The translation of this greek expression sounds a little bit like a science fiction movie’s showdown. But for our Sourdough-Series (or generally for all kind of breads, exluding pure rye ones) this is just the very beginning. So let’s start:
For the autolyse simply mix flour and water (main dough quantities as mentioned in the recipe) until no dry flour parts remain – without focus on kneading or gluten development! Hence, just by hand or with a spoon – the job will be perfectly done. Depending on the recipe, the amount of flour and water to be mixed for the autolyse, is varying. But what for bread’s sake is going on during the autolyse`?
The mixing and soaking procedure of flour and water acts as trigger for a couple of fascinating enzymatic processes. While the water is absorbed by the flour, starch is transformed into sugar and the gluten building party gets started! You won’t add any salt to the autolyse (no troublemakers wanted – that’s the enzymes’ approach). As far as the leaven is concerned (sourdough or any other kind of pre-dough) – it may be added in case that the autolyse would result too dry (too less water for too much flour) – otherwise the desired impact of the autolyse would be far reduced.
In order to achieve an open crumb, the dough we are heading for is very extendable. This is perfectly supported by the gluten-development, started during our autolyse at this very early stage of dough preparation. You see, as gluten are devolped automatically, it is no longer a srecret, that we are saving also plenty of kneading-time. Pretty good news, as we are doing all work by hand, right?
Based on my own experience and the results that I achieved while working on the #brotokoll Open crumb Sourdough Series and this tutorial, I highly recommend you to go for 2-3 hours. If your room-temperature is too high (e.g. summer-time), simply put the autolyse dough in your fridge – that’s the way you are also able to control dough temperature (and enzymatic processes are slowed down).
Have a look at this short video – this is how a dough looks like at the end of a 2-3 hours autolyse:
Do you have any specific question? Write me an email or contact me directly HERE. I am looking forward to your message!