February 20, 2019
There has been some excitement here as we get into stride for this year. We have planned the new group of courses, the 4-hour PANARY Experience, and in this
In case you were wondering, “autolyse” as the Baker’s Topic is the name of a type of preliminary mix that precedes dough making.
- Sat 16th — 1 Day Pizza & Italian
- Sat 23rd — 2 Day French – with Sourdough
- Fri 29th — 3 Day Going Professional
- Sat 6th — 1 Day Sweet Doughs (Easter)
- Sat 13th — 1 Day Basic British
- Mon 29th — 4 Day “PANARY In Provence”
New courses – the PANARY 4-hour Experience
In a matter of hours, you will learn how to make bread with an unforgettable crust, flavour, and aroma – just the thing you would want to share with your family and friends.
- 4-hour experience, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Fee per person – £95
- Maximum number of students on an Experience – 6
- These new courses are suitable for families
- Course notes and recipes will arrive electronically when you book on
You will learn:
- How to make good dough, recognising properly developed
- The importance of temperature coupled with the right amount of yeast
- Hand skills for handling and shaping dough
- udgement of proof, and correct baking
The first three Experiences are ready to go, and soon will be on the website, with bookings going through our newly created shop.
White Bread Experience
In this experience on Saturday 25th May teaches about quality white dough-making, and how to make and bake different classic shapes: tin, cob, stick, plait, and more!
In this experience on Saturday, June 8 you will learn about the ripe sponge that is incorporated in this soft and lively dough; gain skills for handling these remarkable flatbreads; select an array of flavoursome toppings to be placed on your focaccia as it heads for the oven.
British Bread Experience
For this experience on Saturday 22nd June, Students make two doughs. The Malt Star dough is known as “granary”, which is popular throughout the British Isles. With the white dough you will make the English classic known as the “cottage loaf”, where a ball is placed atop a round base.
Join me in a traditional Dorset watermill, and place yourself in the hands of a master craftsman to enjoy this PANARY Experience. Bookings open soon!
Other planned Experiences are:
- The Croissant Experience
- The Bagel & Pretzel Experience
- The Pizza Experience
- The Baguette Experience
- The Ciabatta Experience
PANARY in PROVENCE, April 29 – May 4
There is still one place left!
Buy Our Bread
Autolyse (preferred by British bakers) or autolysis (the more widely used scientific term that refers to the self-digestion of a cell by its own enzymes) was a discovery by Professor Raymond Calvel in the early ’70’s. He was the great French baker who, seeing how badly French bread needed rescuing from mediocrity, went off to study sciences and ended up as an academic bread consultant and author. His most famous book, The Taste of Bread, is like a manual for bakers, and was translated into English by James MacGuire, who is a chef and baker in Montreal, Canada. Sadly, Prof. Calvel did not include autolyse as a topic in his book, but MacGuire added a short summary of it as an adjunct to the chapter on dough mixing.
With autolyse method there is a slow-speed mixing of only the flour and water in a recipe, followed by a rest period. After the rest, the other components of the dough – salt and yeast – are added when mixing is resumed. The rest period can be anything from twenty minutes to several hours, with 30-60 minutes being the most common rest employed by working bakers. Prof Calvel noticed that during the rest period the dough gains remarkable extensibility, and what has happened is extremely simple: given time the water thoroughly penetrates each particle of flour, enabling good links to be formed between starch, gluten, and water. The salt is left out because as a gluten tightener it will inhibit the slow and thorough forming of the gluten during the autolyse, and yeast is omitted for the similar reason that yeast activity (fermentation) immediately starts producing acidic by-products that also toughen gluten strands. In this context strength is not to be confused with extensibility. On this point you can see how autolyse greatly benefits the making of excellent wheaten sourdough bread: the autolyse sets up advanced extensibility, which can cope with the effect of the acids in the leaven that will tend to curtail extensibility. On my Thursday commercial baking day a huge autolyse is made first thing with stoneground white. An hour later the bulk of it makes the wheaten sourdough, while the rest is given a further rest before making the day’s white dough.
The physical stretchiness of the dough after a half-hour rest is astonishing to feel. When mixing starts again to add yeast (or leaven for sourdough) and salt, the final dough is formed more quickly than if it had all been put together as scratch dough. Expensive machine mixing time is saved, and there is less oxidation of the dough. It was Prof Calvel who single-handedly railed against over-mixing with its inherent oxidation that bleached the carotene from the flour, causing loss of flavour, loss of subtle creamy colour, and made such characterless bread.
The benefits of autolyse are better quality dough all round. With the enhanced gluten comes improved dough structure, better volume to the finished loaf with a creamier and more open crumb. All this even with a shorter span of kneading time.
It has been thought that use of wet sponges (like poolish) and wet leavens for sourdough bread do not allow the autolyse method because so much of the recipe’s water is claimed by a poolish or a wet leaven. It is true that the autolyse cannot be performed properly with a shortage of water, which would run the risk of tough pellets of unmixed floury dough remaining in the finished bread. However, since both a poolish sponge and a sourdough leaven have moderate amounts of yeast in them, experienced bakers consider it is valid to include them in an autolyse.
Well, Panarians, try an autolyse next time you make dough, and see and feel for yourself how astonishingly stretchy the dough becomes after a decent rest.
Good baking, Paul