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The Bakery Project studies the biodiversity of baking practices, the biodiversity associated with the bakery sector and impacts on the nutritional and sensory quality of bread

Biodiversity of leavens for high-quality breads

The diversity of baking practices, the biodiversity associated with the bakery sector (terroir, soft wheat varieties, the micro-organisms in leavens) and impacts on the nutritional and sensory quality of bread are all aspects that were studied by the Bakery participatory research project. You can find out about it in the images shown here.

By Anaïs Bozino - Video: Alice Pouyat
Updated on 03/27/2018
Published on 12/11/2017

Low-input sourdough bread was the focus of study by the Bakery project. This bread is made by bakers or local producers using flour, water and leaven – a fermented paste composed of flour, water, bacteria and yeasts. The main idea behind the Bakery participatory research project was to understand how to sustain French baking practices and the diversity of wheats and micro-organisms used to ensure bread quality while preserving this valuable know-how. The results revealed that among other factors, the broad diversity of bacterial and yeast species in France is notably maintained by differences in baking practices. This microbial diversity impacts bread quality in interaction with the wheat varieties used and their terroir. The French bakery sector is thus a source of biodiversity and sustains microbial genetic resources with a potential for innovation.

Scientific contact(s):

  • Delphine Sicard, Research Director UMR1083 SPO SupAgro Sciences for oenology Joint Research Unit, 2 place Viala, 34060 MONTPELLIER CEDEX 2
Associated Division(s):
Microbiology and the Food Chain , Science for Action and Development, Plant Biology and Breeding
Associated Centre(s):
Occitanie-Montpellier, Versailles-Grignon, Jouy-en-Josas, Brittany-Normandy

the bakery project


The Bakery project was funded by the ANR under its ALID programme, 2014-2017. The partners in this participatory research project were:

*40 artisan bakers/local producers
*Professional associations
- Farmers’ seed network, http://www.semencespaysannes.org
- Triptolème (farmers’ seed network), https://www.triptoleme.org/nos-activites
*French Research Institute for Organic Farming - ITAB
*Universities, engineer training schools, research centres

Research units
- AgroCampus-ESA-INRA Joint Research Unit for Biodiversity, Agroecology and Landscape Development –BAGAP- Rennes; agronomists
- Universités de Bretagne Occidentale-Bretagne Sud-Rennes 2 Centre for Research in Psychology, Cognition and Communication -CRPCC- Brest; psychologists, sociologists
- IMT Atlantique-ONIRIS- Université de Nantes Research Centre for Process Engineering, Environment and Agrifood –GEPEA- Nantes; microbiologists
- AgroParisTech-CNRS-INRA- Université Paris 11Joint Research Unit for Quantitative Genetics and Evolution –GQE-Le Moulon- Gif sur Yvette ;  bio-mathematicians and geneticists
- INRA- SupAgro Sciences for Oenology Joint Research Unit –SPO- Montpellier; microbiologists

The International Centre for Microbial Resources (CIRM) Scientific Interest Group
- CIRM-Yeasts in Jouy-en-Josas
- CIRM-Food bacteria in Rennes