Humans ate sourdough bread in ancient times and it's remained a traditional part of the diets in some countries and regions. Now Baltic scientists have reinvented this centuries-old technique for the needs of the food industry during a three-year long EUREKA project.
Many European supermarkets offer loaves from around the continent - from the French baguette through to the Italian ciabatta and Germany's dark pumpernickel. But ironically, despite the variety, many consumers are turning back to local bakeries or even rolling up their sleeves to make their own bread at home like some of their grandparents. This new trend doesn't surprise food scientist Professor Grazina Juodeikiene who thinks we are searching for the kind of flavour and texture often sacrificed during industrial bread-making. She headed a three-year EUREKA project, which found a way to deliver taste while maintaining a long shelf life.
The Lithuanian scientist first began thinking about bread when a foreign company arrived in her country to teach local bakers how to bake bread types such as the popular baguette. "It was excellent but the next day you could play baseball with it," she jokes. "My idea was to develop bread with what I now call the big 5: longer shelf life, better flavour, better texture, with more dietary fibre and fewer additives."
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the project FERMFOOD is that Juodeikiene's team has found ways to meet the needs of modern consumers by drawing on an ancient bread-making technique. As in the other Baltic countries, Lithuanians still eat sourdough bread - a tangy tasting bread that uses a natural leavening method, which some trace back to the ancient Egyptians.
The leavening technique was replaced in many countries by industrially processed yeast and food additives, but sourdough bread has continued to be the main staple in the Baltics and some other regions of the world. In sourdough
|Contact: Piotr Pogorzelski|