Bread Rising: Autolyse Method

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This weekend I used the autolyse (autolysis) method of bread making, described in ARTISAN BAKING ACROSS AMERICA. Basically, most of the flour and water are mixed first - TO THE EXCLUSION OF ALL OTHER INGREDIENTS. Allow the shaggy lump to set for 30 minutes. The dough will smoothen over time. The dough becomes very soft, very soft; and, a little gluten develops. It should smoothen.

At the 30 minute mark mix in the yeast, the salt, and any remaining ingredients. Proceed with kneading. The dough will seem a bit slack. The dough will actually be less tough due to the delayed addition of yeast and salt. The latter two ingredients will toughen dough if added too soon.

Looking at the dough during proofing, I thought that I'd made a Ciabatta, really. I put it the oven like usual.

I got the tallest oven spring ever!!! Really tall. The crumb had huge holes and the crust was actually crunchy. No wash needed. The bread turned out light and not dense using the autloyse method.

It seems that premature addition of yeast and salt result in a dense loaf with little oven spring. The autolyse method is the way to avoid heavyness. And, never have I seen a loaf of bread disappear so quickly.

A big thanks to BigHat for mentioning the book and Ms. Glezer for having written it.

:) :) :) :)

[ June 19, 2001: Message edited by: kokopuffs ]
 
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Thank you for that, koko! I have the book, and have yet to try many of the recipes. So far, I've done the bialys twice, and they came out great. It's a terrific book.
 
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I have yet to purchase to book without any further hesitations. Thanks Koko.

What type of flour did you use?
Was your loaf like a baguette or in a loaf pan?

Details please! This is so interesting!

:p

OH and I forgot, did you mix by hand or with KA?

[ June 18, 2001: Message edited by: pooh ]
 
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3 cups KA bread flour
1/2 cup KA whole wheat flour (not white whole wheat)
1 1/4 - 1 1/3 C water
1 1/2 tsp salt
pinch of yeast for the biga
1 tsp SAF instant yeast for the whole mixture


I made a biga using between 1/4 - 1/3 C water mixed with the 1/2 c whole wheat flour and a small pinch of SAF instant yeast. The mixture was allowed to sit for 36 hours, stirring once every 12 hours.

I then made the autolyse: 3 C KA bread flour plus 1 C water. Mix for about 15-25 seconds in the Kitchen Aid. After resting 30 minutes I added 1 tsp yeast, all the salt and the BIGA.

Again: total water was just shy of 1 1/3 cups; this total includes the 1/4 - 1/3 C of water used in the biga.

I continued with mechanical kneading till the dough wrapped around the hook: about 5 - 8 minutes. Not more. Additional mechanical kneading toughens the dough.

After allowing it to rest about 5 minutes, I manually kneaded the dough for about 1 - 2 minutes. Allowed to rise, doubling in size. The dough was turned and allowed to double again.

I chafed, let rest 10 minutes, then shaped into a standard loaf. Proofed about 25-30 minutes. Such a short proofing time since I live near Denver at 6000 ft. elevation.

The dough was floured, slashed 4 times diagonally, and placed onto a baking stone in a 425 oven for 45 minutes.

:cool: :cool:

[ July 27, 2001: Message edited by: kokopuffs ]
 
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Oh yes, the final loaf was somewhat bilstered.

Momoreg and Pooh:

I reedited the preceeding recipe a few times. You may want to reread it.
 
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That was quick! Thank you so much Koko!

I will let you know how that turns out!

:p
 
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I'm happy to report that I've made my biga at 07:00 P.M. I used stone ground whole wheat flour. Tomorrow morning, I will be giving it a stir!

----------

Note: I just realized that 36 hours will be Wednesday MORNING! I think I'll make another biga tomorrow morning so that it will be ready Wednesday NIGHT!!!

Talk about planning... :eek:

[ June 18, 2001: Message edited by: pooh ]
 
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I think that allowing the BIGA to ferment anywhere from 24 - 36 hours is a sufficient amount of time. Twelve hours wont make that much of a difference in flavor IMHO. ;)
 
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Thanks Koko,

When I got up, I did NOT feel like starting again. I will probably chill it for 12 hours after the first 36 hours, which will bring me to Wednesday night!

:)
 
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You're all welcome.

I hope that I've helped y'all as much as you've helped me.

I'll continue keeping you posted as to my observations and progress in bread baking.

:D :D :D
 
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Svad:

Assume that the BIGA and AUTOLYSE have just been placed into the same bowl (you're ready to knead). Just sprinkle the yeast and salt therein. Proceed with kneading immediately and you'll be okay. Kneading will distribute the salt and yeast throughout the dough.

On the other hand if you add salt to a bowl containing only water and dissolved yeast, and let the mixture set, the salt may well "burn", that is, dehydrate the yeast.

The princlple is to prevent prolonged contact of pure yeast with pure salt. Mixing immediately should avoid negative consequences.

:cool:

[ June 19, 2001: Message edited by: kokopuffs ]
 
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Further comments on the autolyse:

I've modified the above listed recipe slightly.

AUTOLYSE: mix the flour and water in the Kitchen Aid for about 15-30 seconds. Just enough to form a shaggy mass.

KNEADING: knead for about 5 - 8 minutes.

WEATHER AND DOUGH RISING: this is where it becomes complex.

1) Last Sunday it was sunny, 75 degrees temp. To let the dough rise, I set the dough bucket in the sun, covered with towel. The resulting loaf was tall with a crunchy crust.

2) Yesterday it was cloudy. So I set the dough bucket in a bowl of warm water. The dough rose much faster. The resulting loaf was low, resembling a Ciabatta, with a slightly tough crust.

However, the crumb of both loaves was moist and still presented a very open texture with large bubbles. Yes, weather and rising conditions affect the final shape of the loaf. It's the autolyse method that gives an open crumb despite how the dough has risen. I think that I'm on to something!

BTW y'all, I picked up a brand new copy of ARTISAN BAKING ACROSS AMERICA on the ebay for $21.50.

:cool: :cool: :rolleyes: :cool: :cool:

[ July 06, 2001: Message edited by: kokopuffs ]
 
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Koko,

I do think you're on to something there and it's quite interesting.

My 36 hours were up this morning, 7:00 A.M. so I stirred my BIGA one last time and put it in the fridge. Tonight, I'll take it out, let it come to room temperature (that won't take time it's practically 90 degrees here) and then proceed with breadmaking, after dinner!

Think I'll go with your second approach. Any thoughts?
 
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Happy to report that it worked. A lovely bread came out of the oven, way passed midnight!

The crumb was moist and presented a very open texture with large bubbles, like you said. The crust was beautiful and crunchy.

Had toast this morning! It was delicious (without that sour levain taste that hubby can't stand!)

Thanks again Koko for the lovely experience.

:p
 
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Great going, Pooh. I was very happy that what I learned from the book was not serendipitous. Did you get a copy of Artisan Baking Across America? :D

[ June 21, 2001: Message edited by: kokopuffs ]
 
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It's a long holiday weekend here. It would make sense to get it tomorrow, even tonight!

Should I get Crust & Crumb too?


:rolleyes:
 
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