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The Science of Sourdough with Noel Brohner from Slow Rise Pizza & Special Guest Biologist Dr. Angela Oliverio

November 20, 2023 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm PST

Price: Free

Continuing on a bi-monthly basis, Noel Brohner from Slow Rise Pizza Co  will be holding a series of free online sourdough pizza classes aimed at teaching everyone from professionals to home bakers the science of sourdough. Every other Monday from 5:00-6:00pm PT, Noel will be inviting different special guests to help explain the growing science around sourdough: scientists, doctors, nutritionists, farmers, bakers, millers, brewers, authors, and more. This week, Noel will welcome special guest biologist & assistant professor Dr. Angela Oliverio.

Noel first read about Angela in doing research about the science of sourdough months back.  A famous study, commonly referred to as 500 Sourdoughs, put her on the map to many outside the sourdough science community when it was published in 2021.  For those wanting more background into Angela’s body of work, 500 Sourdoughs aka The diversity and function of sourdough starter microbiomes is a great start.

Angela will cover a wide variety of topics during her presentation including the following:

  • Sourdough starters have been globally important for thousands of years but surprisingly only a very small fraction of global sourdough microbial biodiversity has been characterized.With a network of bread bakers, we determined the microbial diversity of 500 sourdough starters from four continents by sequencing samples of sourdough starter sent to us.
  • We found little evidence for biogeographic patterns in starter communities (aka there weren’t any microbes unique to San Francisco, for example)
  • There were patterns in what types of yeast and lactic acid bacteria species tend to be found together in the same starter, suggesting that interactions between species are important to the resultant starter microbiome.
  • Variation in dough rise rates and aromas were largely explained by acetic acid bacteria, an overlooked group of sourdough microbes.
  • Different strains of acetic acid bacteria have different impacts on the properties of sourdough starter – all acidify the starters, but extent varies.
  • We are building a collection of isolates and genomes so we can probe the interactions of sourdough microbes under varying conditions in a highly-controlled lab environment.


Dr. Angela Oliverio is an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University in the Biology Department where she started a little over a year ago. Her lab at SU uses sourdough starter as a model microbial system to understand fundamental properties of microbiomes including how species interact with each other (e.g. different species of yeast and lactic acid bacteria) and how these interactions shape functional properties of the starter – such as rate of dough rise, flavor formation, and acidification. Before coming to SU to start her research group, Angela was an NSF Rules of Life Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale, and she did her PhD at the University of Colorado.

Whether you come armed with questions or just want to listen and learn, all levels are welcome.

Registration will close ONE HOUR before event start time.

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Photo Credit: Rob Dunn Lab, NCSU


November 20, 2023
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm PST
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