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Trends in Wheat and Bread Making
2021, Pages 129-172

Composition and activity of microbiota in sourdough and their effect on bread quality and safety

Dubravka Novotni1, Michael Gänzle2, João Miguel Rocha3

Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, University of Zagreb,Zagreb,Croatia.


Ground cereals mixed with water yield a dough which, after standing some time and owing to the spontaneous fermentation by the adventitious microorganisms present therein, becomes a sourdough characterized by a typical acid taste and increased volume. Sourdough in breadmaking has been used since ancient times, and it appears as one of the oldest food biotechnological processes employed by human beings. Continuous propagation of sourdough promotes the natural selection of a synergistic microbiota beneficial for humans, mainly with lactic acid bacteria and acid-tolerant yeasts. Sourdough bread is facing increasing popularity as convenient, nutritious, stable, natural and healthy foods. However, the manufacture of sourdough bread with high and consistent quality, improved flavor and taste, prolonged shelf-life and better food spoilage resistance requires optimization and control of breadmaking processes determined by both endogenous and exogenous factors—which are here comprehensively outlined.

Keywords: Sourdough, bread, functional metabolites, lactic acid bacteria, microbial dynamics, microbiota genotype and phenotype, shelf-life, spontaneous sourdough fermentation, traditional bread, yeasts.

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