Autolyse is a term that is commonly used in the culinary world, particularly in baking. It is a process that involves mixing flour and water together and allowing the mixture to rest for a period of time before adding any other ingredients. This process is said to improve the texture and flavor of the final product, and is often used in the preparation of breads, pastries, and other baked goods.
Autolyse is defined as a process in which flour is mixed with water and allowed to rest for a period of time, typically 20-30 minutes, before other ingredients are added. During this time, enzymes in the flour break down the starches and proteins, which can improve the texture and flavor of the final product.
The term autolyse comes from the Greek words “auto” meaning self and “lysis” meaning breakdown or dissolution. The process was first introduced to the baking world by French baker Raymond Calvel in the 1970s, and has since become a popular technique among bakers and pastry chefs.
Meaning in different dictionaries
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, autolyse is defined as “a process of mixing flour and water and allowing the mixture to rest for a period of time before adding other ingredients, in order to improve the texture and flavor of the final product.”
The Oxford English Dictionary defines autolyse as “a technique used in baking, in which flour and water are mixed together and allowed to rest before other ingredients are added, in order to improve the texture and flavor of the final product.”
Autolyse is often associated with the preparation of artisanal breads, which require a longer fermentation process and a more hands-on approach to baking. It is also commonly used in the preparation of croissants and other laminated pastries, which require a delicate balance of ingredients and a precise technique to achieve the desired texture and flavor.
There are no direct synonyms for autolyse, but the process is sometimes referred to as “resting the dough” or “letting the dough hydrate.”
The opposite of autolyse would be to simply mix all of the ingredients together at once and begin the baking process immediately, without allowing the flour and water to rest and hydrate.
The same root words
The root words of autolyse are “auto” meaning self and “lysis” meaning breakdown or dissolution. These words are also found in other scientific and medical terms, such as autolysis (the breakdown of cells by their own enzymes) and autonomic (relating to the involuntary actions of the body).
- Before adding the yeast and other ingredients, it’s important to let the flour and water autolyse for at least 20 minutes.
- The autolyse process helps to develop the gluten in the dough, resulting in a better texture and crumb structure in the final product.
- Some bakers prefer to autolyse their dough overnight, allowing for a longer fermentation period and a more complex flavor profile.