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Let’s find out what autolysis is, a fundamental phase of the baking process


Autolysis is a pre-dough that makes leavened products lighter and more digestible as well as easier to work with. Here’s everything you should know.

Approaching bread-making could seem really complicated: difficult terms follow one another along with particular techniques and flours of all kinds, discouraging most. Whether it is bread or pizza, the preparation almost always starts from the autolysis process which consists in mixing the flour with part of the water and then letting everything rest for a period of time ranging from 20 minutes to 24 hours. Not everyone is clear, however, the reason for this step and that is why we decided to shed some light on the subject.


Dough with autolysis: what it is and how to do it

The autolysis process serves to break down the flour cells by breaking down the proteins, favoring the release of sugars and thus facilitating the formation of gluten. This technique was introduced some time ago as the soft grains present in Italy were too weak to resist bread making. This technique therefore allows to obtain a stronger gluten mesh and more resistant to leavening.

To prepare the dough for autolysis, mix all the flour with 55-60% of the total water required by the recipe. The mixture is then left to rest for a variable period of time based on the flour used: very strong flours must be left in autolysis for a short time (from 20 minutes to 1 hour), weaker flours instead for a period between 3 and 6 hours but extendable up to 24. In the case of semolina flour, however, it is always better not to exceed 2 hours. The autolysis mixture is then kept at room temperature, covered with a damp cloth to avoid excessive evaporation of the water contained in it.

Autolysis dough
Autolysis dough

Bread with autolysis

The autolysis technique is used above all when preparing bread and pizza because it allows to obtain a dough that is easier to work with and much more digestible .

The autolysis technique in bread precedes the actual kneading phase. To put it into action, mix the flour specified in the recipe with 55-60% of water. Let it rest then add all the other ingredients required by the recipe, finishing kneading. For a bread with autolysis you will need:

  • 300 g of type 1 flour
  • 200 g of 00 flour (w 270)
  • 340 ml of water
  • 2 g of dry yeast
  • 10 g of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of malt

Mix the two flours with 180 ml of water and leave to rest for 30 minutes . Then add the remaining water, the yeast and the malt and mix with the planetary mixer for 10 minutes, adding the salt only at the end. Proceed with 3 turns of folds 15 minutes apart, bringing the edge of the dough towards the center then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours . Bring it back to room temperature for 30 minutes, shape the loaf and after 2 hours of leavening, cook it by putting it in a cast iron pot at 250 ° C for 50 minutes.

Pizza with autolysis

Autolysis in pizza has the same function and follows the same modalities . It should be done before the actual dough and helps to make it lighter and more digestible. For pizza with autolysis you will need:

  • 500 g of flour 00
  • 320 ml of water
  • 2 g of salt
  • 7 g of fresh brewer’s yeast
  • 30 g of extra virgin olive oil

Mix the flour with half of the water and let it rest for 2 hours . Then add the remaining water in which you have dissolved the yeast, the oil and finally the salt. Proceed with a round of three folds and leave the dough to rise in the oven turned off with the light on for 6 hours . Then roll out the dough by dividing it into two trays, let it rise for an hour then stuff and bake at 250 ° C for 10-12 minutes.

In short, autolysis is a pre-dough similar to the chariot . We encourage you to try both of these techniques to find out which one is best for you.


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