Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Using Autolysis

In the evening, I measured the ingredients: 

400g strong white bread flour
270ml water (more than usual)
100ml sourdough starter 

I am not using salt at the moment but you could add a pinch if required.

I mixed the water and sourdough starter in the measuring jug and then added it to the flour in the mixing bowl. 
Then I gently mixed them together until there was little lose flour and no liquid. 

I covered it with a tea towel and left it to autolise for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes the autolisys has done it's trick and the dough felt springy.

You could at this point use stretch and fold to knead the dough, but as it was quite wet and I wanted to keep the hydration high so I gave it 5 minutes in the mixing machine with the dough hook at its slowest speed.


After five minutes, the dough had formed a nuce gluten structure as predicted.

I covered it with a tea towel and left it to prove overnight in the kitchen.

The following morning the dough had incrreased in size about three fold.

I scraped it out onto a lightly floured work surface and knocked it back.

Then using stretch and fold I worked it into a sausage shape.

Dropped it into the Lekue, closed it, covered it with a tea towel and left it to rise in a warm place for a couple of hours until it had doubled in size.

I then put it in a cold oven and baked it at 200C for 25 minutes.
I then took it out of the Lekue and baked it for another 20 minutes.

Then took it out of the oven to cool.

Once cooled and cut it had a nice crisp crust and a beautiful soft open crumb.

These early results would suggest that using a period of autolysis improves the quality of the bread, just as Calvel predicted.

I used more water and a higher baking temperature than usual in this test and I intend to try some different variations, but I think this is even better that my previous best sourdough method.


  1. Interesting! I tried your Best recipe yesterday but using Autolisys but also s & f before refrigerating over night. It went flat, so I've clearly done something wrong.
    However, I had great success with the recipe using the improvised Dutch oven (pyrex bowl), genius! Thankyou. Would send pics if I could. Enjoying the second book edition, may the experimenting continue 👍🙂

  2. I didn't refrigerate mine overnight and it worked fine. Did you let it come up to room temp for 2 hours after taking it out of the fridge? I've gone back to my original baking temp as it proved better than the higher temp, but it might just be my rubbish oven :-)