Breadmaking Basics: The Autolyse

Breadmaking Basics: The Autolyse

Breadmaking Basics: 

Let's start with some basics on sourdough bread making.

Here at Voyageurs, our bread making process includes two mixes.

In the first mix, the water, flour, and levain get added to the mixer. These ingredients get incorporated together slowly for 6-8 minutes. The purpose of the first mix is to evenly incorporate the ingredients and fully saturate the flour. 

Then the dough rests for about 30 - 40 minutes, before the second mix.

This resting period is called Autolyse. 

The Autolyse Method is a bread making method that incorporates rest periods between mixes to allow the bread to properly ferment and build the strength of the gluten.

A Brief History of the Autolyse Method

According to King Arthur Baking,
"French scientist and bread expert Prof. Raymond Calvel developed this technique in 1974, in response to what he saw as a deterioration in French bread production.

In the 1950s and '60s two-speed electric mixers came into use in France, and bakers adopted more aggressive mixing practices. According to Calvel, this resulted in “very white and high in volume” bread — which to his dismay began to gain popularity in France.

This intensive mixing caused the dough to mature more quickly, which meant less fermentation time was required. Unfortunately, reducing fermentation resulted in bread with less flavor and keeping quality. Excessive mixing also damaged the carotenoid pigments in the flour through over-oxidation. This caused a loss of crumb color (whiter bread) and a reduction in aroma and flavor."

(Sourced on

In following the Autolyse method, any additional ingredients get added to the dough on the second mix. 

In addition, in following this method we can also add additional hydration to the dough which helps to create a lighter and softer final result of the baked loaf. 

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