The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Autolyse Procedure Pitfalls?

will slick's picture
will slick

Autolyse Procedure Pitfalls?

I am trying to nail down a Autolyse procedure that works well to use on the regular. Here is what I tried this morning.

1. all the ingredients were weighed in grams.

2. Mixed all the flour with all but a Sm amount of water covered and rested for 30Min.

3 mixed the sugar, salt, TBS butter in the rest of the water ( !/2 of a pudding cup)

4. After the 30min rest added ts of instant yeast to the flour and water mixed and rested 15min.

5 Added the water/salt/ sugar/ butter. TBS milk solution to the dough.

6. resting for 15min.

This where I am now. After adding the water solution the dough is very wet Looks like it will need lots of four.. I have made this many times it is only 57% hydration. When I have done the Autolyse by mixing flour water milk yeast, then after the rest the salt & sugar I am able to stay true to the %s. Are there any problems with todays procedure?

JavaGuy's picture

I noticed a couple of things. The first may be some confusion over the steps. Did you do a 30 minute rest before or after adding salt? If yor're autolysing for gluten formation, I have seen recommendations that you should add the salt after the rest (Glezer - "Artisan Baking"). I haven't done a side-by-side test to see if it helps, but it does seem to have helped my bread.

Also, if you're doing this for the gluten, I would add all the flour and water to the autolyse step. And, 57% is a lower hydration dough. More time wouldn't hurt. You could go up to two or three hours.

You didn't mention if this was for a whole grain bread, but I like to switch to an overnight soaker for whole grains, or even whole wheat. Just mix the grain with water, 120% water to grain, and leave overnight. If you can't spare that much water for the soaker, don't sweat it. Just add what you can.


will slick's picture
will slick

After the initial 30min rest.Then I added the yeast and rested again. The reason I held back some water was to dissolve the dry ingredients so it would incorporate better into the shaggy dough after the Autolyse of just flour and water, and the addition of the dry yeast. I was able to kneed the dough into a fairly smooth elastic state with the addition of only a light dusting of flour. I guess what I need to know is, Does the second addition of water mixed with the salt, sugar, butter and milk do more harm than good to the gluten formation. Should i just add all the water to the Autolyse step? Then incorporate the rest of the ingredients dry.

Yumarama's picture

Sounds like you're making it more complex than it needs be. You can easily simplify the process and make it a regular, easy step. One thing in your list that stands out is that you added the yeast at the wrong spot.

Here's a quick recap of what Hamelman (Bread, pg 9) says about autolyse:

Step One: At slow speed, mix all ingredients together except salt & yeast*, for 1 to 2 minutes until incorporated.

Step Two: Autolyse for 20 - 60 minutes.

Step Three: Add salt & yeast* and mix at low speed (2) for a couple more minutes until developed. The dough after autolysing is very supple and will become developed quite quickly. Don't go overboard here.

Your dough is now ready to go on to your next steps.

* and biga or pâte fermentée, if using

If you're adding levain (starter) or poolish, these go into the first mix as their water content is important in the hydration of the flour and their yeast/acid contents are low. Biga & pâte fermentée would be added in the second mix as their yeast and acid levels are higher.

CoveredInFlour's picture

I've been wondering about this myself.

When you add either the instant yeast (for an autolyse more than 30 minutes) or the active dry yeast, do you hydrate it first? I would have thought that it would need to be hydrated before incorporating or you'd have hard bullets of yeast. I do my doughs by hand without a mixer, I don't know if that matters. Any help is greatly appreciated!

This is the question that has been holding me back from using an autolyse over 30 minutes and/or using non instant yeast.