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Cereal Foods World, Vol. 63, No. 2
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1094/CFW-63-2-0063
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​Traditional Versus Modern Leavening Systems
Frank Devos1
Puratos, Groot-Bijgaarden, Belgium

1 Senior Product Manager, Business Development Sourdoughs & Grains. E-mail: FDevos@puratos.com


Breadmaking as we know it, with kneading, leavening, and baking, has existed since the ancient Egyptians. With the introduction of commercial yeast some 150 years ago, much faster processes were suddenly possible, fueling the rise of modern industrial baking in the 20th century. Today’s consumer trend is shifting back toward authentic artisan-style breads made using traditional processes. One of the key elements is the use of sourdough with only very small amounts of yeast or no yeast at all, along with extended fermentation times. Several methods exist for starting the fermentation process in a sourdough, from spontaneous fermentation to collecting yeast water or refreshing an existing sourdough. The ecosystem obtained can be very specific and will result in a unique flavor through the breakdown of starch, protein, and mineral fractions in the wheat grain in specific ways. Process parameters such as time, temperature, and consistency further influence the dough and bread characteristics. As a result, the possible combinations are endless, creating a number of challenges for the modern baker who is looking to apply traditional techniques in a larger-scale bakery. A variety of systems exist to manage sourdough and long-fermentation processes at different stages of breadmaking. As an alternative, ready-to-use sourdoughs are available and can be used in artisan breadmaking applications.

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