The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Autolyse

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whatever868686's picture
whatever868686

Autolyse

Hi guys,

Does autolyse require salt and the leavening agent. Why? 

The site did not mention adding those two but in some books which I read, it was mentioned they should be added. 

metropical's picture
metropical

I usually mix the dough without slat and yeast.

Then refridge over night.

Allow to come to room temp the next day.

Add salt and yeast and mix again.

Dunno if that's the right way, but it works quite well for me. 

give me liberty and a 5lb bag of flour

proth5's picture
proth5

I have asked this very question of someone who I consider to be a well qualified teacher.

The response was:  it depends on the mixing method to be employed.  If it is a fairly gentle mixing method, you may wish to include salt and leavening as it will be more difficult to incorporate these elements later.  If a mechanical mixer of some sort is employed, in general the leavaning and salt would be added after autolyse.

In any case, all of the water in the recipe needs to be added for autolyse.  This means any type of preferment is added at the autolyse phase.

This is the advice I was given and I tend to follow it with some success.

Hope this helps.

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

"This means any type of preferment is added at the autolyse phase."

That's interesting, because this article:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/lessons/tentips_8_autolyse

Has the preferment added afterward.  After all, as long as the flour is sufficiently saturated, I don't see why there'd be a problem adding the preferment later.  That said, if the preferment adds a significant water contribution (say, a large volume of 100%+ hydration poolish), the water in the recipe might not be enough to saturate the flour sufficiently for the gluten to develop, so you may have no choice but to add the preferment at the autolyse stage.

proth5's picture
proth5

Advice differs so much from person to person.  This is why I only share the fact that I've been told something and that it works (or doesn't) - "for me."

I work mostly with high hydration preferments.  Perhaps this is why I find what was told to me to be valid.

Hope this clarifies my statement.

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Personally, I'd exclude the yeast during the autolyse step.  The whole purpose is to trigger gluten development, and neither the yeast nor the salt will help, there.  Meanwhile, including the yeast will increase the chance that you'll overproof the dough, at which point all your efforts will be for naught.

That said, metropical, is there a reason you don't go for a shorter, same-day autolyse at room temperature?  I've certainly found that gluten develops *much* quicker at room temperature than in the fridge (having done experiments with refridgerated versus room temperature overnight poolishes... the latter turns into a thick, gluey mass, while the former keeps it's pancake-batter-like consistency).  And in this article:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/lessons/tentips_8_autolyse

They suggest a simple 20-30 minute autolyse at room temp.

metropical's picture
metropical

I tried the 30 min option at room temp a few times.  Did nothing for my bread.  But the overnight refridge definitely gives it more character and for whatever reason requires less yeast added. 1 tsp as compared to 2.5 tsp.

 

'course, it may be the type of dough.  This is with my multigrain with a grape starter. 

go figure 

give me liberty and a 5lb bag of flour

richawatt's picture
richawatt

From a video I saw by French baker, Calvel, if your using cake yeast you add it after the autolyse, but if your using dry, you add it before the autolyse to allow it time to wake up.  And as far as the pre ferment, he added that after the autolyse.  He was making baguettes so I dont know if there is a difference with higher hydration doughs , and from what I have read here Calvel is the bee's knaees of bread baking. So his method is what I've been folowing.  If you go on to the CIA's websight...thats the culinary institute of america, not the central (lack) of intelligence agency, you can download the pod cast for just a couple bucks.  It's really cool to watch

 

Henry's picture
Henry

 

Of the bread people I’ve worked with, only one, a French baker back in 1994 used the autolyse technique. We made seven or maybe eight doughs, the last one being straight dough baguette using autolyse.

As it was the final dough, we could let it rest in the mixing bowl covered with a cloth.

Autolyse is a wonderful tool to have in bread making but it does takes up time and space.

Raymond Calvel is credited with this technique, which gives you the advantage

of a shorter mix time ( more aroma and flavour; better crumb) and greater extensibility… so it’s way easier (as an example)

to shape baguettes.

Basically, you mix your flour and water briefly, then let it rest 20 – 30 minutes.

