The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Autolyzing Pan L'ancienne

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MapMaker's picture
MapMaker

Autolyzing Pan L'ancienne

I was thinking about try to use autolyzing while making some pan l'ancienne.  But I wonder if 1) it is appropriate for this type of bread.  2)  If I do it, should I keep the dough in the refrigerator while it autolyzes, since the whole process of making the bread seems predicated on the cooler temperature.  3)  Do I need to give the dough more time to autolyze if the dough is kept in the refrigerator.  I'm hoping for a quick response so I can start the bread today.

 Thanks

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Actually, autolyse is appropriate for any kind of bread. It helps 'em all. In addition to improving the bread's flavor, it makes final mixing easier.

 

A true autolyse is a 100% hydration dough (or batter) with no riser in it. It usually doesn't have salt either.

 

You can add about 1/3 of the flour in a recipe as an autolyse with no problems. Just adjust the amount of water and flour in the final recipe appropriately.

 

An autolyse is ready to use in about 30 minutes, and may be held up to 12 hours at moderate temperatures. If you are going to hold it longer, you can do so by adding some salt to it. The salt slows the enzymatic reactions. Adjust the salt in the final dough appropriately.

 

I'd mix the autolyse, add it to the final dough, and then carry on as if you hadn't made any changes to the recipe.

 

Mike

 

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Can someone tell me how much to autolyse?  I have just finished baking Hamelman's Pointe-a-Calliere Miche where he suggests an autolyse of 30-60 minutes.

I just finished baking this the second time around with a 30 minute autolyse and it was fine.  But is more better?  How does one know when 60 minutes is to be preferred.

By the way, I am a novice (1yr here) and this Hamelman's Pointe-a-Calliere Miche is incredible to bake.  It is as if you can't miss with it.  I am sure it is all Luck but each time I try this it comes out Perfectly and beyond belief.  Of course there goes my good luck.......  8-)

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Most of the benefit comes about in the first 30 minutes or so.

 

You can let the autolyse stand for a lot longer, but you don't get much flavor back for it.  Many artisanal bakeries mix a large vat of autolyse and use it all day in their different breads.  If the autolyse turns gray, you let it go too long.  If you plan on letting it go that long again, add salt to it.

 

Mike

 

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Mike thanks.

 

richawatt's picture
richawatt

I downloaded the pod cast from CIA's websight, on Calvel's baguette video, and he autolysed for 20 minutes at room temperatuer.  He was using an already active yeast so it was added after the dough autolysed.  He said if you were using a dry yeast to add that with the flour and water before the autolyse. then add the salt and kneed until it comes together. 

this is good because the less you kneed the less you oxadize the dough, which destroys carotene.  And carotene is a major contributer to color and flavor of your crumb.   

its a really good video, very informational.  I would say everyone should watch it.  

I used his method for baguette and got a nicer crumb and crust then anyother recipe, and his was a 65% hydration.  It really shows how to handle the dough during shaping, it shows how you need to be firm yet gentle with it.  

 If you learn by watching, this is a great video.  It's available for download 

http://www.ciaprochef.com/fbi/podcasts/BreadAndBaker.html  its only 5 bucks and its 16 minutes long
LindyD's picture
LindyD

I would definitely refrigerate. Reinhart writes that Gosselin's pain a l'ancienne was essentially an overnight autolyse. The next day the yeast and salt are added and the dough begins its bulk fermentation. See page 20 of the BBA.

I think I'll try this as well.

 

 

 

 

MapMaker's picture
MapMaker

As usual, lots of good responses, and very timely also.

I just got the Calvel videos, haven't had time to watch them yet but am most anxious to do so.

I can hardly wait to taste the latest batch of bread - even with all my amateur shortcomings the bread is always a treat.

Thanks

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Do let us know how it turned out, compared to not doing an autolyse. I'm really curious to learn if there is any major difference.

MapMaker's picture
MapMaker

Well, I tried doing the autolyse for my last batch.  However, even though I have a scientific background, I tend not to have enough controls in my experiments, or enough documentation either.

That said.  I mixed the flour and water (however I increased the water from how I normally make this bread) and then put in the refrigerator for autolyse (I was uncertain from the responses I had gotten at that time if I should refrigerate or not).  Then I added the yeast and salt and had a difficult time getting them incorporated (I was using my KA - Pro) and I worried that I was over mixing the batch.

I put the dough in the refrigerator over night (for about 13 hours) and then took it out to double.  After 3 hours there was very little change in the dough mass and I worried that perhaps I had added too much salt (why I thought that is a whole other story) so I decided to start a new batch to bake the next day but I kept the "bad" batch in the refrigerator.

Today when I got out both batches the first one showed signs of having started fermentation and within two hours had definitely doubled in volume.  I went ahead and shaped and baked and when it had cooled I broke off a piece and tested it.  And it was fine - not over salted - as tasty as ever.  I couldn't say it was tastier than without the autolyse but then I don't have the most sensitive palate . 

So why the fermentation was slower than normal, who knows.  I think that if anything, when I was ready to bake, the dough was perhaps a bit over proofed.  I live in Minnesota, and we do keep our house on the cool side, so perhaps I tend to under proof my dough in general.

So this was a long rambling response.  But the overall intent is to say the bread turned out fine and I think I learned a little bit more about bread making, so you can't beat that.