The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

The power of autolyse

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Juergen's picture

The power of autolyse

Over the past year I've had my fair share of sourdough breads ripping apart on the sides while baking. Ever since I've introduced the autolyse method at the mixing stage, these problems have disappeared. Even a minor autolyse of just 20 minutes makes a huge difference. To me, the autolyse method has been a real eye-opener and it has vastly improved the quality of my SD breads. Anyone else gotten the same experience with autolyse?

nicodvb's picture


No, autolyse never helped me. Only avoiding a massive amount of folds (as I'm used to do) helped me to prevent rips like that.

Juergen's picture

exactly, they are very frustrating.

varda's picture

Juergen,  Awhile ago when I was frustrated with the same issue I found this post:  The third comment down is by the late Norman Berg.   He attributes some of the issue to insufficient steam.   I put this knowledge to work and stopped having the problem.   Autolysing is great - it gives the flour a chance to absorb water without the inhibiting presence of salt and leavening and so leads to better dough development (and according to AP better flavor as well - although my jury is still out on that one.)    I don't see any reason why it would stop side-splitting though.   I wonder if you improved your steaming technique at around the same time you added autolyse.  -Varda

jcking's picture

My understanding of one of the effects of autolyse is to shorten the second mix. So it's possible, in the past, your second mix was not long enough.


Farmpride's picture

the tearing (IMHO) is mainly, 1. young dough, and or under proofing 2. skin forming on loaf during the proofing.  If it is the later, i like to wash my loaves with a little melted lard or oil, this will help  prevent a crust but it will not cure a real young dough...  now if you do not want to use a oil on the loaf, many use water or an egg wash, done very gently a couple times during the final rise will help, but all the steam in the oven will not cure a heavy crust. i also have a proofing cabinet with steam to prevent the crusting issue.  you could make a little proofing box, if you really a baking nut , it is a god send.

albert, farmpride bakery.