The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Adding salt to the autolyse?

StephanieB's picture

Adding salt to the autolyse?

Hi All,

So I made a whole wheat loaf that I thought was going to be a total flop. Having read that 2% salt inhibits proteolytic enzymes, I upped my salt (I usually do 1tsp, added 2tsp this bake which comes out to 2% by weight for my doughs and salt). I had some issues with proteolysis recently, got it solved, but I thought I'd experiment with increasing the salt just for the fun of it. And instead of adding salt to the final dough, I added it to the autolyse.

Otherwise I proceeded with my "workhorse" formula that I'm comfortable tinkering with:

-Make levain to amount to 8% pre-fermented flour in final dough, 100% hydration with a mix of white bread and whole wheat flours, using 1:1:1 or 1:2:2 starter:water:flours-100% hard red spring wheat, milled fine. Bran is sometime sifted out and soaked separately in boiled water, sometimes not - not convinced this makes a differnece.

-Autolyse (this time with salt) until starter/levain has doubled (usually 4h)

-Bran, starter or levain, and salt (except for this time) are mixed in and any hydration adjustments are made if necessary. Final hydration is 80%. Dough is kneaded until it passes windowpane.

-Bulk until until risen ~40% with usually with no handling unless I want to make sure the dough still "feels" good and like the gluten is in good shape. Bulk usually takes ~6h to get to where I want. Preshape 20 min, shape, and put in fridge to bake next day (usually 10h later). 

This time with the salt in the autolyse, and the higher amount of salt, my bulk took forever. I cut it off after 9h just because I wanted to go to sleep. The next day it hadn't risen visibly at all (my dough usually rises a little in the fridge). I took it out of the fridge for a couple hours to see if it would pick up, and finally just gave up and baked it, fully expecting a pancake. 

But it was the tallest whole wheat loaf I've baked in a while! It seems like the salt slowed down the fermentation, but this wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I think that amount of salt tasted borderline too salty to me, I'm used to 1tsp, but I would be curious to experiment more with this. Anyone know more about this?

StephanieB's picture

dbazuin's picture

Looks great.

I guess you normally ferment to long and so there is not enough food left for de yeast to get this level of ovenspring.
Now with less fermentation the oven spring is better.

But do yourself a favor and buy a digital scale one with at lease one digit after the comma.
I have bigger one that's rounds to grams and a smaller that goes to a one digit after the comma that I use for small amounts like salt.