Autolyse discussion

Joined Jul 15, 2006
Once again, there is a wide difference of opinion among Bread Book authors. Most say that an autolyse is  the combing of the flour and water (no yeast or salt ) mixing for 2 or 3 minutues and resting for a period,  usually 15-30 minutes to begin the passive process of combining the glutenin and the gliadin to form the gluten. Later yeast and salt are added and the kneading begins. The authors state that because much of the gluten has already been developed , less kneading is required.

A few Bread Book authors, however, state that autolyse is the resting period after the incorporation of ALL of the dough ingredients and before the main kneading.

I seen to recall reading about a baker that claimed great success going with a 2 hour autolyse. He supposedly got a much more open crumb in his rustic Boulles. 

Anyway, I´d very much like to hear of your experiences with autolyse. What method YOU use and the results you obtain.

Thank you
Joined Oct 19, 2009
Autolysing your bread is essentially the concept of allowing the starches of the flour to fully absorb the liquid, studies have shown that a brief (15-30 minute) autolyse period reduces kneading time to reach require gluten strength, therefore less likely to oxidize the fats present in the flour, therefore creating a better overall flavor. There's very little scientific support that a longer autolysis period will have any benefits on the overall outcome, and there's very few people that would try to argue that a lesser-kneaded well-autolysed crumb is better than a well-kneaded lesser-autolysed crumb. 

Autolysing bread should always be done with just flour and water, any other ingredients absorb water and impact the flour and the protein-digesting enzymes that make autolysing dough work. Bread chefs tend to take these things far to far in my opinion. They start to see results which more often than not, are explained by other things. They then write books about it, with no scientific support and confuse people. 

I autolyse for 15-30 minutes (depending on patience level) and knead to window-pane. It's always been my method for the last 15 years of pro work, and it's never failed me. For more complex breads, I enjoy engineering my own yeasts, and playing with sour-doughs. I wouldn't over-think autolysis to be honest, considering it's impact on the final result. 
Last edited:
Top Bottom