Accidental Experiment

Just started to put together a loaf (approx. 2/3 bread flour and 1/3 einkorn but with a small bit of red fife to compensate for running out of bread flour) and, as I was distracted, I accidentally added the salt to the flour for the autolyse. Has anyone done this? How will it impact the autolyse.

Trevor Wilson adds salt for extended autolyse. He does this for convenience and to stop unwanted fermentation not coming from the levain. The salt isn’t added to the autolyse because it does the opposite. Autolyse is for the flour to absorb the water and salt draws water out. Its too late now and the only two!options you have is to carry on as if you haven’t done an autolyse (it’ll still be nice and tasty) or extend the autolyse to give the flour more time to absorb the water.

Interesting. How long should the autolyse be extended?

I don’t know how long to extend the autolyse for the same effect as Trevor adds salt simply because he’s doing an extreme “autolyse” of sorts which starts the day before. Not sure about the exact timing. Whether its exactly how long Trevor autolyses for or he’s just doing so because its a lengthy process. I think just give it more time and once the dough has the same feel and texture to what you expect from an autolyse then you’re good to go.

I doubt I will have the patience or the refrigerator space to follow his method regularly, but I will give it a try today and have put the salted autolyse into my refrigerator.

I have to warn you. I only posted the video as an example. Many have tried this recipe and have found the extended autolyse too long and it compromises the final dough. If it were me I’d carry on with your planned recipe but just give it some extra time. Don’t think he meant that salted autolyse has to be over two days but rather since he was doing the recipe over two days he added the salt. If you still wish to carry on with the refrigerator I’d keep it in till an hour or two before adding the levain rather then taking it out the night before. Just enough time to bring it up to room temperature.

FWIW, I always add the salt to my autolyse.

I’m retired, live in the woods, have plenty of animal and garden chores, so I’ve worked out a fairly forgiving schedule for bread baking.
My go-to bread formula is:

250g preferment @100% hydration

400g hard red wheat
100g soft white wheat
200g rye
17g salt
575g water

In the morning somewhere between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. I grind the grains for the autolyse, mix briefly til it can be handled into a moist ball, cover and leave in cool place in the mixing bowl of my Magic Mill/ mixer. I then grind the grain for the preferment. I put it together using

120g cold starter
250g water
250g freshly milled hard white wheat

Set in warm place, 80 F, 27 C to rise.

(I refresh my small amount of left-over starter at the same time:
About a soup spoonful of starter
70g water
70g flour (mix of hard white, rye, AP)

Around 7 p.m. I retrieve the autolyse from its cool place (tile floor of unheated utility room), add the preferment and mix on low speed until the dough cleans the bowl, cover, let rest 20 minutes, mix again on medium for three or four minutes, repeat the covered rest once more, then add a few more stretch and folds by hand. By this time the dough is very elastic, only slightly tacky.

Into the fridge in the mixing bowl overnight. Next day, any time from early morning to early evening, I pre-heat my La Cloche in a 500° F oven for 45 minutes.

Then I remove the cold dough, now partially risen, from the fridge to a very well floured surface. I sprinkle the dough liberally with flour, my hands as well, and gently round it into a boule. As I pull and round the dough I brush excess flour away. I place it into a rice-floured banneton in order to transport it to the hot oven, invert it into the La Cloche and lower the temperature to 475°F.

I bake it for 55 minutes, never remove the cover.

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I tried to include a picture but my iPad hasn’t figured out how to do it.
I hope my flexible formula helps reassure you that salt in the autolyse isn’t a problem.
~ irene

Thanks, Irene, for the reply. I did follow Trevor Wilson’s method described above and initially refrigerated the autolyse and then took it out last night for about 8 hours. Added 20% (starter weight divided by flour weight excluding starter) fresh Einkorn starter (also made overnight) this morning. Bulk fermentation was only 4-1/2 hours (on a warm morning) with only a couple of stretch & folds and a couple of coil folds. The dough is back in the refrigerator for an overnight proof and I will bake it tomorrow.

I don’t use Einkorn very often and more than 1/3 hardly ever, so it is hard for me to judge the dough at the moment. It feels wetter than I expect and very, very extensible.

@trillium That was a really clear explanation of process – I also love to use the cool tile floors of unheated rooms and basements. One question: do you skip an extended final proof or is there a pause between into the banneton and then preheated cloche?

@SingKevin I made two rounds of Turkish pide recently – only difference was 15% whole rye vs. 15% whole einkorn, and the einkorn was definitely more wet and extensible. Both were sticky, but the transfer of the einkorn batch from one surface to the next was much more exciting lol.

Melissa, I don’t bother with an extended final proof as the cold dough is nicely pillowy, but still has enough structure to be gently rounded and placed into the banneton, then straight into the preheated cloche. The banneton is just used to carry the dough to the cloche.

