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The Future of Bread Lies in its Past

Our commitment to the heritage of our industry

Research indicates that consumers around the world fondly remember the bread of the good old days, the bread that Grandma used to put on the table. However, when asked to describe this, they fail to do so.

This is why Puratos started to investigate what the bread of the good old days probably looked like. We discovered a reference to the “best bread” in the world by the Roman poet Horace in 37 BC. He wrote that the “best bread in the world” is Altamura bread, from the Puglia Region in Italy. In Horace’s time, bread was made with four key ingredients: water, flour, salt and ... sourdough. Sourdough provides a fantastic flavour and great texture. This is rather similar to local wines, beers and cheeses that result from fermentation of local micro-organisms in a micro climate. By using durum wheat from Altamura in combination with local micro-organisms, Puratos created O-tentic Durum, our greatest baking innovation since the launch of S500 in 1975. We used the latest fermentation technology, based on years of research, to capture the spirit of Altamura and make it available to the rest of the world.

The World's Heritage Sourdough Library

Karl De Smedt: "In 2013 we decided that we wanted to provide a real heritage source for bakers and consumers around the world. The Puratos Sourdough Library now houses an amazing collection of authentic sourdoughs. We don’t own them though. This is a non-profit initiative and the sourdoughs remain property of their respective owners. It’s Puratos’ way of contributing to the heritage of bread. Today, the Sourdough Library hosts the largest collection of sourdoughs in the world from over 24 countries. These sourdoughs are analyzed and preserved for future generations. Every two months the sourdoughs are refreshed with their original flour, following their original recipe."

But we also decided to protect the wonderful diversity of bread from all around the world. We gather sourdoughs from various regions and preserve them in a specially constructed “Sourdough Library” in the east of Belgium. Here, we are currently preserving over one hundred and twenty sourdoughs from around the world, and are thus playing a key role in maintaining the biodiversity and heritage of bread. Since sourdoughs are often passed from generation to generation, they remain delicate and can be easily misplaced or damaged, leaving the world a little poorer than before.

Karl De Smedt lives the Future of Bread every day. He is Puratos’ dedicated ‘Sourdough Librarian’, traveling the world in search of old bread traditions and preserving the sourdoughs in the Puratos Sourdough Library since 2013.

Although rich in diversity, the Sourdough Library can only add about 20-25 new sourdoughs to its collection each year. But that’s without harnessing the power of the online community of the Quest for Sourdough.

The Quest for Sourdough

Puratos has been passionate about sourdough for years, so we are convinced that The Future of Bread Lies in its Past. We are excited to share this understanding of fermentation with our clients and help them create tasty and high-quality breads, just like in the good old days. And in the future!

To chart these stories and unlock sourdough’s full potential, Puratos embarked on its ‘Quest for Sourdough’ around the world. This is where you come in: discover the largest online collection of sourdoughs and become part of the community!

Puratos’ Future of Bread mission is all about enabling our bakery customers to join the tradition, and create their future with their very own, authentic signature breads. In other words; Rustic Style breads that go back to the roots of baking. Our vision, knowledge and expertise comes together in our range of O-tentic, Sapore and Specialty Grains. Whether you focus on every day breads or the premium loaves, there’s always a sourdough and specialty grain in our range that helps your business grow best.