The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pronounce "autolyse"?

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

Pronounce "autolyse"?

I'm learning to make sourdough and watching many videos.  So far, every video I've watched has pronounced autolyse rhyming with "please" ... which surprised me because I've been pronouncing it rhyming with eyes or surprise etc.

I googled it and every resource I turned up said rhyming with eyes is correct.   So why do all the bakers on YouTube rhyme it with "please"?

suave's picture
suave

Why? For the same reason they do not rhyme lame with fame, it is a French word in this particular case.

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

Well I can't find any reference saying the word is French origin.  All the English dictionaries say it rhymes with eyes ... but if I translate it from English to French and then get the French pronunciation it does rhyme with please in French.   

But maybe it's use in baking bread has French origins?

suave's picture
suave

You understood me better than our house linguists.

Thor Simon's picture
Thor Simon

It's not French, it's Greek.  αυτολυω is, depending on context, something like "self-cut", "self-dissolve", or even "self-destroy".  This is funny in context since actually, the gluten strands are growing, and the dough is strengthening, during the auto-lyse.  I suppose the sense in which it's meant is that the water and flour are dissolving into each other.

It would make more sense to call it the "absorbtion" from the Latin root but I guess that's not fancy enough.

The Greek pronunciation would be something vaguely like OW-toe LOO-oh.  Feel free to pronounce that "y" that was an upsilon any way you like -- it's got little to do with the pronunciation of the original.  I say it "AW-toe LIES".

It is true that OW-toe LEES is roughly how one would naively pronounce the word in French.

P.S. it occurs to me that the English "Lye" (hydroxide of sodium, potassium, or calcium) must be from the Greek λυω.  Don't get it on your skin when you make pretzels -- it assuredly will dissolve you.

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

haha, thanks!    Yes, I found it defined as self digesting and the way I make sourdough starter, I feed it the branny bits I screen out of my fresh ground flour and it seems to digest them and make the bran much less coarse.  

 

IceDemeter's picture
IceDemeter

and is considered a standard term in biology.

Its use in the world of bread baking was first documented to be used by the French Professor Raymond Cavel, and so the pronunciation used for the definition that he described is generally accepted to be the French pronunciation.  

http://www.keelerandspon.com/allposts/2014/3/28/autolyse