The Fresh Loaf

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Correct way of mixing

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whatever868686's picture
whatever868686

Correct way of mixing

Hi guys, just wondering. Lets say we have all these ingredients, how should I mix them. In what order. Lets assume we want to mix all of these ingredients without autolysing.

  • Flour
  • Yeast
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Butter

 From what I read, we add the wet ingredients slowly to the dry ingredients then add butter last (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/7697/why-add-butter-last). And..hmm..why add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It depends on what I'm making. I always autolyse.

What if I mix alphabetically? I end up with cookies! (no specs on amounts in the list)

The secret is in the details.... more please.

Mini O

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I find it easier to add the dry ingredients to the wet; that way I can control the amount of flour.  If, by autolysing you mean resting, I get about a third of the way through the kneading, cover the dough with a bowl, and let it rest for up to 30 minutes.  Then I slam the dough down on the table a couple of times and continue with the kneading, a very old-fashioned way of doing things I know, but there you are.  You can always skip the resting of the dough; quite often, I'm resting my hands more than the dough!

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

"I find it easier to add the dry ingredients to the wet; that way I can control the amount of flour."

He he, and I do the reverse because then I can control the amount of water. :)

This also may depend on your mixing technique.  For a lot of my doughs, I put things together by blending the dry ingredients, dumping everything out onto the counter, making a large well, and then adding the wet ingredients.  I then incorporate the dry until I get a rough dough, and then start needing by hand.  Obviously, this doesn't work if you do things the other way 'round.

Incidentally, I also tend to leave out the salt until after the dough has autolyzed, as salt will inhibit gluten development.  I then do a kneed, rest, add salt, then final kneed to finish the dough up and incorporate the salt.

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Autolyse is classically done without a riser.  It is done with a portion of the flour and water, and then added to the final dough as an ingredient.

 

Some people include about the first 30 minutes a dough made with dry yeast is sitting as an autolyse because the yeast is still being rehydrated and activated.  I understand the point, but don't agree.  It blurs the term too much for my liking.

 

In his recent whole wheat book, Peter Reinhart commented something like, "one person's poolish is another person's biga."  Well. ahh, yeah.  Especially if they have no understanding of what a poolish or biga are.  What would happen if automobile mechanics used terms interchangeably, esoteric terms like "engine" and "transmission" and "thingamabobby"?  "One mechanic's engine is another mechanic's transmission!"  No way!  This isn't something that we should shrug off, it's something that should prompt better education.

 

Mike

 

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Interesting, I thought autolysing involved combining *all* of the flour and water into a shaggy ball, which is then allowed to rest for a while so the gluten can begin to develop.  Then, yeast, salt, and other ingredients are incorporated and the dough is kneeded to it's final consistency.  Certainly this baking lesson presumes that definition, and also matches the description in Reinhart's BBA.

'course, using that definition, you technically can't autolyse a sourdough that uses a liquid starter directly, at least based on the strict definition, as you need the water from the starter to fully hydrate the dough.

Yumarma's picture
Yumarma

Since we're on the subject of getting clear definitions, would someone be so kind as to define the term "shaggy" in reference to dough texture? I've seen it used more than a few times on this board and, at first, thought it was just the poster's personal descriptive for their dough at a particular point in development.

But I've seen the term pop up a fair bit from several people and now I'm under the imprssion it's a specific term. However, other than saying their dough is "shaggy" (which conjures up visions of rugs for me, child of the 70's) I still have no real idea what it's really supposed to mean.

--------
Paul

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Well, if you look at that picture in the lesson link I posted above, I define "shaggy" as just a wet ball that hasn't been worked into a nice, silky dough.  Basically, you just combine the water with the flour just to get it hydrated, without really working it.

K.C.'s picture
K.C.

Reinhart is often a reference because he's published a lot of books. Take that for what it's worth. He's particularly good at self promotion but he's sloppy in his use of terminology and not particularly skilled as a baker. It's unfortunate because he does a disservice to the profession and the art form of the artisan. 




 



Russ's picture
Russ

OK, i'm no expert, but my impression was that salt inhibited the yeast, but helped the gluten. I've actually been thinking about starting a thread on this very question, as I've run into more conflicting information on the subject of salt than any other that I can think of, and I really don't know where the truth lies.

Russ

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

You know, from what I can tell, it *might* actually be both.  On the one hand, salt may inhibit the initial development of the gluten network.  But once established, adding salt then tightens up the dough and improves the structure.

