Sourdoughs, or the culture of taste

sourdough and leaven

Historically, sourdough was the very first bread-making ferment used in the production of bread. It comes from a blend of flour and water, in which the metabolic activity of a mixed population of lactobacilli and yeasts is at work, either by spontaneous fermentation (“natural” sourdough) or through fermentation initiated by a starter culture, with or without refreshment.

Many bread-making professionals today are reluctant to prepare a natural sourdough starter, because it is so tricky to maintain and cultivate the complex flora as the sourdough is refreshed. Because leaven is a fantastic tool for customizing the flavor profiles of bread products, Lesaffre has developed a unique range of taste enhancers that can be adapted to bakers’ needs and that will also surprise and win over all of their consumers’ senses.




Meeting the expectations of bakers and consumers

Making bread from sourdough creates the richest flavors, thanks to the activation of complex flora comprised of the close intermingling of yeasts and bacteria. The consistently positive image that consumers have of sourdough has led yeast-producers to develop taste enhancers that combine ease-of-use, consistency of flavor and diversity of applications. After a first generation of products in the form of starters for sourdough, today ready-to-use sourdoughs and devitalized sourdough have been added to round out our range.

For many years now, Lesaffre has made a real commitment to taste, and many of our initiatives have gained quite a following:

  • Launch of starters in 1992, followed by the 1st ready-to-use living sourdough in 1996, which enabled the creation of “sourdough bread”, as defined in France by the Bread Decree;
  • Partnership with Maisons du Goût on the subject of sourdoughs, beginning in 1996, and creation of a sensory analysis team within the Baking Center™ network in 2002;
  • 2003 launch of the patented Croustilis Fraîcheur bread-making ingredient made from dehydrated, fermented whole wheat flour (devitalized sourdough);
  • Launches of the rye-based liquid Arôme Levain (2003) and its wheat-based variant (2012), 10 kg poches Kastalia Levain in 2012, and a dry, devitalized, certified organic spelt wheat sourdough in 2014.

Sourdough: qualities recognized and appreciated by professionals

Sourdough bread-making, a technique in use since ancient times, has inspired a renewed interest among consumers today who are now in search of bread products that combine taste and conservation properties.

When combined with long-fermentation products with flavor profiles chiefly marked by acetic and lactic acids, sourdough develops inimitable sensory qualities: traditional sourdough breads have a thick crust, a dense crumb and a tangy taste. Sourdough likewise affects the conservation and nutritional density of the finished goods.

It is also suitable for use in brioches and Viennese baked products, particularly thanks to its optimization of product shelf lives and amplification of buttery flavor notes. For example, a loaf of panettone containing 30% to 60% sourdough (sourdough flour/total flour) can be stored at room temperature for up to 6 months.

In this way, the line of taste enhancers developed by Lesaffre opens the door to the imagination and makes it possible for baking professionals to achieve consistent taste, texture and color in their creations.