Autolyse Method-too wet and lumpy


I have already read the other posts about the autolyze method, but I am not sure if they specifically address my questions.

Last night I followed the Master Dough Without Starter recipe (page 48 of The Pizza Bible) as follows:

453 grams of flour (403 grams of Tony’s California Artisan Flour and 50 grams of Rye (added Rye because I wanted to experiment with the texture and taste)

200 grams of ice water (38 degrees). Note that I added only 200 grams instead of the full 225 grams because earlier attempts at autolyse resulted in very wet dough, so I decided to try holding back a portion.

Using my Kitchen Aid with the dough hook, I mixed just these two ingredients for 1-2 minutes on the lowest speed setting. I tried to get as much of the flour mixed into this water.

At this point, the dough looked ragged, not a smooth ball that I would normally see without doing the autolyse method. I let the mixture sit in the mixing bowl covered with a plastic sheet for a full two hours.

After two hours, the dough looked like it absorbed the water alright, but it was not a smooth ball. It still looked ragged and was a bit lumpy.
I proceeded with the recipe as follows:

I added 9 grams of diastatic malt

I added 4 ½ grams of active dry yeast which was mixed with 70 grams of water (80-85 degrees) for about 1-2 mins on the lowest speed setting.

At this point, the dough became very wet and a bit hard. I don’t ever recall seeing this when I used the non-autolyse methods.

Added the 9 grams of salt and mixed for 1 min.

Added the 5 grams of olive oil and mixed for 1 min.

I moved the dough to the marble work area and stretched and folded, and kneaded it the best that I could. I could feel the lumps in the dough.
It was placed in the refrigerator for bulk ferment. After 9 hours, I could see very good air pockets in the dough, but I can still feel the lumps

Any specific suggestions on what I should have done differently will be very much appreciated!

For example -
Should I have mixed the water and flour differently? By hand?

How should the dough have looked after that initial mixing of just flour and water?

Should I have added the full 225 grams of water?

When I added the yeast, did I need to add that 70 grams of warm water with it or should I have withheld that as well?

Frank S.
posted almost 2 years ago

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I think I know what's going on Frank. There's an extra 70 grams of water that's being incorporated into the recipe after the autolyse. You should use all of the water in the autolyse.

Bread recipes that use the autolyse method incorporate all of the water and flour at once. The additional 70 grams in this case will help with the texture. The goal should be to mix the flour and water just until the two are incorporated.

While the traditional autolyse doesn't call for yeast, it's ok to add the yeast to the flour/water autolyse mixture. If you do so, be sure to limit the autolyse period to 20-30 minutes.

As for adding yeast after the autolyse, I've done it with instant dry yeast (IDY) successfully, but haven't tried it with active dry yeast (ADY).

Thumb raji
Raj Irukulla admin
posted almost 2 years ago


Thanks Raj for your prompt reply. Makes sense to me . How long do you usually do your autolyse?

Frank S.
posted almost 2 years ago


I usually go with 30 minutes. Sometimes a little longer (like 45 minutes), but only because of scheduling/timing.

Frank, one other thing that comes to mind is the attachment you're using. When I'm starting off a dough and using the autolyse, I've found that the paddle attachment, when used for 30-60 seconds does a great job of getting the flour and water incorporated. After the autolyse, the dough hook will do a great job of mixing the dough.

Thumb raji
Raj Irukulla admin
posted almost 2 years ago


Sounds great.I picked up some Instant Dry Yeast (IDY) today, so I will try the autolyse method again today using the paddle. I will let it autolyse for an hour, then I will switch to the dough hook and add in the IDY and mix for a minute, then the salt for a min, then the oil. Bulk ferment for a day, then split and ferment again.
Thanks. I will let you know how it turns out!

Frank S.
posted almost 2 years ago


ThIs worked MUCH better! The paddle did a superior job in mixing. After I used that, I switched to the dough hook for 30 secs to make a ball. Let it work autolyse for 2 hours. Nice texture. Added malt, mixed, IDY, mixed, salt, mixed, and oil. Resting now for an hour, then will go in the refrigerator for 24 hour bulk fermentation. Thanks again!

Frank S.
posted almost 2 years ago


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