#1  
Old 01-13-2012, 04:50 PM
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Default An Autolyse resource - food for thought

I'm adding a link to some experiments done regarding Autolyse. I found it a good read and very thought provoking. The following was mined at "thefreshloaf.com"
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http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/262...ments-autolyse

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Teresa's results seem to indicate that for her breads a 2 hour autolyse is valuable and that including the levain in the begining is better. Adding salt is better after autolyse and more than 3 or so hours of autolyse isn't helpful. I'm doing a bit of a reach here, but the indications are that for flour with less protien, like 00 compaired to bread flour, less autolyse is better.

I autolyse my pizza dough about 30 minutes and my breads about 2 hours. I add the salt directly into the pizza dough at the begining, but may hold off on this in the future. I have moved to adding the salt into my bread dough after autolyse. I think it helps the bread.

Chris

Last edited by SCChris; 01-13-2012 at 04:58 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-14-2012, 09:56 AM
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Default Re: An Autolyse resource - food for thought

Two hours is pretty long for an autolyse. I think you will find that if you leave the salt out it the gluten will form rapidly. (Note: yeast should generally be left out also or a very low amount for without salt the yeast will really take off.)

Experimenting with autolyse time is a good learning experience. I highly recommend it. But...be warned, some of the effects are subtle and if you change more than the autolyse time you will likely have trouble being sure what the impact of the autolyse was. The more you can keep everything else the same the better off you will be - until you have the basics down. Then you can say, "Gee, I really like a 45 min autolyse" and then vary with hydration, salt addition, yeast addition, etc.

As an aside I find a salt free autolyse of 20 minutes gets almost all the benefit. 30 is often my target but anywhere from 20-40 is okay to me. When you go longer you are giving the enzymes a chance to break down more starch to sugar and you are giving the yeast a really great point for takeoff so you will tend to get slightly faster bulk proofing in my experience. I like a longer proof (you can adjust this of course with the amount of yeast!)

Good Luck!
Jay
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:24 AM
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Default Re: An Autolyse resource - food for thought

Jay, I was hoping that I'd get some of your thoughts and experience. I have a batch of sourdough going with a 90 min autolyse and I'm looking forward to seeing what I get. Do you have any thinking about how higher hydration affects things. My guess is that the higher hydration will allow the processes to move a bit faster than a lower hydration, this is based on how sourdough yeast behaves in my sourdough mother.

Chris
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:50 AM
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Default Re: An Autolyse resource - food for thought

IMO it's actually more the lack of salt than hydration. I suspect you are right though. A 70% dough probably achieves full gluten formation faster than a 60% dough. But the presence of salt or not is more significant in my experience.

How are you mixing the dough? I REALLY LIKE to mix dough for autolysing by hand. You don't really have to "mix" it - just get it past the ragged stage so it is reasonably uniform. The "dough' will be slack and weak in my experience at any reasonable hydration. After 30 minutes or so the gluten should be fully formed. After that you are primarily enzymatically breaking down the flour. Little else is happening. The results are subtle impacts on the texture and crust of the bread as the flour is degraded. And the flavor tends to get more complex - at least to a point. But I don't think there is much difference in flavor development in an extended autolyse versus the same total autolyse/bulk proof total time with a shorter autolyse.l Adding salt has several effects: strengthens the gluten (half dissolve the salt in 20 ml/mg of water and add to the dough and mix by hand. You will FEEL the gluten get tougher! A really neat feel IMO.), it slows yeast reproduction/feeding if present, and it slows bacteria. I don't think it has much effect on the enzymatic degradation.

My tendency is to believe that you get more complex flavor by having multiple pathways of flour degradation active - so having yeast, bacteria, and enzymes all working should give you more complexity than one. I think it is also worth noting that when bakers suggest extended autolyse (like PR) he usually does so with only a portion of the flour. I think when one has an extended autolyse (like overnight) one needs some fresh flour to add structure back to the dough to be. The autolysed flour is too damaged to give the crust and crumb we want. (NOTE: That is a value statement which is personal to each of us so there is NOTHING wrong with anyone deciding or saying they prefer overnight or highly retarded doughs! It is not right or wrong but personal taste.)

An experiment I have NOT done is mixing the yeast in before the salt (say 10 minutes or more to jump start the yeast) or late (after the salt is added and well incorporated). One of the other should be better (in my mind) than adding the yeast and the salt at the same time and exposing the yeast to potentially high salt levels and shocking it or even damaging it. (My inclination is mixing salt in earlier so it is reasonably dispersed is probably more predictably beneficial) (NOTE: we are probably talking small details or no difference here - except for the case where the salt slurry gets dumped on the yeast or sourdough and mixed or not in a way such that the yeast is severely shocked. And we might not realize what happened and just think the "yeast or starter was weak").

Good Luck!
Jay
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Old 01-14-2012, 11:00 AM
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Default Re: An Autolyse resource - food for thought

I mix the initual batch to autolyse with a good solid wood spoon. It allows me to do a bit of cleaning of the bowl before I cover the whole thing with plastic and a towel.

It's really interesting how much is going on while the dough at this stage is supposedly resting. I add my salt to a bit of water than then add it to the dough this brings the whole to the 80% hydration I want, 50g of water and 18g of salt. It takes a bit of squishing the whole between my fingers before things are mostly incorporated, the next strech and fold 30 minutes later does the trick.


Amazing stuff dough..

Chris
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Old 01-14-2012, 11:25 AM
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Default Re: An Autolyse resource - food for thought

It's an interesting thought about salting the dough, autolyse and then later add the yeast. My gut is that this would slow things down by impacting the yeast getting to the fully proofed ready to bake state. But it may produce a better product flavor wise.

Hmmm?

Time for a S&F and a bit of shaping..

Chris
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Old 01-14-2012, 12:00 PM
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Default Re: An Autolyse resource - food for thought

Fascinating thread guys...
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Old 01-14-2012, 12:51 PM
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Default Re: An Autolyse resource - food for thought

I thought so..

When I was 16 I knew everything.. I either forgot a good portion of it, or something happened in between then and now..

;-)

Chris

PS reserving the salt for 90 minutes and allowing the sourdough yeast to go unchecked did not have what I call optimum results. Adjustments will be made.

Last edited by SCChris; 01-15-2012 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 01-15-2012, 01:30 PM
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Default Re: An Autolyse resource - food for thought

Quote:
Originally Posted by SCChris View Post
I thought so..

When I was 16 I knew everything.. I either forgot a good portion of it, or something happened in between then and now..

;-)
I agree! I was so much smarter at 16. Now I know vastly more....and nothing for there IMO there absolute truths are evasive!

Sounds like your yeast ran away with your unsalted 90 minute autolyse! Yeast is VERY sensitive to salt. Half a percent is enough to really slow it down. At 2% of flour it is okay. Go much higher and the yeast development rate/proofing will slow dramatically. Not sure offhand what fatal but I don't think it is a lot higher... well, Googling suggests it is quite a bit higher and not a very specific number....

Good Luck!
Jay
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Old 01-16-2012, 08:17 AM
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Default Re: An Autolyse resource - food for thought

The color after baking was right, but I had dense crumb with a mouse chase. My very slightly enlightened knowledge, and mostly your input, makes me guess that the gluten was degraded rather than the sugar consumed. I need to re-read the autolyse information and see if there is more to be gleaned..

Chris
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