The Fresh Loaf

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Autolyse question

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Bev619's picture
Bev619

Autolyse question

I mainly make "sandwich" style breads (all sorts - white, whole wheat, honey/oat, buttermilk, chestnut, multigrain, etc...)  To do an autolyse, should I NOT be mixing in the salt until AFTER the autolyse has been completed?  If so, will the salt get thoroughly blended into the dough added afterwards?  Or am I only supposed to mix flour and liquid together pre-autolyse and add everything else after the autolyse is completed?  I am concerned about it blending together thoroughly if adding everything afterwards.  I use my Zo as well as my Kitchenaid.  Thank you!!

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Of autolyse you are only supposed to mix the final water and flour in the dough for a minimum of 20 minutes and up to 60 minutes.  Some say you must add the preferment if it contains a higher % of hydration than that of the final doughe final dough.  It's pretty common for liquid levains to be held out of autolyse as well though  Salt gets in the way of autolyse slowing the chemical process trying to be achieved.      To assure the salt does get mixed in after the autolyse some hold a small portion of water from the dough to dissolve the salt in before adding.  

 

Josh

Bev619's picture
Bev619

So after letting the flour/water dough sit in autolyse for, let's say, 20 minutes, I can then add the rest of my ingredients including the salt melted in some of the held back water?  Super.  Thank you for the tip on helping blending in the salt.  

MisterTT's picture
MisterTT

be incorporated evenly, but it's never a problem, though it is easiest to do as Josh says, I often forget to hold the water back and just incorporate the salt dry.

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Salt is normally kept out of the autolyse stage because it competes with the flour for water. Holding back some amount of water to ensure complete association of the salt in the dough post-autolyse seems, to me, doing essentially the same thing salt would do in the initial mix: make less water available to the flour.

In most doughs I put all the water and flour prescribed together, mix it and sprinkle the salt on top of the resulting shaggy dough ball. This is a trick I found reading about the 2005 USA baking team's doings in the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie: an international baking competition held in Paris approximately every three years.

I think the main reason the team did it was to make certain they did not forget to add it subsequently: a common error, apparently even among the best of bakers. At the end of the autolyse step you will notice the salt has absorbed some water, forming a wet slurry, but not dissociated. Assuming you are going to manipulate the dough by kneading, Stretch & Fold or other gluten developing methods you can be assured the salt will be completely incorporated into the dough. I guess the exception would be in No Knead bread one would have to mix all the ingredients in one step.

I've been doing it the aforementioned way (sprinkled on the hydrating dough) for two or three years now with no downside.

Happy baking,

David G

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

not mix into the dough was when I was suddenly called away from my dough.  I had just put the salt on the autolysed dough.  I didn't work in the salt and just poked it in or folded dough over the salt, covered the bowl, set it aside and came back hours later.  I had hoped it would just dissolve and I could work it in without any problems.   The salt had encapsulated. 

I used my bare hands to then blend in the salt which had formed very hard lumps and the hard salt lumps cut the skin on my hands leaving them raw red and sore.  I will never do that again.  Do not add salt letting the salt stand in the dough.

When adding salt, sprinkle and work in the salt immediately.  It blends in well and won't cut your skin if you use your hands.  (Dissolve large crystal salt before adding.)

Mini 

Bev619's picture
Bev619

Thank you.  I at least have a couple options to try.
Also, if I am adding whole grains, oats, nuts, seeds to my bread do I add that after autolyse too?  
Same question for sugar, honey, any dairy (sour cream, yoghurt, etc)?
And if the recipe doesn't call for any water, but is based on buttermilk do I just treat the buttermilk as my water?

TIA!!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Things to think about.  If you can eat those added ingredients straight up you can add them after you mix up the dough.  They will not get much softer during the bake.  If the whole grains, oats or seeds are hard, you may want to soak or even cook them first before adding.  Oats flakes will rob your dough of moisture.  

What is the expected texture of the recipe?

Bev619's picture
Bev619

Hmmmmm.  Guess I don't know how to answer this one.  I like my bread with some bite/chew to it, but not dense.  HATE cakey bread.  Thus far I've notr manage to produce a dry bread nor dense.  I guess my old system has been working for me, but since I've gotten better at baking I wanted to try this autolyse thing to see if it makes some sort of difference to my end product.  

