Autolyse Pizza Dough

To achieve the perfect pizza crust, you need to start with good dough. One technique that can greatly improve your pizza dough is called autolyse (pronounced “auto-lees”).

This method involves mixing flour and water and allowing it to rest before adding yeast or any other ingredients. In this article, we will also provide a simple autolyse pizza dough recipe for you to try at home. Let’s get started!

The History Of The Autolyse

The autolyse technique was first introduced by French baking expert Professor Raymond Calvel in the 1970s. He discovered that by allowing flour and water to rest together before adding yeast or any other ingredients, the dough had better texture, flavor, and overall quality. 

Autolyse is commonly used in traditional French bread making and has since gained popularity among pizza makers as well. It has been adapted and modified by various chefs and bakers to fit different dough recipes.

Nowadays, autolyse is considered a basic technique in bread and pizza making. It is widely used by professional pizza makers and home cooks alike to create the perfect pizza dough. 

What Is Autolyse?

The word “autolyse” comes from the French term “l’autolyse,” which means self-destruction. This may sound alarming, but in the context of pizza making, it refers to a process that improves the quality of your dough.

Autolyse is a technique commonly used in bread-making and has recently gained popularity among pizza makers as well. During autolyse, the flour and water are mixed and allowed to rest for some time.

This rest period allows the flour to fully hydrate, making it easier to develop gluten and improving the dough’s overall texture and flavor. Autolyse also helps to break down complex starches, making them more accessible to the yeast and resulting in a better rise.

The Reasons For Delaying The Other Ingredients

One of the main benefits of autolyse is that it allows for better gluten development. Gluten is a protein found in wheat flour that gives dough its elasticity and structure.

During autolyse, the flour absorbs water and begins to form gluten strands, which can then be easily developed during kneading. By delaying the addition of other ingredients, such as yeast, oil, and salt, the gluten can develop without interference.

Yeast, which is typically added first in traditional pizza dough recipes, can inhibit gluten development if added too early. By allowing the flour to hydrate and form gluten strands during autolyse, your dough will have a better texture and rise.

Oil, on the other hand, can also affect gluten development. Oil coats the flour particles, making it harder for them to absorb water and form gluten.

Salt can also interfere with gluten formation if added too early. By delaying the addition of these ingredients during autolyse, you can achieve a better overall texture in your pizza dough.

Ingredients To Autolyse Pizza Dough 

The basic ingredients for autolyse are flour and water. While you can use any type of flour, we recommend using high-quality bread flour or a combination of bread and all-purpose flour for the best results.

Flour contains enzymes that break down complex starches into simple sugars, which then feed the yeast during fermentation. By allowing these enzymes to do their job during autolyse, you can achieve a better rise and flavor in your dough.

Water is also an important component of autolyse. The amount of water used in the autolyse process can affect the final texture and hydration level of the dough. Generally, a ratio of 65% water to flour is recommended for pizza dough.

How To Autolyse?

The process of making autolyse is quite simple with just two main ingredients – flour and water:

Firstly, in a large mixing bowl, combine your flour and water using a wooden spoon or your hands until the flour is fully hydrated and there are no dry pockets. Place a moist kitchen towel or plastic wrap over the bowl and leave it to rest for 30 minutes – 8 hours at room temperature.

Secondly, after the rest period, you can continue with your pizza dough recipe as usual. However, keep in mind that autolyse may affect the amount of yeast, salt, and oil needed in your recipe so adjust accordingly to achieve the desired texture and flavor.

How Long To Autolyse Your Dough?

The rest period for autolyse can vary from 30 minutes to 8 hours, depending on your preference and schedule.  Longer rest periods can result in a more developed flavor and better texture, but be mindful of the dough’s temperature as it can over-ferment if left too long.

Autolyse Pizza Dough Recipe

autolyse pizza dough recipe

Autolyse pizza dough is not difficult for a home cook. Here is a basic pizza dough recipe using the autolyse technique for you to try at home:


– 500g bread flour (100%)

– 320ml warm water (65%)

– 7.5 g active dry yeast (1.5%)

– 2 tsp salt (2%)

– 2 tsp sugar (2%)

– 15 ml olive oil (3%)


1. Adjust enough water for your desired hydration level and add it to a large mixing bowl.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and water using a wooden spoon or your hands until fully hydrated.

3. Allow the bowl to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to 8 hours after covering it with food wrap or a moist kitchen towel.

4. After the autolyse process, add in the active dry yeast, salt, and olive oil to the mixture and knead until well combined and smooth.

5. Cover the dough and let it rise for an additional 2 hours before using it in your pizza recipe.

By allowing for an autolyse rest period, you can elevate the texture and flavor of your homemade pizza dough and create a deliciously crisp and chewy crust. Give this technique a try and see the difference it makes in your next homemade pizza!

Tips To Autolyse Your Dough

Here are some tips to keep in mind when using the autolyse technique for your pizza dough:

Firstly, make sure to use warm or room temperature water when preparing your autolyse. Cold water can slow down enzyme activity, resulting in a weaker dough.

Secondly, adjusting the amount of yeast, salt, and oil in your recipe after autolyse is crucial for creating the perfect pizza dough. Autolyse can change the dough’s hydration level and gluten structure, which means you might need to tweak traditional dough recipe ratios.

Thirdly, always use high-quality flour for better results. Cheaper flours often have lower protein content, which can affect gluten development and the overall texture of your dough.

Lastly, be patient and allow enough time for the autolyse process – longer rest periods will result in a better texture and flavor in your pizza dough. 

Mistakes Should Avoid When Autolysing Pizza Dough

While autolyse is a simple and effective technique, some common mistakes should be avoided to achieve the best results:

– Adding yeast, oil, or salt before the autolyse process

– Use cold water for your autolyse

– Not covering the autolyse bowl properly

By avoiding these mistakes and following the steps for autolyse correctly, you can create a delicious pizza dough with an improved texture and flavor. Experiment with different rest periods and ratios to find the perfect balance for your homemade pizza.


In conclusion, autolyse is a simple yet effective technique that can greatly improve the texture and flavor of your homemade pizza dough. By allowing the flour to hydrate and develop gluten strands, autolyse creates a more elastic and pliable dough that is easier to work with.

Experiment with different ratios and rest times to find the perfect balance for your own autolyse pizza dough recipe. And remember, be patient and allow enough time for the autolyse process to work its magic!

Leave a Comment