Generation of sourdough
In recent years, food fermentation has experienced a boom due to health concerns about the positive effects of fermented foods. This has resulted in an increased interest in fermented foods.
This trend poses a great challenge to the industry, which has to meet the required needs, not only in terms of demand, but also in terms of quality.
However, in order to offer and promote higher quality products to customers, it is necessary to advance in the knowledge of microbiological processes. In this way, we will better understand their effects and we will be able to establish a legal framework that establishes the optimal conditions for the production process.
In Spain, more than 1,500 million kilos of bread, one of the best-known fermented products, are consumed. This means approximately 78kg of bread per person per year.
In this context, it is not surprising that the use of sourdough for bread production has emerged as one of the main trends in the food sector.
The use of sourdough offers multiple health benefits, which are scientifically endorsed and are included in the Bread Law. This legislation has defined a series of parameters for its production with the aim of guaranteeing the quality of the product and the information that customers receive.
For example, the maximum dose of baker’s yeast to be used (0.2%) and a pH value of 4.8 or lower are regulated.
The organoleptic properties of each sourdough depend on the balance of its ingredients (water and flour) in the matrix, but they also depend on the fermentation process.
Fermentation starters (belonging to the lactic acid bacteria group) consume the matrix compounds in the flour (sugars, lipids and amino acids) to produce different organic acids and exopolysaccharides. These condition both the aromas and the stability and properties of the final product.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE PROCESS
There are different natural processes for making sourdough:
- Spontaneously from the micro-organisms in the flour
- In a targeted manner using defined starters for fermentation.
Both processes produce natural products. However, there are major differences between the two:
In a spontaneous sourdough, the micro-organisms involved in the fermentation process are not selected and cannot be controlled. Unwanted microbial contamination can therefore occur.
On the other hand, by using starters defined after a careful selection of micro-organisms, food safety is achieved, which guarantees the best result and avoids the risk of contamination.
The quality of the final product
Another fundamental difference between spontaneous and directed processes is the organoleptic customisation, quality and traceability of the process.
In a spontaneous sourdough, neither the type nor the proportion of micro-organisms present can be guaranteed. It is therefore very difficult to obtain the same profile repeatedly.
On the other hand, this control can be achieved by using defined starters, which carry the weight of the fermentation and provide their uniqueness.
At LEV2050 we have developed a process protocol for the production of customised sourdoughs.
This is carried out at our customers’ premises on the basis of defined starters. Its industrial implementation focuses on the use of our patented sourdough generator and the best selection of micro-organisms.
This solution enables the regular and automatic production of customised sourdoughs. This allows for security of supply as well as great cost savings compared to the use of commercial sourdoughs.
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