My recipes are not all scientific like a lot of the ones I see on here (all percentage based).    But they work well for me.  I do a lot of tinkering based on how the dough is feeling to the touch.  I'll give some of these tips a whirl the next non working day and what I get.

Thanks!!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

not the other way around.  I didn't choose it at first.  I was a young mother and I was constantly being interrupted when I was bread baking.   I used to stir everything together and let it rise.  Then came the interruptions.  I had often mixed up parts of my dough and have to come back.  Happen to notice that the dough handled better, needed less kneading and improved generally when the flour soaked up the liquids.  I would call it a "mix and ignore" or interrupted mixing method of mixing.  I didn't have the benefit of a forum like TFL or a baking text book.  It worked, I did it.

You do.  and what is happening is that the flour is absorbing water and the starch molecules are swelling and the protein molecules are forming and bonding together and the gluten is coming together on it's own loose way.  Any ingredient you want to become part of the gluten structure should be included in this autolyse happening.  If your oats are flour, put them into the autolyse along with your liquids.  Honey and sugar work like liquids.  Salt on the other hand tightens protein bonds and helps control run-away fermentation.  So salt (salted nuts, cheese, salted butter, etc) added later after the flours and starches have done their soaking up otherwise it can slow down water absorption.  

Try it.   Put all your ingredients out in little bowls and mix the buttermilk with the flours until no dry flour bits remain.  Let stand 30 minutes, then mix in the rest of your ingredients.  I tend to add yeast next, blend and pause, then salt before adding additional flour.  The salt will firm up the dough a little bit often appearing "wet" until the salt is eel distributed.  Sourdough starters might be better introduced earlier with the liquids.  It is dry yeast that is so competitive for water.  

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

grains for 4 hours or even more with the dough water.  When we add the levain in and mix it then Lucy makes a ball and puts the salt on top for another half an hour so we don't forget it.  Whole grains need extra time to soak up as much liquid as possible in my book.

Bev619's picture
Bev619

Thinking of it as "mix and ignore" or interrupted mixing method of mixing" is less intimidating that autolyse (even if it is the same thing!)

As for presoaking the grains, do I do that with the allotted liquid from the recipe, then 4 hours later just add the flour then let it sit for 30 minutes to autolyse?  Or will I need extra water on top of what the recipe called for?

Yeesh.  Just when I thought I had a handle on this baking thing, I go and make it more difficult on myself.  

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

The whole grains in this case are flours - home milled and very thirsty.  Whole berries you simmer for 10 minutes and let soak for 24 hours more to make sure they are soft.  Make sure you cover them with plenty of water so that the excess liquid can be used for the dough liquid.  If you you don't want all those vitamin and minerals going to waste you can sprout the grains instead, which takes 24 hours for rye to chit and usually 48 hours for other whole berries,

Happy Whole grain baking.

Bev619's picture
Bev619

Thanks for the clarification!

 

katyajini's picture
katyajini

since we are on the topic of autolyse, here is what I have been doing and TFL member Wild-Yeast suggested the same:

I mix all ings except salt (also no fruits, nut, cheese etc) and autolyse 20mins or a lot more.  I keep a little dish with the measured salt on a sheet paper written SALT  in large letters right next to the dough so I don't forget it, but now I have myself trained.  Then  I move to knead the dough, these days its with my new mixer, until I essentially have a window pane forming.  Then I add the salt which takes a min on low.  The dough firms up in that min.  The rational for doing this is the dough stays quite soft during the kneading but the gluten develops nevertheless and so it is much easier on the mixer motor.  

I don't have enough experience to figure if the bread would have been different had I added the salt just after autolyse before beginning to knead like most people do. Like you Bev619, my bread seems to be working fine.

I do want to ask though, am I losing something by adding the salt so late?  Is the gluten in some way poorer for the salt coming late in its development?

Mini: thank you for the rule of thumb, if you can pop it in your mouth you can add it later.   

Thanks!

Bev619's picture
Bev619

Thank you for sharing.  I will give this a try.  I must learn window paning first though. :)

katyajini's picture
katyajini

Bev319 :  I am intrigued by your chestnut bread.  Would you share what you do or the recipe please?  I have never had it in yeast breads but have tasted in some breakfast type breads and loved it.   Thank you!  :)

Bev619's picture
Bev619

This is my favorite bread and that goes for all the people I give/sell my bread to.  I get repeated requests for this one.  I'll give you the recipe how I make it.  You can convert it to percentages if you please.  You can find chestnut flour at good Italian stores/delicatessens.

