Author Topic: Autolysing - Before or After?  (Read 1748 times)

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Offline Bill/SFNM

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Autolysing - Before or After?
« on: May 09, 2005, 08:33:00 PM »
I'm in the middle of my first attempt at autolysing pizza dough. When I autolyse baguette dough, I first mix all of the ingredients until blended, autolyse, and then knead. But I have seen here procedures for autolysing at the end of the kneading. Pro's and con's? Thanks.

Bill/SFNM


Offline pftaylor

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Re: Autolysing - Before or After?
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2005, 09:06:58 PM »
Bill/SFNM,
A couple of months ago I was in full experimentation mode trying to find the holy grail of mixing and stretching procedures. With the forum's help I was able to develop a very robust regimen which I have described originally in the Patsy's Reverse Engineering thread.

Later, I incorporated my findings into the Pizza Raquel and Sophia recipes. The results have been robust in terms of producing a superior tasting, handling, and performing crust for my personal tastes. The mixing and stretching procedures have proved themselves with both KASL flour as well as with Caputo Pizzeria 00 flour. I couldn't be happier.

To answer your question about upfront or after I use both. I recommend a 20 minute autolyse after a brief mixing of the ingredients up front and then a 15 minute rest period (is this really an autolyse?) after mixing. Just as important is the kneading by hand immediately after the second rest period.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2005, 09:19:22 PM by pftaylor »
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Autolysing - Before or After?
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2005, 10:32:09 PM »
Sante Fe Bill,

Now that I have seen your baguette recipe, I have a better feel for your question.

Technically, your recipe does not use an autolyse in the classical sense. As originally conceived, an autolyse entails mixing just flour and water and letting the mix rest (autolyse) for 20-30 minutes so that the flour can absorb the flour without interference from anything else. No yeast is generally added to the mix to begin with because adding the yeast would start the fermentation process and the dough would begin to acidify. This would be especially true with compressed yeast because it starts to work faster than dry yeast. It would also apply to a preferment, especially one that has been fed and is ripe, such as yours. Sometimes IDY is allowed in the initial mix for short autolyse periods (under 30 minutes) because it is slower acting than compressed yeast. No salt is added to the initial mix because it tightens the gluten and hinders its development and its ability to absorb water. Your baguette recipe doesn't call for oil, as do many pizza dough recipes, but the oil would also impair the flour's ability to absorb water (oil is hydrophobic, that is, it repels water).

As you know, salt is often used at the very beginning of making a bread dough (it is usually dissolved in water before mixing in the flour and other ingredients). One of the reasons this is done because it reduces the oxidation of the dough so that the components of the dough that contribute to the color and aroma of the finished crust (complex carotenoids) are not harmed through oxidation. However, if you use a true autolyse and add the salt later, the same effect should take place because one of the principal benefits of using an autolyse is to reduce the overall knead time. The process of kneading itself oxidizes the dough, so foreshortening the overall knead time will mean less oxidation.

Rest periods other that autolyse rest periods generally have the effect of allowing the gluten in the dough to relax. Kneading a dough is rough on the gluten, so when the dough is allowed to rest after being beat up, the gluten relaxes. The gluten will always relax during a rest period. So, as between using a rest period at the beginning as opposed to the end, as raised by your question, I think the answer lies in what is in the dough at the time of the rest period. In your case with your baguette recipe, you mix everything together at the beginning. So, you technically shouldn't get most of the benefits of a true autolyse. Short or long rest periods after that will help the gluten relax and maybe you will get modest hydration but you won't optimize the process.

Since autolyse is commonly used in making baguette dough, I think it would be interesting to alter your mix/knead regimen to use a classical autolyse to see if you like the results you get. I know from your other posts that you favor high hydration doughs, so you might be able to coax out an even higher hydration by increasing the amount of water (relative to the weight of flour) at the very beginning-- before the start of the autolyse rest period. Theoretically, that should lead to even bigger holes in the crumb.

Peter



« Last Edit: May 26, 2005, 08:22:54 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Autolysing - Before or After?
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2005, 11:24:09 PM »
Peter,

Thank you for the very useful information. I will definitely try altering my baguette recipe to see if a true autolyse will help. Please note, that although I prefer highly hydrated dough for pizza, I prefer a much dryer dough for baguettes. I can and have added more water to the baguette recipe and I do indeed get larger holes, but that is not my goal for baguettes. It may not be clear from the photo I posted yesterday, but the baguettes have regular holes about 1/4" inch across.

For years I have been groping in the dark using trial and error trying to perfect my bread and pizza doughs. Just my short time as a member of this site has opened my eyes to so many ways I can improve. I always assumed the main purpose of my natural starter was for flavor. It never occurred to me to use the starter also for rising action, hence my dependence on commercial yeasts. That is the area I am going to concentrate on. Today I received the 2 Italian cultures from Sourdo.com as well as the book by Ed Wood. I am very curious to find out how pizzas made with these starters compare with the ones I have been making with my old one. I am especially interested in seeing what results I can achieve with no commercial yeast. I can't wait to start!

Thanks again.

Bill/SFNM



Online Pete-zza

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Re: Autolysing - Before or After?
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2005, 12:27:29 AM »
Sante Fe Bill,

I had forgotten that you use commercial yeast along with your natural preferment. When I used to make sourdough breads, The recipe I practiced used only the natural preferment, at around 35% by weight of flour. It would take 3 1/2-4 hours for the first rise (to double in volume), and ultimately the dough was subjected to a period of retardation of about 12-24 hours (max.). The same dough could also be used to make baguettes. In your case, I estimate that your preferment, if it is anything like mine, logs in at around 17%, and you use a lot longer retardation period (over 3 days). Undoubtedly you have figured out the proper relationship of amounts and types of yeast to use and the duration of the fermentation/retardation periods. I'm sure you know that you may have to make even more changes if you decide to go with only a natural preferment for your baguette recipe. But none of this should affect a decision to use a true autolyse.

Some of us at this forum have done a fair amount of experimentation with pizza doughs, both 00 and Lehmann NY style, that are based on natural preferments only, both room temperature and retarded doughs, so there is at least a roadmap of sorts to follow if you choose to go in that direction with your pizza doughs. I can assure you they behave differently in many respects from bread doughs.

Peter