Sourdough breads and related products

  • W. P. Hammes
  • M. G. Gänzle


Grinding of cereals and addition of water results in the formation of a dough which, after some time, will turn into a sourdough characterized by acid taste, aroma and increased volume due to gas formation. This fermentation event may have been one of the first microbial processes employed by man and led to the use of sourdough for breadmaking. Baking of leavened bread can be traced back to Egypt in 1500 BC, and the study of the microbiology of sourdough has a history of nearly 100 years. Not all sourdoughs are subjected to baking. More fluid soured doughs are consumed in various parts of the world. Boza in Turkey and Mageu in Africa are examples of a group of raw foods that had once also a tradition in Europe. For example, in Scotland these were known as sawens or flummeries (Fenton, 1974). There are even smooth borderlines to beer-like beverages. These are considered as products of alcoholic fermentation performed by yeasts and require the digestion of the starch by amylases. Without specific technological precautions, however, it will always be, as in sourdough, a lactic acid bacteria (LAB)-yeast association that primarily develops in the cereal-derived substrates. An example is provided by ‘Berliner Weiße’ beer, which is characterized by a deliberate LAB-yeast fermentation and by the strong acid taste of the beer.


Lactic Acid Bacterium Wheat Dough Sourdough Fermentation Sourdough Bread Heterofermentative Lactic Acid Bacterium 
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© Thomson Science 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. P. Hammes
  • M. G. Gänzle

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