1 1/8c - 1 1/4c fat-free milk (I've been using 2% and it works just fine)
1 large egg
4 tbls butter, cut into pieces
478g bread flour
75g chestnut flour
70g dark brown sugar
40g minced pecans
20g gluten
22g salt
9g SAF instant yeast
5g diastatic malt pwdr (optional, lack of will not change taste)
15g lecithin granules (optional, lack of will not change taste)

This bread is super easy in my Zo.  Put ingredients in in order, set on dough setting, go.  Check dough texture/hydration along the way.  It's a slower riser than some of my other breads, but don't fear.  With patience it will come up. I usually do 2-3 rises/knock down/stretches in my measured container before shaping and final rise. This makes 2-1lb loaves or one giagantic loaf (I make "sandwich" style bread, so mine always go in a tin, but feel free to change that up if you want.) 

I've not done this one in my Kitchenaid yet and I've certainly not done it with an autolyse.  But I shall try both soon!

P.S..Sorry for not having the entire recipe in grams, it's just how I have it written down.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

If you would be so kind as to set your measuring cup on the scales, set to zero, and then fill the cup with 1 1/4c milk (not water) we would know the grams.  (cups tend to vary and milk weighs differently than water)  Thank you.

Butter is easy  4 Tbs is  2 oz  or  57g

Edit:  Just learned the cup is an 8oz fluid cup measure,  lower end of milk amount is 290g 

Bev619's picture
Bev619

I know how to, I just haven't.  They next time I get around to making this one hopefully I'll remember to do it and actually write it down.  None of my breads are scientifically down to the gram though.  Once in the bucket I find I tinker until I get the feel I want (add a bit more milk, add a bit more flour, whatever is needed.)

 

katyajini's picture
katyajini

It looks like I am going to love it.  Thank you so much for sharing your recipe.  It takes a lot of time to type a recipe and I really appreciate it.

If you ever have a moment :

I don't even know how bread machines work.....do you think I should bake at 350?  Does it burn easily with the chestnut flour?

Since I have never used this ing what does the chestnut flour do for the bread?  Like oat flour?  Or a nut meal?  Gives density and flavor but no rise?  Does it need a lot of hydration? Is it strongly flavored, a little goes a long way?  I see there is only a little bit in this bread.  Do you want this dough to be soft or stiff? 

I hope you are not getting tired of my questions!

I can see you are doing this for a while and you have your methods down so it may no longer be necessary.  But I have to tell you that when I incorporated the autolyze (leaving out the salt and the yeast) routinely, the process of developing the dough has gotten easier and the breads look and taste better and turn out more predictably. 

Initially I was trying to do the window pane test and I now know that I didn't know what I was doing and failing miserably. But I kept trying and paying attention and now I know.  Laurel Robertson's book has a nice description of how to do it.  Next time I have a moment I will type that section for you if you don't have the book. Here is a link showing it http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20669/sourdough-pan-de-mie-how-make-quotshreddablyquot-soft-bread.

I can depend on the window pane test with confidence now.  It really is a good indicator that the gluten is ready, at least in the breads I have done so far.  And again as I routinely use this test, my breads are turning out better consistently.

:)

 

Bev619's picture
Bev619

I bake all my bread whether I make the dough in my Kitchenaid or my Zo in the oven.  I start the oven at 375F°, let it bake for 10 min or so at that temp then lower the temp to 325F° and bake until it temps at 200F in the middle.  

No, the chestnut flour doesn't make it burn any more easily.  If it's browning too much for your taste at the 30 minute check, just toss foil on top.  That's what I do.

The flour definitely imparts a particular flavor.  If it's doing something else, I don't know.  I'm really not into the chemistry of it all.  I'm not exact.  For me, that takes all the fun out of it.  I bake by feel.  But for sure, a little goes a long way.  This dough should be silky soft, not stiff or sticky wet.  

Thank you for the link.  I'm always up for new ways to fold/roll my dough.  I find the various different techniques do make a big difference.

With my job, I get off so late that I haven't had time to bake lately, just at the weekends.  I'll get around to trying out all my new techniques.  Thanks!

katyajini's picture
katyajini

thanks!  have fun!