BRUSSELS — Puratos has opened a new research facility in Sankt Vith, Belgium, called the Sourdough Institute. The company said this facility is “dedicated to celebrating the art, science and potential of sourdough.”

The Sourdough Institute will feature hands-on classes led by “sourdough librarian” Karl de Smedt and selected bakery experts, Puratos said. These classes will “share best practice tips, techniques and recipes, as well as the science behind sourdough and its contribution to health and well-being,” Puratos said.

In addition to classes, the Sourdough Institute is tailored to the scientific research of sourdough, from its benefits and potential applications to how it is made. Puratos said it will rely on longstanding collaborations with several universities and researchers, such as Free University of Bolzano professor Marco Gobbetti, to assist in this research.

The new facility also will house Puratos’ Sourdough Library, which has been used to provide insights on sourdough — such as sensory attributes and health benefits — for more than 10 years. The company said the library currently holds 153 sourdoughs and 1,500 isolated strains of sourdough.

“Puratos’s history with sourdough dates as far back as the 1980s — we have always been passionate about improving and advocating the flavor and health and well-being properties of sourdough products,” Smedt said. “Now with fast-growing consumer interest in recent years, there is a huge appetite for all things sourdough, which is why it’s the perfect time to open the Sourdough Institute. Unbelievably, research on sourdough is still in relative infancy. Since every sourdough is unique, it’s even more important that we improve our collective knowledge in this area. We want to become, and help our customers become, not just leaders, but pioneers in health, taste and sustainability. And by preserving sourdough’s heritage, furthering our research and educating bakers on best practices, we want to ensure its benefits continue to flourish for many more generations to come.”