The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Question about my technique

kathym166's picture

Question about my technique

I have been using a bread machine for several months now but have not been really happy with it untill this last loaf. I have had no oven spring and my loaves are heavy and dense. Yesterday I was reading about autolysis and really don't understand it. Here's what I did- Put all ingredients in bread maker and processed just til mixed-turned off bread maker for about 19 minutes(takes 15 min to reset). Then I started it for another cycle and let it rise in bread maker. Took out dough it was slightly sticky and shaped into a loaf and let rise for about 28 minutes(usually let it rise for about 45 min). Baked for 35 min in 350 oven. It about jumped out of the glass dish --rise was almost as high as bread pan tall, it is too tall for my toaster. Do you think it was the turning off of the bread machine or have I been letting it rise too long the second time? This is the best bread I have made.The recipe is very similar to what I've been using but I added 1/4 tsp crushed vit c tablet to it.


mbass7mile's picture

I would place the ingredients in the machine in the order as instructed.  Set for dough cycle only.  Watch as it is mixing, it is ok to open the lid as it is mixing.  You want the dough to leave the walls of the container but still be somewhat sticky at the bottom.  Be careful not to add too much flour or water.  You will get so you can tell the right consistency after a few trys. Take it out after the end of the dough cycle.  Place in the bread pan as per your recipe and let it rise again.  I wouldn't shut the machine off and on again.  Hope this helps.  If you want a a better explanation of "autolyse" read "The Bread Bakers Apprentice" by Peter Reinhart

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

could be a number of things.  The most common is that too much yeast is often used, reducing the amount of yeast has been known to help.

Autolysis is just allowing the flour to absorb the moisture and give gluten forming a chance to develop on its own before kneading or mixing the dough for further dough development.  I may be already incorporated into the machine.

Stopping and restarting the machine and changing the program pattern by removing the dough and baking in the oven creates two variables.  One which may or may not have led to a better machined loaf.  Hard to say.  If you wanted a better machined loaf, it would have been better to let it continue in the machine and see if it had made a difference. 

If the machine continued, and the loaf still came out heavy and dense, then I would have suspected the yeast should be reduced in the next machined loaf.  The reason being that  with or without a pause the dough still would have overproofed.  I suspect that is the reason for the dense loaves, overproofing.  Use less yeast and the proof takes longer and loaf is baked by the machine closer to when it is fully proofed. 

Removing the bread from the machine let you make corrections and possibly baking the loaf sooner than the machine.  That is the logical explaination of what I think happened. 

I would try reducing the yeast and see what the machine does. 

Welcome to The Fresh Loaf!



ananda's picture

Hi Kathy,

Welcome to TFL.

I don't know how to use a breadmaker, so you will have to interpret my advice in a way works for you.

Mini is right, of course, autolyse is a mix of the flour and water only.   All the other ingredients would be added after the autolyse has ended when going on to mix the final dough.   The only exception to this that I am aware of is if the dough has been made with a "poolish", or wet starter.   This is generally added to the autolyse to ensure sufficient liquid for the flour to take up.

I hope this helps

Best wishes