The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Can I skip the "salt waiting step" for Tartine Country Bread?

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Bread Head's picture
Bread Head

Can I skip the "salt waiting step" for Tartine Country Bread?

Hi,

What would happen if I added the salt and extra water in with the first mix of the Tartine Country Bread?

I do agree with Autolyse! but can't it all happen at the same time?  What is the purpose of mixing the flour, water, leaven and waiting 40 minutes then adding the salt and remaining water?

 

wally's picture
wally

Typically, autolyse involves leaving out the leavening (yeast, preferment or levain) and salt, while allowing the flour and all the water to meld together for anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour.  The product of this is gluten formation, without the baker having to do anything.  Since both leavening and salt compete with flour for hydration, they are kept out until the final mix, after the period of autolyse.  The other benefit is that the final mixing time is substantially reduced.

As for your specific recipe, I can't comment as I don't have that book.

Larry

Bread Head's picture
Bread Head

Yes Larry that's what I don't get...............I am not supposed to leave out the leaven, just the salt and 50 grams of water for 20 to 40 minutes, then add the 20grams of salt and 50 grams of water to start the bulk fermentation. 

What do you think would happen if I mixed everything together at the same time and just let the bulk fermentation start right then?

wally's picture
wally

You should certainly be able to forego the autolyse.  It will result in slightly longer mix times, but otherwise is doable.

Larry

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

This reminds me of the question "Can I microwave my cat to dry her after bathing?".  The answer is, of course, yes.  However, you probably won't be as pleased with the outcome as you would have had you used a towel.  In this case, you will not allow the flour to fully hydrate and begin gluten development without, as Wally noted, inhibition of said process by salt and levain.  But sure, you can skip it and just know that your final product might not be as pleasing as Robertson's process is capable of.  You may still love it (probably will -- bread baking is ridiculously forgiving). 

If I remember correctly (I think I'm trying to forget Robertson's method -- too many nightmares), Chad says to leave out only the salt and 50 ml of H2O, but the levain is already incorporated.  Autolyse with or without levain seems to vary from recipe to recipe and I don't know what Clavel actually recommends.  Queensland Phil (PIPS) pointed out in a reply to one of my queries that he left the levain out his lovely Tarlee miche during autolyse because he didn't want to start bulk fermentation that early.  So that's a consideration too.

All that being, autolyse's paltry 30-60 minutes is such a small fraction of the whole process that it's not where'd I'd look to nip and tuck if I was trying to work the process around competing demands for my time.

Tom

 

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Only flour and water  should be used in the autolyse.  Starter, salt, and other ingredients are added after the rest period [30 minutes to 1 hour].

Adding the starter before autolyse only increases acidity in the dough inhibiting pro-gluten forming enzymatic activity. Adding the salt before autolyze only makes the gluten tougher and less stretchable. 

Wild-Yeast

 

 

All at Sea's picture
All at Sea

... "Adding the salt before autolyze only makes the gluten tougher and less stretchable."

is one I have found to be demonstrably true. But this toughening and reduction in stretch is a very useful attribute - if used at the right stage of gluten development, of course. The benefits become very apparent with very high hydration doughs, in particular.

For adding salt only after you've worked the dough sufficiently to achieve a moderately developed gluten structure - full of gorgeous stretch and give - will immediately tighten the dough but also make it more elastic - i.e. it pings back (unscientific expression - but hope you'll get my drift) - which helps it hold its shape.  The dough becomes instantly more manageable, somehow. And by this time, the yeast has already had a free run to get into top gear.

All at Sea

imaloafer's picture
imaloafer

You are correct about true autolyse only using water and flour, but usually a wet preferment is included in the autolyse. Salt inhibits yeast, thus slows fermentation, but it actually assists in giving gluten strands more elasticity, thus gives greater extensibility to the dough. 

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Flour needs hydration to form gluten -allowing a rest in a neutral pH is what's important. Adding preferment is a personal choice.

