The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

An idea for Trevor Wilson's autolyse method

Lechem's picture
Lechem

An idea for Trevor Wilson's autolyse method

I am currently working on Trevor's idea of preparing the dough the day before baking, sans starter, refrigerating and then taking it out to bring back to room temperature through the night. 

Although adding salt at this stage is not technically a true autolyse, Trevor does so in order to prevent any wild fermentation, as it is quite a long time from initial mixing to adding the starter and he doesn't want it to affect the flavour he gets from his starter. 

I'm doing as much as I can today in order to save time tomorrow and decided on Trevor's method. Levain build 'n all. Everything is in the fridge to take out just before bed. However I did wish to do a true autolyse and an idea hit me and it's so simple. 

For everyone who is a fan of this method why not just autolyse for one hour without the salt. Add the salt and combine. Then refrigerate till the evening?

mutantspace's picture
mutantspace

I suppose you could but you'll still get development overnight wits Salt as its only there, along with cold to slow it alll down so doing one hour autolyse before doing premix is neither here nor there if you get my meaning....I love his method and use it all the time as it really is good for hydration - partilcularly of whole grains 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Do you mean that the salt also slows down the degradation of the dough? I used to think it was only the over fermenting that destroyed the structure of the dough but I have recently learned it's the enzymatic activity when hydrated. So initially it helps create the gluten but eventually it degrades over time. If I've understood this correctly does the salt slow that down too? Since I've already done one hour salt free, it would have only been in the fridge 4 hours before I take it out and it's really warm today I'm thinking if it'd benefit from staying in the fridge and I can time taking it out an hour or two before the starter goes in. What do you think? Or should I not be that concerned. 

bread1965's picture
bread1965

I'm not familiar with this method of his.. what are you he/doing? Mixing the dough, water, salt in the morning, then mixing in the levain at night before bed and leaving it all out, then it morning shape, proof, bake?  So when does he do stretch and folds, etc.. or does he just let it sit after mixed well and go to bed? And you're deciding to add the levain int he morning before the fridge with and hour long autolyse? Sorry.. would like to understand this more.. thanks.. let us know how your bread turns out.. thanks!

 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

He mixes the flour, water and salt the day before and puts it into the fridge. Come evening he takes it out and allows it to come to room temperature overnight. The next morning he'll add the starter (he doesn't dwell too much on the starter as he assumes everyone knows the drill and probably prepares that the night before to mature by morning) and continue with the recipe... incorporating the starter, stretch and folds, bulk ferment etc. 

He explains that while a true autolyse has no salt he likes to add it in as it's a long autolyse and he doesn't want any spontaneous fermentation going on before the starter goes in as it could spoil the taste of the final loaf. 

I wished to prepare everything this afternoon as I had some spare time. So I had an idea to do a true autolyse without the salt for one hour, then add the salt and refrigerate. The starter preparation was my own idea following the same refrigerating and timing. I'll take both out before bed and all should be ready to go tomorrow mid morning. 

Lechem's picture
Lechem




bread1965's picture
bread1965

Thank you.. that's a good video with a lot of good technique throughout. So it seems it's much more about convenience.. or do you think that the long "salty autolyse" improves the loaf somehow?

Lechem's picture
Lechem

www.breadwerx.com

and page...  http://www.breadwerx.com/make-50-whole-wheat-sourdough-video/

"Essentially, the long overnight soaking of the whole grain flour helps to hydrate the flour (whole grain takes more water than white flour), soften the bran, and start enzymatic reactions that help release sugars from the grain resulting in a sweeter flavor.

Additionally, the long exposure to water helps to fully develop the gluten with minimal kneading, and creates a more extensible dough better capable of achieving an open crumb".

"You’re going to chill it for a few hours to help delay any wild fermentation and enzymatic activity that could result in off flavors if things were to go overboard. This is especially important in warmer weather.

Just before you go to bed that night, remove your dough from the fridge and set it on the counter. It will slowly come to room temperature overnight, which provides plenty of time for the flour to hydrate, the gluten to develop, and for the enzymes to do their work.

The nice thing about pre-mixing your whole grain breads is that it uses time to develop the gluten, instead of mechanical action. Sharp fine bran particles can shred through gluten as dough is mechanically kneaded, resulting in a tighter crumb. But by letting the gluten develop on its own overnight we minimize any damage the bran might cause, thus helping us to achieve a more open crumb.

Additionally, by the time we do knead the dough a bit the next morning (to mix in our starter) the bran has softened thereby reducing further damage. It’s a win-win. And just in case that wasn’t enough for you, the long soaking (followed by the acidic fermentation) helps in neutralizing the phytic acid contained in the bran, making the bread more nutritious to boot".

And from the comment section...

"It can definitely be tricky letting dough autolyse for such a long time without trouble from spontaneous fermentation or too much enzymatic activity, but the cold (and salt) definitely can do the job when applied properly.

And like you say, the resulting dough is silky smooth and a real pleasure"

I have done so purely for convenience sake and to save time tomorrow. The recipe I'm doing is not that high  a in wholegrain. While all the ingredients were out, even though Trevor does not talk of this, I prepared my Levain and threw that in the fridge too. It's very warm tonight and while it's only been out an hour the Levain is showing signs of growth. 

bread1965's picture
bread1965

.. one more for the bucket /bookmark list!

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

on the counter then into the fridge.  The cold stops most enzymes and wee beasties from doing much after that.  Then let it warm up the next day, add the salt and some more water for a double hydration and to get the salt mixed in easier and then the levain  goes in. It/s a true autolyse with all the time anyone would want for one.  You get the bran in the levain and retard it for a day too - wet with the acid working on it - then the WW crumb is even better yet.