Or, at least, that's what "The Village Baker: Classic Regional Breads from Europe and America" suggests... according to Google. :)

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Salt's inhibition of yeast is dependent upon the amount of yeast used. Most bread formulas use around 2% yeast as a baker's percentage. At this level, yeast doesn't seem to be sinificantly inhibited. I suspect that if you add enough yeast to inhibit the yeast activity, you'll taste the salt in the bread pretty plainly.

Salt is also an anti-oxidant. It prevents the dough from being bleached by air. Calvel strongly suggests adding it at the beginning of the mixing process. I agree with him.

Mike

 

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Well, it's not a question of yeast inhibition as the effect of salt on gluten development.

That said, it's role as an antioxidant is interesting.  Of course, I typically add the salt after the autolyze, and so the salt is present during the majority of the kneeding which, presumably, means that it's still effective as an antioxidant.

Interestingly, if you watch the video of Julia Child and her guest putting together french bread (which is where I got my crazy scheme :), she uses the frisage technique to hydrate the flour, kneeds a bit, autolyses it, then adds the salt and yeast and does a final kneed to finish it up.

In the end, I really should just do a couple experiments... something tells me, in the end, the differences are minor to non-existent between the two approaches...

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Mixing order kinda depends on how you're mixing.

 

If you're mixing in a bread machine, follow its instructions.

 

If you're mixing in a mixer, follow its instructions.

 

In general, I add the liquid ingredients to a mixing bowl, add the flours, and then the rest of the dry ingredients.  I add butters or oils at the same time as the liquid ingredients.  No problems yet.

 

Some people suggest holding back some of the water and adding it towards the end of the mix if it's needed.  The idea is that if you play with the amount of flour, you're playing with all the baker's percentages.  Suddenly, you don't have enough yeast, salt, and what not (the every important what not!).  So, if you hold back the water and add it to adjust the dough consistency, you're not messing up the baker's percentages.

 

On the other hand, it's not easy to add water to a developed dough.  And the amount of flour added with a well made recipe should be pretty small.... it's not the end of the world.

 

All in all, except for the people who mix on a tabletop and need the flour to act as a dam to contain the liquids it's really not that important.

 

Mike

 

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

I always put water in first. The reason being, if I add water to the dry ingredients I find I always have a pocket of flour that doesn't seem to get incorporated. I mix my dry ingredients and than add them gradually to the water. I very rarely use eggs or butter, but I'm thinking I would put them in last.

ejm's picture
ejm

I start by mixing yeast (I use active dry) and water in a small bowl and setting it aside. Then I mix liquids (including eggs and butter, if it's melted) in a large bowl and mix in the flour and salt with a wooden spoon. I usually add the yeasted water then and let the dough rest (covered) for about half an hour. I know; the books say that the yeast and salt aren't supposed to be there for the autolyse. But the fact that I'm doing it wrong hasn't seemed to affect the bread badly. (Bread is a lot more forgiving than some people say.)

-Elizabeth

edit: so for the recipe in question, I'd mix in the following order:

  • Yeast
  • some Water
Set that aside. In another bowl I'd mix
  • rest of Water
  • Eggs
  • Butter (if it's melted)
  • Sugar
Stir together and mix in
  • Flour
  • Salt

Finally, mix in yeasted water.

At least that's what I'd do if the butter is to be melted. However, if the butter is NOT melted, I'd knead in the butter at end.

 

dmiller3's picture
dmiller3

People seem to use the word in different contexts.  I thought it meant a resting stage between mixing all the indredients (except salt, possibly) and the kneading stage so as to allow for a complete absorton of water thereby making the dough much eaiser to work and less "shaggy."  Am I wrong----AGAIN

K.C.'s picture
K.C.

Well since Calvel coined the term autolyse how about we use his definition.


"In bread baking, the term (or, more commonly, its French cognate autolyse) is used to describe the hydration rest following initial mixing of only flour and water that occurs before kneading has fully developed the gluten; this simplifies the shaping process of the finished dough. The term was coined by French baking professor Raymond Calvel."


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autolysis_(biology)

ssor's picture
ssor

I have used many sequences and find very small differences. For my breads I put all of the dry flour in my mixing bowl, consider the content of my poolish and add such water as needed including eggs and milk and any added yeast and the salt and  this is all mixed into the poolish and my fats are added at this point but not mixed in and added to all of the flours and mixed until all is well moistened. Then I cover it and leave the room for a half hour. When I come back I knead the dough until I am satisfied with the stretch and feel and grease the ball and the bowl and cover it. I let it rise until it has large bubbles on the surface and just lift and drop the bowl an inch and watch it deflate. Then it is ready to shape.