During this rest time the flour fully hydrates and the gluten starts to develop.

You don’t want to add yeast because it would start to ferment and acidify

the dough.

You don’t want to add preferments because it too, will acidify the dough.

You don’t want to add salt because it will tighten the gluten.

Enzymes that are at work in autolyse (in this case, proteolytic) work best in a more neutral environment. That’s the reasoning to avoid yeast, salt and pre ferments.

Now, if you’re using instant yeast, you add it to autolyse at the beginning

because as richawatt mentioned, it takes a bit of time to get going.

I use autolyse for my French breads at home for a few reasons

but mostly because it saves me kneading and the dough rest period (autolyse) gives me

time to do other things.

Most of the time I get lazy and add ALL the ingredients, including salt

After the initial mix, I autolyse between 30 –60 minutes but it’s usually an hour.

 It’s amazing how much the dough develops

on its own.

A few brief folds, and the dough is done.

I never really tuned into the “no need to knead , or artisan bread in five minutes“ but autolyse would seem to share certain similarities.

Now, at this point, I can continue to process my dough and bake it in a few more hours but if I get busy, I can refrigerate it

for an hour, punch, then bulk ferment and the next day shape, proof and bake

or I can shape it now, retard it overnight to bake the next day at my convenience.

 

Autolyse…try it, you’ll like it.

H

 flour water instant yeastflour water instant yeastautolyseautolyse
giyad's picture
giyad

This post is extremely old and I don't know if you're going to respond but here goes.  This post was very informative, but kind of unorganized when I read it.  I didn't fully understand the process so I'm hoping you or someone can clarify:

1) You say that you should add nothing but the flour and water together for autolyse.  But then you say that you get lazy and add all the ingredients (including salt!) usually.  Doesn't that defeat the purpose of the autolyse?  If you put the salt an yeast together won't the salt kill the yeast?

2) Does an autolyse recipe not require any kneading after?  Is it bad to knead something that was put through autolyse?

3) If using active dry yeast, do I just add it without activating it (don't dissolve in water and sugar for 5 minutes) after the autolyse, but before the salt?

4) Let me run through the steps I think are correct and you can correct me if I'm wrong:

  1. Flour and water added together and mixed, then leave aside for 20min-1hour (this is the autolyse), if using instant yeast add it in this step with the flour and water
  2. Add active-dry yeast (and optional sugar) when autolyse is done, and mix
  3. Add salt after mixing in the yeast, and mix
  4. Add oil or other fats, mix
  5. Add as much flour as needed

Thanks, sorry very new to baking and trying to learn as much as possible without wasting too much dough

proth5's picture
proth5

the original and longtime posters on this thread - aside from overcoming my dyslexia on the name Calvel - I still stand where I did. 

Autolyse is a mixing technique.  You have to sufficiently hydrate the flour so that gluten development can occur,  If this mean you add a pre ferment (because the pre ferment contains a large percentage of liquid from the final dough) then that is what you do.

The purpose of an autolyse is to reduce the time that you spend on mechanical mixing.  It is a technique "rediscovered" by a professional baker and taught to professional bakers - who generally use mechanical mixers and who care very much about the time and space their mix requires.  By reducing mix time, you reduce the oxidation of the flour.  This is especially important in doughs without fats or other flavorings.  So, an autolyse is part of the mix.  You let the flour hydrate and then you mix or knead to complete the gluten development.

Although it can be employed with all types of doughs, it is of greatest advantage in lean doughs.

What surprises me, a bit, is that after four years and countless hours of baking and learning - the fundamentals of what I said in 2008 hold.

