AUTOLYSE for bread baking
I'm curious as to how some spend their autolyse time, as it were.
I've been kneading in a Bosch for 5 mins,
waiting 30 mins or so, kneading again for 5 mins
or until the dough is off the bottom of the bowl.
Then I transfer to the pan and rise in an 85º
oven for 30 mins or so with a pan of boiling
water in the bottom.
I then reboil the water before the oven hits bake temp.
I've tried the overnight autolyse in the fridge
after the 1st knead, but even after a couple of
hours of letting the dough warm up before the 2nd
knead, the dough often falls flat.
Am I doing this wrong or do anyone have alternative methods to suggest.
Most often this is a ww based mutligrain loaf bread made from a grape starter.
Dear Fritz, I just noticed the attach photo tab below. So I am attaching a photo of a sourdough loaf baked with a minimum of kneading. I followed Jeff Hammelman's procedure. I baked it in a 10 1/2 inch terra cotta bulb pot with a terra cotta saucer for a lid at 475. I uncovered it after twenty minutes. So the procedure was mix flour with water, autolyse, mix in salt, mix in cut up leaven (stiff sourdough culture) all at #1 speed on a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I then mixed for two minutes longer on the #2 speed. I folded it twice during rising which I did at room temperatre--76 degrees is ideal but 70 works nicely--taking care not to let it quite double, as the gluten is weak and I didn't want to over extend it. I folded it, shaped the loaf and let it rise for about an hour and a half, as I recall, until a dimple pressed into it didn't quickly fill in. I baked in a preheated clay pot with foil covering the bottom for 20 minutes at 475 and then uncovered it and baked it for about another 25 minutes.
I think you are going about it wrong. The concept of autolyse, introduced by Raymond Calvel ["Taste of Bread"--worth borrowing from a library even if you have to get it by interlibrary loan] involves hydrating the flour without salt and yeast to allow the enzyme activity to start. Two types of activities are taking place. Amylase enzymes begin converting broken starch chains into sugars and protease enzymes begin dismantling proteins so that they can reform as gluten. The later addition of salt, which is a protease inhibitor, will prevent the breaking down of proteins faster than the formation of them. The main protein combination will be the bonding of gliadin and glutenin into gluten.] So in the first stage, you simply wet the flour, mixing it just enough to combine all the flour and liquid, and leave it to sit for between 20 minutes and an hour. Then you knead in a mixer. Or by hand. Or in a food processor. I suspect you may have overmixed (or kneaded) your dough so that the gluten actually has begun to break down. After the autolyse, you mix in salt and then mix in the yeast or pieces of your levain. (If you are using a liquid levain starter and must use it in hydrating the flour, don't add the salt until after the autolyse period.) Then you knead the dough or continue mixing in a mixer to develop the protein. There is a great discussion of this process in Jeff Hammelman's book "Bread." Many bakers overdevelop the gluten at this point and incorporate so much air that an unfavorable oxidation takes place. His procedure, for a rustic sourdough bread, would be to mix the dough only for a couple of minutes on the second lowest speed on a stand mixer. From then on he builds the strength of the gluten by folding the dough during the bulk fermentation. I tried it with my sourdough and got extraordinary results. So if you can get his book, you won't find a better introduction to sourdough. Maggie Glezer's "Artisan Baking Across America" is excellent, too. As is Nancy Silverton's book, although I don't recall that she discusses autolyse. Also, the new Cooks Illustrated that just arrived in our mailbox today has a centerfold spread on bread baking that gives a wonderful summary of basic procedures. You may want to look at that. Good luck, and happy baking.