The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pre-ferment and Autolyse Question

jim2100's picture

Pre-ferment and Autolyse Question


 I have a question of how to use two methods that I have learned about recently. I have only baked five of loaves of bread thus far.

Tomorrow I want to use the above methods in the following recipe. Here  I learned about the pre-ferment idea here with Alton Brown's

Dr. Strangeloaf program. 

My question is; how do I convert this pre-ferment idea with a new recipe with different amounts of water? And also have enough water for the autoyse method? 

Dr Strangeloaf.

Of the 10 oz. of water he uses all for the pre-ferment. that would leave non for the autoyse method. 


Amish Bread recipe has 16oz. of water. If I use 10 oz. there would only be 6 oz. for the Autolyse for 5-6 cups of flour.

So is there a rule of thumb that I can use when ever I want to try these two methods at the same time? I have treid them separately and both worked well to my limited knowledge:> So would like to make a good loaf of bread. I did the Amish bread last night and it was the best I've done so far. There are some 697 reviews of this recipe, all favorable. Mine will be added as well Tomorrow. It is fantastic sandwich bread. I'll never buy bread again. I did use half bread and whole wheat flours rather than straight all purpose. I am going to try to make a version of raisin bread out of it. But would like to empoy the two methods mentioned above.

Thanks Again.


efmoya's picture

I've had very good success with the following:

1 package rapid-rise yeast.
1 Tb. Salt.
32 ounces unbleached white flour.
24 ounces water.

I've also doubled and halved this recipe.

1) Preferment: 1/2 the flour, all the water, 1/4 ts. yeast, mix to a slurry then leave on the counter for 2 nights.

2) Baking Day: 1/2 the flour, the rest of one package of yeast, the salt and all the preferment.

3) Autolyse for 30 minutes.

4) Mix to knead. about 15 min. at slow setting. You can tell when kneading is done by when the dough doesn't stick to the bowl but pulls away from the bowl. Let rise in mixer bowl until tripled in size, about 2 hours.

5) Shape into loaves, let rise one hour, turn oven on, put in the oven when oven reaches temperature.

6) The loaves are ready when the interior temperature is within 5 deg. of boiling. Here in Albuquerque I use 198 deg. as the indication of done-ness (boiling temp = 202).


During the preferment the mixture doubles, separates and then collapses. Just leave it alone.

The hydration level is 75% which makes the dough VERY sticky. I do all the mixing and kneading in the mixer bowl so I minimize the need for handling the dough.

I use a Kitchenaid mixer with a dough hook.

I get very good tasting bread with a pleasantly 'hole-y' crumb. And! I get this result every time.