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Basic "bread" cookbook? - Page 2

post #31 of 33
IIRC, Reinhart recommends kneading to "windowpane" after autolysis (or at least what we're calling autolysis here). That takes almost the usual amount of kneading -- in my case about 7 minutes of hand kneading for three to four pounds of dough of normal hydration, versus the roughly 9 minutes it would take without an autolysing rest.

Among some bakers, autolysis is only done before the yeast is added. I.e., not just salt but yeast too. According to them, once the yeast is in you may call it autolyse if you like, but they would say it's "just proofing," and in a nasty tone of voice too. Personally, I'm agnostic.

Most (if not all) bakers using the autolyse process mix their dough more thoroughly than bakers who thoroughly knead immediately after mixing. So there's some blend between autolysis and kneading. It's good to remember that an autolysed dough is going to feel slacker (more moisture) than one fresh from the mixing process. By really thorough mixing you can cut the difference down a great deal.

On the other hand, a less thoroughly mixed dough which appears a little too dry (stiff) will often seem to hydrate during the kneading process. Or conversely, sourdoughs which usually feel very slack will stiffen up. There's no substitute for experience and touch here. The most accurate clocks and scales will only get you so far. So, another attraction to the autolysis method is that you can pretty much take care of the whole hydration issue in the mixing bowl in the sense of "what you see is close to what you're going to get." It doesn't take as much judgement.

We should probably take a look at kneading. Not so much in terms of gluten development as a general concept, but more specifically as the windowpane test. I'm certainly not going to say it's impossible to get good development without reaching the windowpane stage. After all, mileage varies. Let's just say windowpaning works. Every time.

Personally, sometimes I "sort of" autolyse. That is, I make the dough with enough hydration to get it to just clear the mixing bowl completely (usual test) then give it two minutes of additional mixing. During the extra mixing, I'll adjust flour or water as necessary to get it stable. Then, let it rest for twenty minutes or so (the autolysis) before the first knead (which I take to windowpane). After kneading, rest and proof. After proofing, instead of punching down, I "pull down" just enough to get some tightness, then fold "three by three," trying to keep as much air as possible in the dough. Then, second proof.

The method seems to result in a dough which is more cooperative during the kneading process; i.e., one that doesn't stick to the board and keep begging for more flour; but it still requires only a little less handling. The biggest advantages as I see it aren't so much front loaded, but come in crumb texture (chewy, open structure) which I believe is improved by the initial rest/autolyse, and and loaf formation. I usually do free form shapes like batards -- which demand a lot of skin tension compared to boules or miche. The pull-down/fold after the first proof really pays downstream dividends. Worth mentioning even if it really doesn't have much to do with autolysis.

Note, this method is for three rise (at least) loaves. If you're a Reinhart baker, ideally the final rise is retarded.

I believe the timing and handling involved with this ("my") method are typical of small, European and European type bakeries. That short rest after mixing isn't long enough for much to happen with the yeast, but is long enough for the baker to mix another batch of bread while the first settles down and the moisture has a chance to soak in. In other words, conducive to small batch baking. If nothing else, it's certainly "artisanal."

BDL
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post #32 of 33
Just do it my way and you'll be impressed with the results.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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post #33 of 33
To the OP:
I got Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice and Ortiz's The Village Baker at the same time and I have to say I liked Ortiz's book over Reinhart's when I started baking loaves at home (just a few years ago).
No dis-respect to Reinhart, I definitely respect and admire the man, I just think Ortiz's book was a better read for me as a beginning home baker. Also, there are some direct yeast recipes in Ortiz's book so you get that instant gratification (as in: "i forgot to buy a baguette for dinner tonight and I don't want to go back to the store":lol:).
Get both. Have fun.
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