BELGIUM – Puratos, a prominent supplier of baking ingredients, has opened a new research facility called the Sourdough Institute in Sankt Vith, Belgium, “dedicated to celebrating the art, science and potential of sourdough.”

The Sourdough Institute will feature hands-on classes led by “sourdough librarian” Karl de Smedt and selected bakery experts, Puratos said. 

These 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 said

In addition to classes, the Sourdough Institute is tailored to the scientific research of sourdough, from its benefits and potential applications to how it is made. 

Puratos said it will rely on longstanding collaborations with several universities and researchers, such as Free University of Bolzano professor Marco Gobbetti, to assist in this research.

The new facility will also house Puratos’ Sourdough Library, which has been used for more than ten years to provide insights on sourdough, such as sensory attributes and health benefits. 

The company said the library currently holds 153 sourdoughs and 1,500 isolated strains of sourdough.

Puratos’s history with sourdough dates as far back as the 1980s — we have always been passionate about improving and advocating the flavor, health, and well-being properties of sourdough products,” Smedt said. 

He elucidated that there has been fast-growing consumer interest and appetite for sourdough in recent years, which is why it’s the perfect time to open the Sourdough Institute. 

“Unbelievably, research on sourdough is still in relative infancy. Since every sourdough is unique, improving our collective knowledge in this area is even more important. By preserving sourdough’s heritage, furthering our research, and educating bakers on best practices, we want to ensure its benefits continue flourishing for many more generations.

This facility comes just weeks after Puratos introduced a groundbreaking addition to its product lineup: Sapore Lavida, the first entirely traceable active sourdough to emerge from Belgium. 

Crafted solely from 100% whole wheat flour obtained through regenerative agriculture practices, Sapore Lavida is poised to empower bakers across mainland Europe and meet the growing demand for locally sourced, sustainably produced sourdough products.

What distinguishes Sapore Lavida is not just its sustainable sourcing but also its tantalizing flavor profile. With its tangy taste complemented by fruity, lactic, and acetic notes, Sapore Lavida promises to enhance the sensory experience of any baked good it graces.

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