Autolyse is technique I’ve come to use when baking my sourdough bread. This is the process of mixing water and flour together before adding the rising agent. It is a process that allows the flour to absorb the moisture and start to break down the starch and sugars.
I normally mix the water and flour about 1-2 hours before I intend to add my leaven (and in this case, Poolish).
I have a Danish Dough Hook that I use to mix the water and flour. Once mixed I finish with a dough scraper to clean the sides of the bowl and incorporate the dry flour as best I can that is at the bottom of the bowl.
I’ll form a ball as best I can and cover with cling wrap to let rest for an hour or so.
This process allows the moisture to be absorbed into the flour and begins starts making the food for the microbes to feed on readily.
Both my flour and water are at room temperature (normally 74°F in my kitchen).
The bowl is left to sit until it is time to mix in the leaven to begin its bulk ferment.
More on that in my next post…