Puratos Opens New Sourdough Institute

Puratos opened a new Sourdough Institute: a unique hub dedicated to celebrating the art, science and potential of sourdough. Through a combination of masterclasses, online events, its one-of-a-kind Sourdough Library and ground-breaking research, the Institute in Sankt Vith, Belgium, aims to “protect, research and inspire” the legacy of the popular ingredient on a global scale.

The new Sourdough Institute houses the world’s only Sourdough Library, dedicated to the conservation and promotion of sourdoughs from across the globe. With 153 sourdoughs stored in-house, the Library ensures the biodiversity of strains for future generations. It also has a vast analytical capability, where more than 1,500 strains have already been isolated, to better understand the fermentation process in the pursuit of better tasting, healthier sourdough products. For over 10 years, the Library has provided unique insights and facilitated expert consultation on all things sourdough – from its sensory attributes to its many health benefits. Designed as a hub for inspiration, the new Institute will help inspire bakers in the art of sourdough through a variety of masterclasses – tailored to customers’ needs.

Led by renowned and passionate sourdough librarian Karl de Smedt and selected bakery experts, these hands-on classes will share best practice tips, techniques and recipes, as well as the science behind sourdough and its contribution to health and well-being. Puratos’s Sourdough Institute will also focus on scientific research to uncover more about the benefits and potential applications of sourdough, and the art of making and using it. As part of this research, Puratos is working on a predictive model providing measurements including digestibility score, sustainable credentials, flavor, shelf life and much more, to help bakers improve the taste, health profile and sustainability of their creations.

Through longstanding collaborations with leading universities and researchers such as Prof. Marco Gobbetti at the Free University of Bolzano, the team is committed to sharing and expanding knowledge, to make sourdough and its benefits more accessible to all. “Puratos’s history with sourdough dates as far back as the 1980s – we have always been passionate about improving and advocating the flavor and health and well-being properties of sourdough products. Now with fast-growing consumer interest in recent years, there is a huge appetite for all things sourdough, which is why it’s the perfect time to open the Sourdough Institute,” comments Karl de Smedt, sourdough librarian, Puratos. “Unbelievably, research on sourdough is still in relative infancy. Since every sourdough is unique, it’s even more important that we improve our collective knowledge in this area. We want to become, and help our customers become, not just leaders, but pioneers in health, taste and sustainability. And by preserving sourdough’s heritage, furthering our research and educating bakers on best practices, we want to ensure its benefits continue to flourish for many more generations to come.”

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