Francesca Venturi

Francesca Venturi

Department of Agriculture Food and Environment
University of Pisa

Title: The traditional Tuscan bread: composition and sensory evaluation as a function of the production process


Francesca Venturi completed his 1^st Ph.D at the age of 28 years from the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa. She is a researcher in Food Technology of Pisa University. In 2008, she received a "Special Mention" at "Montana Premium" for Food Science Research (with her colleague Zinnai A.). She published more than 70 papers in journals or volumes and serving as a referee for ACS journals. She was an author in an Original Patent of Pisa University (RM2010A000617) for extra-virgin olive oil extraction by addition of CO2,s. She was Invited Speaker by OMICS group at Bioprocess 2013 (Kansas City, USA).


The fermentations, due to the utilization of sourdough in bread-making, are able to enhance the qualitative properties of the final bread and increase its shelf life. In particular, the different working conditions adopted by the bakeries during the storage and refresh of the sourdough can modify the ratio occurring between the populations of lactic acid bacteria and alcoholic yeasts contained inside the sourdough. As a consequence, the concentrations of the main microbial metabolites (ex: lactic acid, acetic acid, ethanol) can greatly change such as the sensory and physicochemical characteristics of the final breads. The aim of this experimental activity was the evaluation of the influence of the operative conditions adopted in some bakeries belonging to “Consorzio Pane Toscano PDO” on the chemical and sensory properties of breads. The sensory profiles of the products obtained using sourdoughs coming from three different bakeries, chosen among more than fifty producers, were evaluated by a panel of trained assessors who used a sensorial sheet specifically developed for this purpose and characterized by unstructured graphical intensity scales. The experimental data put in evidence the existence of large variability both for the microbiological and chemical compositional characteristics. According this mixed approach (both chemical and sensory), it was possible to put in evidence the high degree of correlation occurring among the chemical composition and the sensorial characteristics of the corresponding breads. Moreover, the best operating conditions were selected, among those investigated, using the informations coming from both the chemical and the sensory data collected.