This is from Wayne Glissen's,  Professional Baking Fourth Editon by Wayne Glissen and Le Cordon Bleu Academie D' Art Culinaire De Paris, page 89;

AUTOLYSE
Artisan bakers usually take an extra step during the mixing of the final dough.
This step is called autolyse (pronounced auto-lees).To mix a bread dough in
this fashion, first combine just the flour and water and mix at low speed just
until all the flour is moistened and a dough is formed. Turn off the mixer and
let stand for approximately 30 minutes.
During the autolyse, the flour hydrates fully, meaning the water is
completely absorbed by the flour’s proteins and starches. Also, the enzymes in
the dough begin acting on the proteins before they are too stretched by
mixing.This improves the gluten structure in the bread, making the finished
dough easier to handle and to mold. It also improves the texture of the baked
bread. Because of the improved gluten structure, mixing time is reduced,
meaning less air is mixed into the dough, improving the dough’s color and
flavor. This is because the oxygen in the air has a bleaching effect.
Notice that only the flour and water are included in the autolyse.The yeast
or starter, the salt, and other ingredients are not added until after this rest
period. If the yeast or starter were added to the dough before the autolyse, the
yeast action would increase the acidity of the dough, and this acidity would
inhibit the enzymes from acting. If the salt were added, it would make the
gluten tougher and less stretchable.
After the autolyse period is over, add the remaining ingredients and finish
mixing the dough.

It works well and saves energy by not having to prolong mixing without effect.

Wild-Yeast

patnx2's picture
patnx2

Great queation and really great responces. I did learn more about what I do. Thanks all Patrick from Modesto

sandydog's picture
sandydog

I kind of liked Toad's response above, we must have a similar sense of humour (I do not recommend microwaving cats by the way).

I believe that stiff preferments are best left out of the autolyse - They compete with the flour for the water in the autolyse.

If your preferment (The DNA of your bread) has a high % of water then it is probably better off in the autolyse to assist with the hydration of the flour.

Try it both ways, and see if you notice any difference!

Be interested to hear what you do.

Brian

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

So I think that adding the salt early with the effects that Wild-Yeast mentions will only serve to slow down fermentation in different ways than what the recipe intended.  If you stick to the temperatures of the recipe, the rise times will be longer than those stated.

Mini

judsonsmith's picture
judsonsmith

To add to Brian's comment, I think Calvel allowed exceptions to autolyse when using things like liquid preferments and dry yeast. Liquid preferments, the logic goes, have low enough acidity and fermentation activity that they can (and should) be included prior to autolyse without increasing gluten strength excessively, and as Brian already mentioned liquid preferments include a lot of total dough hydration.

Jud

Bread Head's picture
Bread Head

I also did a overnight bulk fermentation for 10 hours.

 

 

 

Bread Head's picture
Bread Head

What do you guys think about this loaf?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

:)

Bread Head's picture
Bread Head

It tasted good!  Had a bit of tang to it.  

(Not sure how else to describe the taste)

Davo's picture
Davo

I done both ways and noticed no discernible difference. But then. maybe I'm not that discerning. I wonder how many who say that you must leave out the salt have actually tried both ways, and without succumbing to confirmation bias? I don't bother leaving out the salt any more.

Davo's picture
Davo

BTW, that bread looks pretty good. I don't think I'd be having you serve me a slice of that, and saying "tsk tsk, you clearly didn't leave the salt out for the autolyse"...

carblicious's picture
carblicious

A few months back, I stopped autolysing my Tarine country loaves as well.  With a side-by-side bake, there might be a difference, but baking on the weekends it's not enough for me to discern. 

Bread Head's picture
Bread Head

Your crumb looks great!.........nice job.

Do you do the turns or let it sit overnight for bulk fermentation?

carblicious's picture
carblicious

Thank you.

I stretch and folds over 3-4 hour bulk ferment.  But with the room temps I have, I proof overnight.

btw, I like the scoring on your bread.  Looks so masculine.

Bread Head's picture
Bread Head

Thanks.

When you say a "side by side comparison you can see the difference"  what do you mean specifically, what differences?