Bakery Sector: Sourdough Generation
In recent years, health concerns have led to an increased interest in foods that have positive health effects and strengthen our immunity. In this regard, the consumption of fermented foods is increasing significantly. The upward trend in this type of product is unstoppable, making it a challenge for the industry to meet the demand and quality requirements. Furthermore, it is necessary to advance in the knowledge of microbiological processes in order to understand their effect and promote their development. It is also necessary to establish a harmonised legal framework that establishes the conditions of the production process.
Bread is one of the most famous fermented foods. In Spain, we consume more than 1.5 billion kg, approximately 78 kg of bread per person per year.
In recent years, the use of sourdough has emerged as one of the most important trends in the food industry.
In addition to providing distinctive organoleptic properties, the use of sourdough provides multiple health benefits for the consumer. These have been scientifically endorsed and finally included in the Bread Law. This new quality regulation approved for this product has defined a series of parameters for its production. The aim was to guarantee its quality and improve the information consumers receive. The most significant changes regulate the maximum dose of baker’s yeast to be used (0.2%). They also set a pH value of 4.8 or lower.
The organoleptic properties of each sourdough depend on the balance of its ingredients (water and flour) in the matrix. They also depend on the fermentation process necessary to obtain the sourdough.
Fermentation starters, mainly belonging to the lactic acid bacteria group (both homolactic and heterolactic), consume the matrix compounds existing in the flour (sugars, lipids and amino acids) to produce different organic acids and exopolysaccharides, which condition both the aromas and the stability and properties of the final product.
Micro-organisms in the flour can produce spontaneously sourdough. It can also be produced in a targeted manner using defined starters for fermentation.
Both are natural products, but there are important differences between them. The first is food safety. In a spontaneous sourdough, we can’t control the micro-organisms involved in fermentation. This is because there is no selection of micro-organisms. This leaves the door open to unwanted microbial contamination. The use of defined starters, result of a careful selection of micro-organisms, provides food safety that guarantees a better result without undesired contamination.
On the other hand, the second fundamental difference is quality, organoleptic customisation and process traceability. In a spontaneous sourdough, we can’t guarantee neither the type nor the proportion of micro-organisms present . It is therefore very difficult to obtain the same profile repeatedly. However, we can achieve it by using defined starters, which carry the weight of the fermentation and give it its uniqueness.
That is why at LEV2050, we have developed a process protocol for the production of customised sourdoughs. Thistakes place at our customers’ facilities from defined starters. Its industrial implementation focuses on using our patented sourdough generator and the best selection of microorganisms. All this is the result of our extensive experience in fermentation processes. This solution enables the regular and automatic production of customised sourdoughs. This allows for security of supply and great cost savings compared to the use of commercial sourdoughs.
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