The Future of Bread Lies in its Past

Consumer understanding research over the last few years has indicated that consumers around the world want good, tasteful, high-quality breads. In order to meet these needs, Puratos decided to develop the Best Bread for the Future. However, this was not an easy task since every individual has a different understanding of what the Best Bread of the Future characteristics are.

As a result, our executive board, joined by futurist Anne-Marie Dahl, conducted a consumer study and came to this astonishing conclusion: The Future of Bread Lies in its Past!

Why this conclusion?

When we asked consumers to describe their favorite breads, they continuously referred to bread from the good ol’ days, when grandma pulled it fresh out of the oven and onto the kitchen table. Unfortunately, there was no consensus about what this bread looked like!

For that reason, we contacted ethnologists to help us define what bread of the good ol’ days looked like, going back in time thousands of years through the history of bread…. 50 years…200 years…1000 years….2000 years! But they could not go back any further than the book of Satires.

Written in year 37 BC by Horace, the book of Satires alluded to the best bread being Altamura bread from the Puglia region of Italy. When we went to Altamura and consulted University of Bari Professor and Bread expert, Marco Gobetti, he informed us that throughout history bread was primarily made with four key ingredients: water, flour, salt and sourdough…. no yeast! In fact, yeast was not discovered until 1857 by Louis Pasteur, so sourdough was most often used, providing fantastic flavor, great texture and a longer time of freshness. 

What does this mean for the future of bread?

It’s a fact that Horace did not taste the numerous breads of Mexico, Russia, Iran, France and more, but his claim about Altamura bread has revealed that sourdough breads were a result of local fermentation of local micro-organisms and local climate.

In the case of Altamura, up to 400 microorganisms could have possibly been responsible for this great fermentation and thus, the profile of this bread. Therefore, Puratos collected these micro-organisms, tested them in breads, had them evaluated by consumers through our sensory analysis research and as a result, 40 micro-organisms compatible with today’s taste preferences were retained. It is on the base of this work that O-tentic was created, and the Sourdough Library was developed.

We are convinced that The Future of Bread Lies In Its Past, and with this, we will help our customers create tasteful and high-quality breads that remind consumers of the good ol’ days

The Quest for Sourdough

Puratos has recognized the wonderful bread diversity all around the world and has decided to protect it against the globalization trend. At the Puratos Center for Bread Flavor in Belgium is the very first Sourdough Library, where we have physically collected over 87 different strains of sourdough from around the world. But there’s always room for more…

That’s why we started The Quest for Sourdough, a project that lets us hear how you got started baking sourdough, who taught you your family recipe and why it’s so unique, keeping it alive for future generations.

This is where you come in: click here to find out more about The Quest for Sourdough and how to add your own strain of sourdough!

Center For Bread Flavour

Located in St. Vith, Belgium, the Center For Bread Flavour gives customers, scientists and Puratos employees the chance to share their passion for bread and best practice in achieving perfect flavours. It is also home to our famous Sourdough Library.

Discover our Center for Bread Flavor

Sourdough Library

Located in our Center for Bread Flavour in Sankt-Vith, Belgium, the Sourdough Library gathers a unique collection of sourdoughs from all over the world, each with its own distinct charecteristics.

Discover the Sourdough Library