro-organisms in combination with time and temperature that we create our sourdough breads. In the future we aim to specialise ourselves into tailor-made development of sourdough recipes based on specific requests of our customers. Our sourdough innovations allow our customers to create new products, introduce new distinctive flavours that help them to stand out from the competition. 

The Center for Bread Flavour 
Sourdough fermentation is one of the focus areas of the Center for Bread Flavour. The sourdough production plant is right across the street. The main purpose of the center is to share knowledge and experience on bread flavours and fermentation technology with the baking industry. We officially opened the Puratos Center for Bread Flavour in October 2009. Since the start we receive an average of 2000 visitors per year. In the beginning we used the center more internal as a campus for training, but over the last years we received more customer visits. This year we really had an explosive growth of customers in the center. In April we received already more customers than the total of 2012. We receive visitors from all over the world and together with them we find ways to increase the flavour, the quality and the texture of their finished applications. We have a bakery in the center that allows us to do baking trials with our customers and really work on tailor-made solutions. 

In the center we work around five pillars: strain management, baking processes, quality breads, consumer understanding and bread history & culture. We seek to improve the baking process, try and taste new flavours and bake test batches of breads together with our customers. This gives every type of visitor something interesting to experience, whether he or she is working on R&D, marketing, production or management. 

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