Dispatches from Anuga FoodTec 2015

Food technologist: Global interest in sourdough is growing

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Sourdough can be used to improve texture in gluten-free bakery and prevent microbe growth in sprouted grain products
Sourdough can be used to improve texture in gluten-free bakery and prevent microbe growth in sprouted grain products

Related tags: Baker, Baking

Sourdough is becoming increasingly popular in baking because of its versatility and ability to enhance flavor and texture as well as lengthen shelf life, says a food technologist.

Sourdough can be incorporated into a variety of baked goods, from traditional rye breads to wheat baguettes, croissants and gluten-free items and can be used in a number of forms, including starter cultures and dried powders.

Markus Brandt, food technologist at sourdough specialist Ernst Bröcker, said bakers were now incorporating sourdough into breads for a number of reasons.

“30 years ago sourdough didn’t really play a role, only for traditional baking. Now we have much more growth… Interest in sourdough is growing,”​ he told BakeryandSnacks.com at Anuga FoodTec 2015 in Cologne.

Big benefits, faster…

Brandt said sourdough had plenty of advantages in baking, despite being a very old technique, including flavor and texture enhancement and the possibility to delay staling.

“It cannot completely substitute baking improvers, but it may help,”​ he said.

The baking world had become increasingly interested in all this, he said, because of the convenient forms sourdough could be bought in, from powdered or liquid starter cultures for fermentation in baking to dried sourdough used simply for flavor.

In addition, he said sourdough appealed because it was a natural ingredient.

Gluten-free and sprouted products

Brandt said Ernst Bröcker had recently focused R&D efforts on developing sourdough starter cultures for gluten-free baked goods and products using sprouted grains. Use of sourdough in both product types had clear advantages, he said.

Incorporating buckwheat sourdough starter cultures into gluten-free products, for example, improved density and optimized structure and using sourdough in sprouted grain products increased acidity and therefore killed off microbes to create stability.

A global future?

Brandt said interest in sourdough stretched far beyond Europe, despite alternative understandings and expectations of the ingredient.

“In all parts of the world there is a sourdough tradition but it has different names. Now, however, the concept is coming more and more together,”​ he said.

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