IN THE TINY MUNICIPALITY OF St. Vith, Belgium, there’s a most unusual library. Unusual, that is, because the objects on its shelves need to be fed every few months. Burbling away in refrigerators are 105 sourdough starters from around the world. It’s a modern way to store what used to be a familiar feature of home kitchens: starters, the fermented mixtures of flour and water added to dough to provide rise and flavor.

The Puratos Sourdough Library is not in an area famous for sourdough. Especially among Americans, San Francisco may be best known for the bread. But according to Karl De Smedt, the sourdough librarian, sourdough belongs to the entire world. Until 160 years ago, “everyone who was making bread was using sourdough…”

(Above photo courtesy of Karl De Smedt) 

(Our thanks to Leah Hinds for today’s Quirky)