The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What is the advantage of Autolyse without salt?

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AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11

What is the advantage of Autolyse without salt?

I have noticed that many people on this site only add the salt in after autolyse. What is the advantage of this?

Kiseger's picture
Kiseger

Inhibits water absorption, so salt is not added to the autolyse process to allow the flour to absorb as much water as possible.  Salt also slows gluten formation, which is why bakers use up to 2-2.2% but rarely more as it would affect the gluten formation during bulk fermentation.  There are some formulae that use more but I don't think i've seen more than 2.5%.  Salt controls the leavening, so it doesn't "over-ferment" and helps tighten the gluten structure during ferment/proof but you want the flour to be as hydrated as possible during autolyse to help kick start the gluten development process.  There are some formulae that do add salt to a poolish or autolyse, but the rule of thumb is no salt.  There's a lot of really good info on this site about autolyse, salt and gluten development - have a surf!

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11

Thank you Kiseger. Up till now I've added the salt in when forming the dough but i'm going to add it in after autolyse now. Bread really is science!

mwilson's picture
mwilson

An autolyse is a rest period which allows for sufficient hydration of the flour and enzymatic activity to begin, namely amylase and protease. Bran, broken starch, pentosans and other sugars absorb water and gluten begins to develop.

Salt hinders this process. It steals water slowing hydration and it slows the enzyme activity considerably.

Salt could be included in an autolyse if the resting period is very long or if the flour is fast degrading. But more importantly an autolyse should not include pre-ferments or starters.

Lactic acid steals water just as salt does. Moreover acidity effects the physical properties of gluten making in swell and toughen slowing hydration. Changes in pH also interfere with enzyme activity.

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11

I thought that autolyse is when the active starter, rest of flour and water have been mixed into a dough?

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Not typically. Depends who you speak to but for the technical reasons listed omitting the starter makes sense.

I follow the teachings of master baker Piergiorgio Giorilli. See hear http://www.dolcesalatoweb.it/2013/05/giorilli-ci-spiega-la-tecnica-dellautolisi/ and here http://www.dolcesalatoweb.it/2011/02/i-segreti-dell%e2%80%99autolisi/

 

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11

Thanks!

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11

400g Whole spelt

264g Warm Water

40g 100% Hydration Active Starter (fed night before)

8g Salt

 

??

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Numerous approaches. Best to pick the one that offers ease of mixing which would mean keeping the autolyse and starter at a similar hydration.

So for this formula you may consider not giving all the flour an autolyse. For example

Autolyse: rest for however long you choose. I recommend at least an hour at ambient temp.

264g flour
264g water

To complete, mix in starter (40g) and then remaining flour (136g) and salt (8g). Check for appropriate gluten development.

Or.

If you want to autolyse all the flour then try the following.

Autolyse:

400g flour
240g water

To mix place starter in your mixing bowl and add the autolyse cut into pieces bit by bit. Finish with the salt and remaining water (24g). Check for development.

To note I use a 50% hydration starter and autolyse at 55% hydration. This way it's a lot easier to autolyse all the flour and keep mixing easy.

 

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11

I think I like the first way better. It's neater! Planning something for this weekend. Thank you for all your help.

PetraR's picture
PetraR

So it is better to Autolyse without the Starter.

So, equal amounts of flour and water for the Autolyse of about 1 hour at room temp. and then add in the rest of the flour and water plus my 50% hydration Starter and the salt, bring togehter and knead as per usual?

I try that once I start baking again, as we move I bake my last loaf in this house and will be to busy getting ready to move.

 

 

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

Petra,

I think you'd be better off autolysing more flour and/or less water, since you have a 50% hydration starter. See above, the advice was to keep the autolyse and the starter as close to the same hydration as possible, in order to make mixing easier. Of course, we are all free to autolyse however we see fit. I usually autolyse with all the flour and water (when I do autolyse), and I use a 100% hydration starter. It is harder to mix these together because of the difference in hydration, but I do it anyway, because it helps me to keep up with my ingredients and make sure I end up with the right amount of everything. I still sometimes forget salt and end up with bland bread.

PetraR's picture
PetraR

I always Autolyse Starter , all flour and water for about 1 hour and than add the salt and start french kneading.

But I shall try to do it the other way to see if it makes a difference.

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11

Why do you prefer it to stretch and fold? What are the pros and cons of either?

PetraR's picture
PetraR

French kneading is like the slap and fold method.

I prefer it to the stretch and folds as it gives me a very soft and very elastic dough with not much work.

There are Videos on youtube reg. french kneading.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dUZ0O-Wv0Q

They do not do the dough resting inbetween , that is something that I do because it seems to give me the soft and elastic dough faster with less work:)

I do my french kneading always in a set of about 5-7, than rest the dough for 5 minutes.

After the 4th set of french kneading I rest my dough for 20 minutes, do the last set and it is done.

 

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11

Very informative and well done. Thank you.

She does it so effortlessly.