In the beginning I was worried about putting cold, wet dough straightaway onto the hot base of the cloche, so once the dough is in the banneton I stipple the surface (which becomes the bottom of the boule) with wet fingers, making little moist indentations, and then sprinkle It liberally with raw sesame seeds. If I’m worried about the dough sticking to the edges of the banneton I gently pull the dough away and sprinkle sesame seeds all round the circumference of the dough.

I get good oven spring, nice ears and a delicious bottom crust!

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I’ve read and re-read your baking process and find it really interesting, beyond the autolyse with salt. You certainly have found a way that works for you and your daily life. Looking at your flours, I’m wondering what the addition of soft white wheat adds to your bread. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen an artisan bread recipe that includes a soft wheat. Obviously you’ve figured out a blend that you like and I’m curious what the characteristics are of adding soft wheat.

I noticed that your preferment is 120g starter and 250g water. No flour? It seems that would make for a lot of water in the final dough, unless I’m missing something!

Oops! You’re exactly right. I’ll edit my original post right now.

120g cold starter
25og water
250g freshly milled hard white wheat

Arlo 48, the grains I use come from a family-owned farm in eastern Washington state. Last year I bought one hundred pounds each of their heirloom Crimson Turkey red hard wheat and Golden Sonora soft white wheat. In correspondence with the farm’s owner I learned that an artisan baker in a nearby town used their grains in his bakery and baked his rustic boules using a 70%/30% blend of the two grains for the flavor they produced. Et voilà, I did the same, eventually reducing the soft grain a bit and adding the rye, again for flavor.

My husband and I eat a WFPB (whole foods, plant-based) diet, so nutrition, followed by flavor is the goal I try to keep my eye on in gardening, cooking and baking. And that’s why I wanted to figure out a 100% whole grain bread formula that would be flexible and reliable. I have a Mock Mill 100, grind flours on the finest setting and never sift them. I feed my starter culture with +/- 30% AP flour in order to use up an old 5 lb. sack that’s been in the freezer for years!
~ irene
PS — Thank you for catching my omission.

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I bet the boule you make tastes as good as it looks. It’s pretty much what I strive for with its nice oven spring and (from your description) a tasty, crusty bottom (must be really good with the sesame seeds). I like your idea of using sesame seeds as a barrier between the cold dough and hot cloche (and thanks for introducing me to the word “stipple”; I had to look it up!), and then as a way to help transfer the wet dough from banneton to cloche.

I’m going to try your method of incorporating the preferment and mixing on and off in preparation for an overnight bulk in the fridge. What’s cool is your timing the next day gives you a lot of flexibility.

I got a MockMill last fall and am really enjoying experimenting with different grains (for other baking, too). I’ve found a few sources (including Breadtopia), although nothing as close to the source as your farm connection. I do have some soft white berries that I use for other baking so might try adding some to a bread replacing a percentage of another wheat just to see what it’s like.

Thanks for all the details on your method. I really like being inspired by other bakers’ methods, and this forum is the perfect spot.

I agree that the Breadtopia forum is a wonderful place for bakers to learn from one another. Many thanks to everyone who shares their bread baking formulas, questions, successes and otherwise, their tips and pictures/videos.

Hooray for the wonderful world of sourdough! :clap:t3:
~ irene

That looks delicious. I agree that there’s so much more flexibility to the traditional steps of baking. The preshape, for example, I imagine comes from large batch baking where divided pieces of dough have to come back together. Is it really needed if you dump a single dough out of a bowl? When I have under-fermented the dough, yes absolutely :wink: but if the dough is poofy, why not jump right into shaping, especially if you’re okay with a wild crumb, or you’re planning to shape firmly and de-gas the dough a bit.


“…if the the dough is poofy, why not jump right into shaping, especially if you’re okay with a wild crumb, or you’re planning to shape firmly and de-gas the dough a bit.”

I invert the bowl in which the dough has spent the night in the fridge onto a well floured surface, dust it with flour because the presenting surface is quite sticky, moisture having pooled a bit in the bottom of the bowl overnight. I handle the poofy dough gently, rounding it and pulling just enough to create a surface to slash. Then straight into the banneton so I can carry it to the oven and tip the dough into the base of the cloche. The crumb is open with scattered small holes, moist and stretchy, but tame.

I’ve adopted the motto of a long-ago friend:
The easiest way is hard enough! :wink:

My latest routine is to do an overnight autolyse with salt and an overnight levain, so I can get right into mixing with the levain and the stretching and folding right away. I’ve been doing this weekly for about 6 weeks and have really liked it.

I mix once a week, enough for three loaves, and I bake one the next day (Day 1) and then Day 3 or 4 and then Day 5 or 6. I put one banneton in the refrigerator for baking the next morning; the other two I put in the freezer. I take each out and put in the refrigerator the afternoon before I bake them.

I’m really satisfied with this process and wonder what anyone’s thoughts are. This means I mix, stretch and fold only one day a week, which really fits into my schedule.