The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

autolysis in GF breads?

reptilegrrl's picture

autolysis in GF breads?

I've been making great strides in my wheat-free baking, but I am hoping someone here can answer this for me: do wheat-free breads benefit from an autolyse period?

I typically bulk ferment my breads in the fridge for at least few days before baking, which is I think essential to fully hydrating the flours and starches, getting better texture, and avoiding a "raw" taste. I also use sponges and water roux on some breads.

But what I can't find out is if a wheatless flour mix will benefit from an autolyse period, or if wheatless grains even have the enzymes necessary to make an autolyse period work. "Gluten Free Baking For Dummies" has a little sidebar saying that autolysis is the same for wheat-free breads as for wheaten breads, but has no more info about it, and I'm not impressed with that book in general, so I am not sure that can be trusted.

So, is an autolyse period something that will benefit a wheatless dough, or is it a waste of time?

suave's picture

Since the point of autolysis period is to speed up and simplify gluten developement, it would be utterly pointless in GF bread.

reptilegrrl's picture

Well, what no one seems to know is if autolysis helps develop wheat-free flours in similar ways. Obviously, improved hydration can come from the bulk fermentation. But do wheatless flours even have the necessary enzymes for autolysis to improve structure and flavor? I wonder about these things.

clazar123's picture

I think that some autolysis helps to develop extra fermentation flavors but I have found that if it is too long that the starches degrade and cannot hold the gas bubbles. I don't have enough GF experience to know how long is too long so I would start with a shorter autolysis and go from there.

Sourdoughty's picture

A friend found her bread maker wouldn't operate on a timer when on the gluten free programme - I can only theorise this is because the full wetting of part of the flour would make it go wired.

i haven't found any recipes for gluten free breads that use a poolish, biga or sponge. Keen to try though.