Professor Calvel was the father of the autolyse method and also gave it its name. The autolyse method should only include flour and water and possibly a natural leavain.
Professor Calvel is best know for his coming up with the concept of autolysis (autolyse).
In his book, The Taste of Bread, according to Professor Raymond Calvel, it is the combined effects of increased mixing speed and cumulative mixing time that brings on the phenomenon of dough oxidation. You need both. If the mixing speed is high, but th mixing time is short, the length of the time that the dough is in contact with atmospheric oxygen is short, so the oxidation for dough can be minimal or nonexistent.
Professor Calvel noted that a high level of oxidation is achieved whenever:
1) intensive mixing methods are used,
2) bean flour or other oxidizing additives are present,
3) salt addition is delayed until late in the mixing process, and
4) a large portion of the dough is continually in contact with atmospheric oxygen
Professor Calvel believed that the practices above resulted in an artificial maturation of the dough. Professor Calvel didn’t like the French bakers that used those methods.
Negative side effects of such practices included a bleaching of the dough and destruction of carotenoids, with a resulting bleaching of the crumb and a "lessening and general deterioration of the taste of the bread." Prof. Calvel noted that the "delicate flavors of the flour's caretenoid pigments are lost through oxidation." Elsewhere, he described the carotenoids as "flavor carriers". So, clearly, he did not favor overoxidation of the dough.
Professor Calvel also discussed the relationship between pH, residual sugar and oven spring. These are the important quotes from his book: in the final analysis the pH is related to the level of residual sugars present in the patons just before baking. These residual sugars are the remainder of those that fed dough fermentation, and they fulfill important functions during the baking process. The level at which they are present plays an important role in determining the extent of oven spring during the first moments of baking. They also contribute to the Maillard reaction and caramelization phenomenon that produce crust coloration.
The durations of the autolysis (autolyse) given in the dough formulations run from about 13-30 minutes, depending on the particular dough formulation. This however, that this range is for dough batches of up to about 75 pounds, not for any amount of dough.
To allow the dough to oxidize, even at the expense of damaging carotenoids. This was a practice that was used by French bakers starting in about 1958-1960 and that Prof. Calvel found reprehensible.
The Calvel autolyse was developed for use in breadmaking, but I believe as others do that the autolyse can also be used in pizza making.
Some people will put the yeast in with the flour and water, on the theory that it will not activate and start to do its job during the period of the autolyse. Originally, the yeast was left out of the autolyse to prevent it from acidifying the dough. If the dough temperature is kept on the cool side, it probably will be okay to add the yeast to the water and flour during the autolyse.
But, even with the croissant dough, the yeast and salt (and ascorbic acid) are added after the autolyse rest period.
I have tried several experiments so far using Professor Calvel’s method, but right now I don’t have any conclusions.
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