Fermented bread
Fermentation brings out distinctive flavors and aromas in bread.

KANSAS CITY — Fermentation has a long history in relation to making bread. Going by distinctive flavor and clean label trends, fermentation may affect the future of bread, too.

Until the 19th century, long natural cereal fermentations, known as sourdough, mainly produced bread, said David Deblauwe, regional product manager, bakery flavors — North America for Puratos Corp.

“Since the industrialization of baker’s yeast, a lot of these traditions and know-how has been lost, and bread production has been uniformed and standardized,” he said. “Nowadays, the modern consumers search for more tasty bread, more natural ingredients and processes to produce that bread. So the future of bread lies in its past, and we are on a re-discovery tour of sourdough.”

Research is showing that, besides flavor, sourdough also may be used for health and nutritional purposes.

“It has been shown that sourdough lowers the glycemic index, helps the absorption of micro-nutrients like minerals and vitamins by reducing the phytic acid or helps gluten-sensitive people better digest bread by hydrolysis of the wheat gluten during the sourdough fermentation,” Mr. Deblauwe said.

Puratos will launch a new generation of sourdoughs for the United States at the end of 2017, he said.

AB Mauri North America, St. Louis, in February 2016 launched Aromaferm, a new line of cereal ferments. They offer bakers a variety of fermentation flavors for such finished goods as artisan bread, baguettes, rustic rolls, ciabatta, sandwich bread and pizza dough, said Paul Bright, innovation manager for AB Mauri North America.

“Our initial lineup of four styles, which includes a Liquid Wheat & Malt Ferment 90 product and three other clean label dry ferment solutions, has made sales and attracted additional attention from both large and small regional bakers as well as bakery ingredient distributors,” Mr. Bright said.

AB Mauri promotes Aromaferm as delivering a “fast-track solution” for bread bakers.

“It has been said that keeping a sourdough starter alive is much like owning a pet,” Mr. Bright said. “In order to reach a favorable outcome, you have to feed it, pay it some love and attention and possibly even name it. Aromaferm removes some of the time and process challenges of dealing with traditional sourdough starters by providing desired flavors and shelf life along with the consistency that bakers want.”

Aromaferm does not provide a “cookie-cutter” solution for artisan bread bakers, he added.

“There are multiple factors involved that may contribute to potential time savings, including objectives of the baker, which Aromaferm ferment is selected, what proofing and baking processes are used, desired finished product attributes and more,” Mr. Bright said.

Brolite, Streamwood, Ill., offers dozens of cultures and sours.

“Having spent 25 years in the fermentation industry, I’ve learned that change will occur out of necessity or out of innovation,” said Tom MacDonald, vice-president of sales for Brolite. “We’ve gone from scraping liquid yeast out of a bucket on horse-drawn carts to state-of-the-art liquid delivery systems. I’m sure the day will come when there will be a form of yeast that is dry, doesn’t need refrigeration and will work in high-speed plants.”

As long as people desire certain flavors in their bread items, fermentation should play a role.