 

Jason1876's picture
Jason1876

if you think that is a good way to s&f then you will like this one as well

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvdtUR-XTG0

to me, I like to do all of the work in a bucket with wet hand, and because i use wet hand so i always use 10g less water in every recipe from FWSY and Tartine because i think if i followed the exactly recipe and the hydration by using wet hand will cause it inaccurate

PetraR's picture
PetraR

It is the same as on my link, just this one is a french baker and she is Italian:)

I would not do that for 20 Minutes, well, I do but I have the resting times between it which gives me the same results:)

PetraR's picture
PetraR

You are most welcome.

Once you get the hang of it you do it just like her.

At the beginning I did it so bad, once my hubby stould behind me , looking over my shoulder and I almost knocked him out when the dough went flying. lol

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

In the context of this conversation, that would not strictly count as an autolyse. Again, you're free to do it that way. I've done it before, and it still seems to work. But we are talking about an autolyse of just flour and water first for a rest of at least an hour, then the other ingredients. In that process, the difference in hydration of your starter vs. the autolyse makes a difference in how easy or hard it will be to mix those together. If we want to discuss mixing the starter in to the flour and water at the start, my favorite way is to put the starter in the mixing bowl, then add water and smush it all together until it is almost uniform, then add flour and mix until well incorporated.

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11

Normally I do it how you've just described. But this time round i'm doing a strict flour and water only autolyse and i'm going to leave it overnight. After I've added in the starter plus rest of ingredients i'm going to do another rest period of about 40min then go onto stretch and folds etc.

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11

I've been sitting here planning my bake and decided to autolyse 224g of flour and 224 mls water. Then when I come to add the 40g active starter i'm going to mix the starter into 40mls water first till evenly spread and milky white. Then i'll add that to the autolyse followed by the rest of the flour - 176g with salt mixed in.

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11

Happy moving. Wishing you all the best in your new home. First thing you must do is fill the house with the beautiful smell of baking bread.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Hi Petra. Strictly speaking an autolyse is and has always been just flour and water. There are technical reasons why this is so.

You could autolyse that way but since like me you have a 50% hydration starter you could autolyse at 55%, I do 12hrs as standard, mix the two together and then add remaining water and salt. Here is an example: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/38677/sd-sandwich-loaf-autolyse

I hope the move goes smoothly,

best wishes to you

Michael

PetraR's picture
PetraR

Oh I see, I was not aware of that, I always thought it is just a short period of 30 - 50 minutes without the Salt.

I only do the bulk fermentation for a period of 12 hours +.

Learned something new:)

I looked at the link and your 50 % hydration Starter looks so neatly sliced.

Mine is stiff but compared to the Image of the link mine is more * fluffy * 

How do you make your starter, I would love to try this once we have moved

I feed mine , for example , with 200g Starter , 200g Flour and 100g Water but after 12 hours or when the dome collapses on itself it gets sticky and not easy to get out of the jar.

I am looking forward to the new house but at the same time do not like all the stress of packing and and and... moving is stressful.

My 2 dogs Ben & Eddie know something is up because they are very clingy.:)

 

 

mwilson's picture
mwilson

My maintenance is very similar to yours but with a few key differences. To keep it active I typically feed 100g starter with 100g flour and 50g water every 12hrs at room temperature. For these twelve hours the starter is wrapped in cloth and tied tightly. This traps CO2 and keeps it under pressure. This method allows it to mature more slowly. By comparison when unwrapped starch is consumed in half the time.

On bake day I make a series of refreshments every 4hours at 28C.

After the first refreshment I use the remaining dough to make bread. After the second refreshment I use the remaining dough to start a new mother ie. 12 hours storage. The third refreshment will be used to make panettone or any sweet / rich bread.

Essentially my starter is kept "young". It is not typically allowed to fall and is fed at the point at which it triples its volume. When it is young like this it is never tacky / sticky, if it were it would be considered too strong or soured.

I understand how stressful it can be to move, so many things to think about but it's just one of those things... Pets are intuitive like that, my cats always act-up before I go away on holiday!

ghazi's picture
ghazi

I have heard that its not a good idea to autolyse spelt flour (due to its fragile gluten)

Every time I had done an autolyse it has started to break down around the  3rd S & F. Maybe I am kneading a bit too much

Very tricky grain, im sure you could get an autolyse in there though would have to be very careful on the kneading.

I feel spelt needs a bit more kneading and I get a lighter loaf, this is why maybe I should leave the autolyse alone 

 

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11

I actually decided to use up the Emmer I had left. So Autolysed the Emmer overnight. I have just added my Rye starter and the rest of flour which is Spelt. Will do a further autolyse for 90min then add the salt and proceed to stretch and folds. Thank you for the warning. I'll go gently. 

 

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11

Hi Guys,

Just thought i'd give a follow up. An overnight autolyse with a long bulk fermentation produces a lovely chewy texture and an amazing taste.

My bread, up till now, was tasteless in comparison.

ghazi's picture
ghazi

Nothing compares to bread that has been planned in advance. Autolyse, bulk and resting for long time really delivers something special, glad your hooked now

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11

This whole process of sourdough has been a big learning process. But the more I know the more I have to learn. It's a shame I had to wait this long before tasting what true bread should taste like.