I still use the autolyse method two ways.  When I mix by hand - I add the salt and the yeast together (together - yes!) at the beginning of the mix (along with my liquid pre ferment).   When I use a mechanical mixer, I mix the flour, water (and liquid pre ferment) together, allow that mixture to autolyse and then add the salt and the yeast (together - yes!) and then procede with the rest of the mix.  There is very little difference between the two in the final result.  It is a matter of how carefully I run my mix and later my fermentation.  This is why experienced bakers can use this method and adapt it to their circumstances.

giyad, let me address your list above with a general comment.  This comment is  meant with all good intentions because I have been reading your other posts and you seem confused. It is not possible for me to respond to what you have asked and implied without writing a small book, so that is why I haven't tried.  This is forum for amateur bakers - the only review of the answers comes from the voluntary contributions of other TFL members.  Many things on this site are true and useful - others are "folklore" - and many are somewhere in between.  They are not organized in any particular way and posts may wander from one topic to the next.  You need to find a good text that deals in bread making (I like Hamelman's "Bread..." - most consider it to be too intense for beginners and recommend the DiMuzio book, or Reinhart's books - all have their virtues) and read it.  Get some foundation.  Bake some bread. Then ask questions here to learn incremental amounts.  This will be the most productive way of learning without making too many mistakes.

I really hope this helps, but I think taking an organized approach by reading a good text (even the "Handbook" at the top of these pages) would be your best start.

Happy Baking!

 

giyad's picture
giyad

Thanks so much proth5!  I'll definitely pick up a book, actually thats how I got into baking to begin with, a specific book called Man'oushe by Barbara Massaad. 

I like to ask those noob questions though because not only do I wonder myself, and sometimes you can't find the answer straight away in a book or online, but I think its a good reference for anyone else who may have the same questions.  I actually have been experimenting a lot with dough and ingredients, alot of my questions I've answered myself after a few trial and errors even but its nice to get other bakers perspectives on things, especially from people with many years of experience (I've only been doing this for 3 months).

I'll definitely look into your book recommendations though, thanks and also thanks for that detailed answer!

proth5's picture
proth5

Well, this thread sent me back to Clavel.  When you look at his formulas in the book "Le Gout du Pain" he is somewhat inconsistent as to when just what is added to the autolyse.  Sometimes salt is held back - sometimes not. 

Professor Clavel was a distinguished baker and I'm sure he would adapt as situations arose.

However I cannot help but recall one of my teachers (who, I believe, had more than a passing knowledge of Professor Clavel's work) chuckling incredulously “And you don’t add the poolish in to the autolyse?  Now I’ve heard it all.”  There are a few moments in life burned into my brain.  That moment is one of them.

So, the method works for me.  The more I learn about this craft of bread baking the more I subscribe to the saying “Chacun á son gout!”

Henry's picture
Henry

 

proth5:

I know what you’re saying.

Jeff Yankellow, member of Team USA 2005 made a traditional

baguette recipe that I still look at once in a while just because it’s so…

totally next planet.

Flour, water, salt yeast; okay, but

then JY includes a liquid levain, sponge and poolish all fermented

separately.

On top of that, part of the dough is used as 12-hour autolyse.

It all eventually gets thrown into a bowl, mixed briefly and allowed

a rest of 15 minutes ( autolyse again) then the salt and yeast are added.

With all this fermenting going on, talk about room for error or

dough complications waiting to happen.

This guy is such a pro though; I don’t think it fazed him for a second.

But then again, he is world class.

Gold medal, best bread in the World, 2005.

Pretty nice feather to have in your cap.

H

 
sannimiti's picture
sannimiti

because my dough for j hamelmans 5 grain sourdough rye is just "autolysing" or so i think. I did add the soaker and the sourdough because of laziness, i didn't add the yeast, though. i will dissolve the instant dry yeast in a tbsp. or so of water, add it (and the honey) and not be scared of the mess. but does any of you have and idea of adding other ingredients, such as sugar, fat or so? or is this the only way?

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

First off, don't dissolve the instant yeast!  It hates it went you do that. :)  Just add the yeast directly to the dough and kneed it in.  I've used this same technique for salt, and it works just fine (I assume the same is true of sugar).  I've never tried to add fat into a recipe after the fact, though.

Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

"To each his own taste" is so true.  I was just reading in a bread book (I've looked over too many lately for me to right now identify which one -- perhaps Pizza in 5 Minutes a Day?) that instant yeast, although formulated to work without dissolving in water first, works even better when allowed to hydrate in water a couple of minutes.  I usually don't, sometimes do.... but it does make sense to me : )