The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

To fridge or not to fridge? Autolyse in San Francisco

Firatcim's picture

To fridge or not to fridge? Autolyse in San Francisco

I started baking bread about a year ago from the books of Peter Reinhart. He's a proponent of autolysis, delayed fermentation. This process entails leaving the yeasted dough in the fridge for an extended period of time to delay the fermentation and create that elusive taste homebakers highly prize. I live in San Francisco, the home of sourdough, and many bakers I consulted tend to think that fringing is not good for the dough and that given the temperate climate in SF, I do not need to fridge my wild yeasted doughs. I tried not fringing, which seems to result in overdeveloped fermentation, following the time table in the recipes and flaccid bread. Any ideas on this would be much appreciated.  

prettedda's picture

For me, autolyse is letting dough rest after partial mixing before adding salt and maybe before adding starter. After waiting from half hour to five hours you mix/knead. Autolyse is done at warm teps. You leave the yeast /starter out if it is going to be long (for me over half hour).

Putting the dough in the fridge happens after and is called retarding. If you have a recipe that calls for retarding and you don't do it you will over proof unless you make a change. Either use less leavening or shorten the ferment or proof time. The step in the fridge changes the type of bacterial activity giving you more sour taste in a sour dough.

Maverick's picture

Like mentioned above, that is not autolyse, but retarding the dough. I just moved away from your area and if you want more sour then use the fridge. The temperature and environment are great for promoting the good LAB for great taste, but to bring our that flavor and allow the bacteria to do its thing you will want it to be colder. 

You can easily make it without retarding and see the difference. Make enough for two loaves and bake one while the other goes in the fridge.