Today's lesson is all about extended room-temperature autolyse rests
(Snappy title, don't you think?).
The method is something I stumbled upon purely by chance and I don't know,
and, frankly, can't be bothered to find out where, if anywhere, this
technique has been or is being used so please don't tell me that Marcel
Topinambour makes this bread in his Boulangerie in Tours where it's called
This technique does not reduce the elapsed time required to make a bread,
it just reduces the effort and baker's time input during the making.
A few weeks ago I was making a batch of my standard, light, soft(ish) crust
daily "workhorse" bread and had just roughly mixed the main dough, after a
short poolish, when I was called away by a friend's sudden illness. The
roughly mixed dough was just covered tightly on the way out and, by the
time we'd sorted out our friend's problems and driven home, it was 1 am and
I thought "Sod it, the bread can take its chances!", too tired even to put
the mix in the fridge, and went to bed. I got up next morning and found a
bubbly, sour smelling, ooze which mixed relatively smoothly, certainly
smoother than I usually consider ready to go into Stretch 'n' Fold, with
elasticity already present, after just a half dozen strokes of the spoon.
So I just carried on as if I had mixed the dough for a few minutes, after a
normal, 20 minutes or so, autolyse rest, and the result was a superb,
light, elastic, holey crumb with a thin crust and more flavour than usual,
all of it good. More elasticity than usual as well which made the first,
tricky, Stretch 'n' Fold piss easy.
I've since run the bread 3 more times with excellent results.
I've posted the recipe separately but the method has obvious applications
for many high hydration doughs.