The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

enzymatic autolyse

ml's picture

enzymatic autolyse

Hi all,

I have not autolysed for more than 2 hrs., & would like to try the "enzymatic 12hr autolyse". I have been told that this will not work with my regular starter.

Has anyone tried a 12hr autolyse with regular starter?

I will experiment, but would like to know.



dmsnyder's picture

First, all autolyses are "enzymatic." One of the things going on in an autolyse is proteolysis. That is, breaking up of proteins, in the case of dough, that is gluten. The effect is to make the dough more extensible. That's good when you are making baguettes.

Second, when making sourdough bread and employing an autolyse, when you add the starter depends on whether it is a firm starter or a liquid starter. Firm starters are added after the autolyse, along with the salt. Liquid starters are added to the autolyse along with the flour and water. 

I can only guess that, when you were told your starter will not work with an autolyse, it is because it is a firm starter. But see the previous paragraph. I can't think of any other (valid) meaning. What is a "regular starter," and what is supposedly "irregular" about yours anyway?

I have not personally autolysed for longer than 2 hours, except when the autolyse was done at refrigerator temperature.


Janetcook's picture

An autolyse is only composed of flour and water.  Ideally the final build timing of your starter should coincide with your autolyse time.  After that time both are combined so there isn't a problem with using a starter at all.


PiPs's picture

Hi ml,

I am guessing you are referring the enzymatic preferment described by ars pistorica?

It will 'work' ... but he is saying unless you have maintained the starter so it best matches the conditions required for LB SF you may not experience the flavours he is describing.

Initially perhaps give it a go just to get a feel for the way the dough behaves.

His method for creating a new starter worked really easily for me and I was using that starter to leaven bread within a week.


ml's picture

Hi Phil,

Is that the maintenance starter you are now using?

Can you describe the flavor changes you had in your bread when you began to use this?

ml's picture

Yes, thank you, you are all correct on my question:)

So, I have started my bread with the flour (ww) having autolysed,  with just the H20, for 12 hrs, same time my levain has been developing. It is beautiful to handle, flavor/bake story will come later.

I follow most of the science as I read it, but it is not firmly a part of my thinking/baking. I appreciate all of the scientists/bakers here, though, so thanks again.


dabrownman's picture

ml is what i would routinely do for most of my bakes.  After talking the 10-20 g of starter out of the fridge (or 50-100g of Yeast water And completing the first build of what ever levain i am making, I start the autolyse of the flours with the liquids,malts, toadies or anything else that needed to be hydrated.  If I am doing a long, 8-12 hour, 3 stage levain build, I would put the salt in with the autolyse and at the 6 hour mark I would refrigerate it.   I do not autolyse with any yeast, commercial or natural of any kind.

I have done some breads where instead of building a levain, i use 1 g of starter for about half the total flour in the mix with half the water and leave in on the counter for 24 hours.  With about 6 hours to go on the counter, I then start the autolyse for the rest of the flour with the other half of the liquid.  When the 24 hours are up the two come together to make the dough.

This is the 2nd time I have heard of enzymatic preferment , the first time by, and have no Idea what that it is supposed to be or who thought it up.  

ml's picture

Try this link, very intense, but interesting new breadmaking blog.

Phil has been using these methods, maybe others, too.

I may not be able to keep up:)