Autolyse duration


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Hi guys,

I'm a novice baker and I'm interested in learning how to bake a
quality sourdough loaf of bread using autolyse.
I have two books on bread. In the first one, it is written that the
dough is left to rest for twenty minutes to an hour. In the second one,
the same range is twenty minutes to three hours. The time divergence
of the autolyse in these two books is noteworthy.
I left the dough to rest for three hours (thinking the more the better)
and I got a very stiff dough that wouldn't be stretched at all.
Did the dough get too strong due to excessive autolyse?
Should I consider other possible reasons for the unsuccessful attempt?
Any information on the subject would be highly appreciated.

Thank you.
 
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Three hours is a very long autolyse. Did you add salt? Salt will tighten up the gluten. Salt is better added after the autolyse.

I would recommend Jeffery Hamelman’s book Bread A Baker’s Book of Technique and Recipes. Not many pictures, but if you want to understand the proper way to bake bread, this is the book.
 
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Thank you for the reply. No, I didn't add salt. I have Jeffrey Hamelman's book and I find it very enlightening. Would you say that the gluten network got too strong due to the excessive autolyse period? Thanks again.
 
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Thank you for the reply. No, I didn't add salt. I have Jeffrey Hamelman's book and I find it very enlightening. Would you say that the gluten network got too strong due to the excessive autolyse period? Thanks again.

No, autolyse cannot create gluten. It does the opposite.

The prefix auto means self or same

The suffix lyse means to breakdown.


So autolyse is the medical/scientific term meaning self destructive.

In biology it refers to several functions, including the destruction of a cell from its own enzymatic activity or digestion of an enzyme by another molecule of the same type of enzyme.

The enzymes in the flour are protease and amylase. The protease in particular will breakdown the gluten.


So autolyse does not create gluten, it actually destroys gluten.

Letting it sit for three hours should’ve turned your mixture into a soupy mess.

So I’m really at a loss as to why you ended up with a tough mass.
 
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Thanks again. I'll keep experimenting hoping that I'll find out what caused the problem.
 
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This is the formula and I used half of the quantities.
225g levain
735g water
800g strong white flour
200g wholegrain flour
20g salt
 
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This is the formula and I used half of the quantities.
225g levain
735g water
800g strong white flour
200g wholegrain flour
20g salt
I see what it is you have wholegrain flour in the formula. Wholegrain flour has a very high absorption rate. Unlike white flour it can absorb 100% or more water by weight.

The longer you let it sit the more water it will absorb.

I recommend Hamelman’s recipes since you have his book.
 
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Hi guys,

I'm a novice baker and I'm interested in learning how to bake a
quality sourdough loaf of bread using autolyse.
I have two books on bread. In the first one, it is written that the
dough is left to rest for twenty minutes to an hour. In the second one,
the same range is twenty minutes to three hours. The time divergence
of the autolyse in these two books is noteworthy.
I left the dough to rest for three hours (thinking the more the better)
and I got a very stiff dough that wouldn't be stretched at all.
Did the dough get too strong due to excessive autolyse?
Should I consider other possible reasons for the unsuccessful attempt?
Any information on the subject would be highly appreciated.

Thank you.
Hello,

I started baking sourdough bread about 13 month ago. I was fortunate to have a demonstration from a friend visiting from California who had been baking for about six months. He had learned, and then modified over time, his technique from the Alex baking videos on Youtube.

This jolly, young Frenchman makes it all very simple. As with my friend, I have modified my approach and now produce a consistent loaf which I like ( I have never eaten one that was not delicious despite it's imperfections).

As a man with a long established love for good bread, I took to the sourdough hobby with great enthusiasm. I watched many videos and read reams of articles. What that all proved was, apart from a few essentials there are a myriad of approaches and timings for the process. Each baker loving their own method and they all seem to work.

In my case, things improved enormously when I moved from making a large round loaf in a large round casserole to a smaller oblongish loaf in an elliptical shaped iron pot super preheated in a 240c oven with the lid on the the first 20 minutes. At 25 mins I turnout the loaf, reduce the heat to 214c and cook until dark golden. I use two oblong banneton baskets.

But I digress (egregiously), so, to answer you question, I mix water and the combined flour with the levain and leave for between 30 minutes and an hour as most folk advise.

IMG_1043.jpg
My ingredients:
200 grams starter/levain
400 grams bottled water
450 grams of strong white
200 grams stoneground wholemeal (Wholewheat in the USA)
13 grams rock or sea salt added with a little water after the autolyse.

This is the perfect quantity for my two oblongish loaves like the two pictured. These loaves are slightly darker than usual but will be fine.

Again, I really recommend baking with Alex. If you do watch him, let me know what you think.
 

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