A voyage of discovery at the Center for Bread Flavour

3 Jan 2018

“If your aim is to prove you’re the ultimate bread specialist, then you have to do that at a physical location to offer on-site training and expertise demonstration per se,” says Puratos’ sourdough expert Karl de Smedt emphatically. “At our Center for Bread Flavour we completely immerse visitors in the amazing world of bread. It’s the ultimate experience for any professional who has a passion for bread and who is looking for a generous slice of inspiration and knowledge.”

Past, present and future

“Our motto at Puratos is: the future of bread lies in its past, says De Smedt. The Center for Bread Flavour, which opened in 2008, follows this precept to the letter. “We look at the past, present and future of bread and sourdough.”

At the centre, Puratos offers a range of facilities including a room filled with books about bread, a fully professional bakery fitted with the latest equipment, a microbiology department, the famous sourdough library with its unique collection of sourdoughs from bakers all over the world and La Maison du Levain, the sourdough house where the history and future of sourdough is portrayed.

The Center for Bread Flavour focuses on five major pillars:

  • Baking processes: “We have to keep abreast of everything our clients do and we have to be able to do it ourselves too. We’re probably familiar with every baking process there is and we support our clients both practically and theoretically.”
  • Tasty bread: “Everyone is entitled to be able to bake tasty bread. We aim to inspire visitors with new and existing flavour profiles and possibilities.”
  • Consumer understanding: “Thanks to numerous consumer surveys such as Taste Tomorrow and our own Sensobus , we know exactly what drives consumers, what they want and what their expectations and wishes are for the future.”
  • History & culture: “To be able to work on the future of bread, it is essential to know what the past has brought us.”
  • Strain management: “This is about all microorganisms, such as yeasts and lactic acid bacteria in sourdough cultures, and the major role they play in bread. Because we also receive many R&D specialists and product developers at the centre, we also want to be able to present scientific insights.”

A joint journey of discovery

Every professional who is interested in bread flavour is welcome at the Center for Bread Flavour. “In a period of less than ten years we have welcomed visitors of over 50 nationalities, ranging from the world’s largest industrial bakers who return annually for inspiration and product development, to groups of artisanal bakers from neighbouring countries. Visits are always arranged ahead of time so that we are able to provide a tailor-made programme , which is always based on our five pillars.” We compile a unique agenda for every group, based on their specific needs.

“The possibilities are endless. We can develop flavour profiles together, we offer tasting sessions featuring bread and beer to demonstrate differences and similarities, we organize tasting and assessment workshops. We can also assist clients with their communication about bread and of course we have a huge amount of expertise concerning sourdough.”

Every visit is a journey of discovery for De Smedt, his colleagues and their guests. “When bakers come to visit us, something magical always happens. It’s one thing to have the location, but the people who receive our clients are even more important. That‘s what it’s all about at Sankt Vith, where we try to impart our passion for bread to all our visitors. I regularly receive emails from bakers who write that after visiting us they have discovered new ways of baking, have rediscovered their passion or have gone back to work with renewed energy. And the messages in our guest book are also impressive. Those wonderful compliments completely justify the existence of our Center for Bread Flavour.”

Interested in learning how Puratos can help you discover new baking processes and flavour profiles? Don’t hesitate to contact your local Puratos representative or to visit our website :