Puratos launched a new production unit for natural sourdoughs located at the group’s Andenne site, near Namur, Belgium. The new unit will accurately reproduce traditional bakers’ methods of preparing sourdough cultures on an industrial scale.

Puratos says that it’s the quality of the sourdough that determines the great flavor of bread. But the production of a good sourdough isn’t something that everyone can achieve.
Few bakers still prepare sourdough the traditional way. A time-consuming task, sourdough production requires considerable expertise, and the outcome cannot be guaranteed as it relies on many parameters such as flour quality, water, ambient temperature and so forth, Puratos explains. This is why many bakers replace sourdough starters with yeast – it’s much easier to handle even if it does not compare from a flavor perspective.

The international group, which manufactures raw materials for bakers, pastry chefs and chocolatiers, conducted studies that found consumers, including young ones, prefer the taste of the good bread of “yesteryear.” That’s why Puratos initiated a major research program that led to the creation of itsSapore(meaning flavor in Italian) range of natural sourdoughs. The leavens are based on lactic acid bacteria -- the micro-organisms responsible for triggering fermentation -- specific to particular countries.

The Andenne site investment complements the other Puratos group sourdough factories in Saint-Vith, near the German border in Belgium, and in Cherry Hill, N.J., which also is the U.S. headquarters location. Production lines at these three factories faithfully reproduce the methods of traditional bakers and respect the traditional fermentation times. Where the two worlds diverge lies in the fact that Puratos disposes of a “library” that contains the best micro-organisms of the world, allowing it to produce a variety of leavens unimaginable just a few years ago.

The three-phase development represents a total investment of more than 100 million euros. From a staff of 20 in 1994, the number of personnel now exceeds 130. Puratos offers the region outstanding job quality and stability for a wide range of skill profiles related to the food sector.