In Lithuania, however, for many years, bakers relied on starters developed abroad. Juodeikiene felt it was time for Lithuania to have its own mother dough, produced through carefully developed know-how. During the project FERMFOOD, food scientists and technologists at the Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania, the largest technical university in the Baltic States, gathered samples of the lactobacillus cultures from bakeries in the country. Given the importance of sourdough rye bread to the Baltic States, the researchers joined up with others in their field from Latvia and Estonia.
Winning approval to run a EUREKA project was a coup for researchers from a region with less experience of European research schemes. "It's often very difficult for new joiner countries like Lithuania to secure funding for research and application procedures need to be simplified for small companies from villages," says Juodeikiene.
Her three-country team analysed the different forms of cultures and explored which factors affected the sourdough bread and when it would go mouldy. Juodeikiene used cutting-edge equipment, which allowed her to test the texture of bread. Through using acoustic waves, the researchers were able to repeat their tests on the same slice of bread, since the equipment kept the slices intact. As they learnt more about the different lactic acid bacteria strains they were able to develop better effective cultures to produce more long-lasting bread they were able to test out their findings in the working bakeries.
The quest for the perfect loaf was full of painstaking research and sometimes unexpected results
|Contact: Piotr Pogorzelski|