The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

To autolyse or not to autolyse, that is the question.

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csimmo64's picture
csimmo64

To autolyse or not to autolyse, that is the question.

Is it wise to autolyse?


Okay, enough of that but my question is this;


Is it a good idea to utilize the autolyse method for each and every type of bread? What types of textures/changes happen if used and not used? I've recently been using autolyse on every bread at work, and I am liking some of the results.


These are some types of breads that I would like to know if its a good choice to autolyse, for example;


Rye Breads, Sourdough Breads, Breads utlizing soakers / mashes, Breads heavy in seeds, nuts, grains, or cheeses, Crusty lean white breads, with and without an open crumb, Rich Breads, and the list can go on and on.


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Part of my "mix and ignore the dough" routine to show the dough who's boss.  I also don't believe in hand kneading for 12 minutes or more when letting the dough autolyze does the same thing.   White wheat is lucky to get 3 minutes out of me!  If you think autolysis it is not done for a fine crumb, then I beg to differ.  I've found that by slowly adding the flour to the liguids, mixing or beating between additions and then follow with a 30 minute rest, autolysis also results in a fine crumb. 


More discussion comes with the addition of salt and other ingredients other than flour and water.  Autolysis deals with a natural process that occures when liquid hits flour, the dough's own enzymes increasing and breaking it down... the "ashes to ashes" and "dust to dust" sort of thing.   In a very warm and possibly humid environment, delaying the salt can be disasterous as the enzymes might be too aggressive to the bonding proteins for us to manage.  The environment in which you choose to autolyse will have a direct effect.


Mini

csimmo64's picture
csimmo64

I understand mainly what autolyse does, but I am unsure if it is wise to use it for every bread. I am just curious if it does give a good result with every type of bread.

Syd's picture
Syd

In a very warm and possibly humid environment, delaying the salt can be disasterous as the enzymes might be too aggressive to the bonding proteins for us to manage.

This is interesting and I would love to hear more.  Exactly what would be the effect of delaying the salt in a warm and humid environment?  Would the enzymes degrade the gluten?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

for more information.  :)

Syd's picture
Syd

Thanks Mini Oven, I just did a search and it brought up a lot of interesting discussions.  This line of investigation is going to keep me busy for a while :)

richawatt's picture
richawatt

     in my opinion it comes down to this...it is easy to make good bread...but not so easy to make great bread.  Take any other cooking method for example.  To make a great tasting piece of braised beef one would fisrt put a nice hard sear on the meat then saute the aromatics, deglase with a nice red wine and cook it off. Now if you were to take the smae piece of meat and just season it put in a roasting pan with the same aromatic vegitables and cook it off with red wine you will get a good piece of meat, but not great... the hard sear gave the beef a great layer of flavor and left a beautiful fond in the pan to be released by the deglazing. It is that one extra step that makes the difference.


     The same goes for bread.  I think it is a good idea to autolyse on every bread...why not.  I use it at work on all my breads.  It can only help.  If you read up on it, what you are doing is allowing the gluten to develop without mixing.  This keeps you from over oxidizing the dough.  So no matter what kind of dough...lean, high in fat, whole wheat, rye, you are still dealing with gluten development...The same goes for the meat, no matter what type of meat your braising, you want to first give it a nice sear


Oxygen breaks down the natural pigments in wheat flour and that will result in a dull crust, and a loss of flavor.  You have to remember, that as the bread cools, it pulls in flavor from the crust to its crumb...I hope this helps.

csimmo64's picture
csimmo64

You just echoed what I told my boss seriously 3 hours before you posted this. I even related baking great bread to braising. It was almost word for word. Nice post.