autolyse methodgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Bread.com FAQ : One Thread
Who developed the process of the autolyse method?
-- Anonymous, January 28, 2001
This "method" is somewhat of a misnomer, at least in the term it is used. The term autolyse is one indicating the breakdown of cellular tissue by self produced enzymes. This does happen in some breadmaking, but it is not just a rest, it is a molecular breakdown of starch into sugar, and organic acids which improve flavor, texture, bake, etc.
Here is what happen during a rest after a brisk mix.
Yeast produces CO2, Alcohol, and Glutamathione which relaxes the dough and gives it more elasticity, and allows it to absorb surface water, making the dough less sticky. During this time the gluten, which is comprised of two different proteins, begins to repair and pull together, which also makes the product easier to work with. If you are working with a Diastatic(enzyme active) grain or flour (most hopefully) then the enzymes will be dispersed throughout the product. These are the Alpha and Beta Amylase from which the term autolyse actually pertains to. These "self inflicted" enzymes begin the work of Dextrinization, or turning starches into sugars. This has the effect of softening the crumb, improving shelf life, improving flavor in some circumstances, and many other less tangible qualities. It will not make a sourdough, as I have heard stated. This would negate the term autolyse, as sour comes from an outside biological source, namely bacteria with an arsenal of other enzymes.
To answer your question without giving you the full answer would be like telling you that France is East of here without telling that there is an ocean between here and there.
The act of resting bread more than likely came of trial and error when someone deviated from the formula and let the bread rest longer, or stored some extra dough overnight to find it had better quality and taste after the rest period. This is the inherent nature of invention.
The act of autolysis came about as the digestive enzymes of the first bacterium would continue to work even after the death of the organism. This is the inherent nature of Darwin's law.
-- Anonymous, January 30, 2001