Autolyse is a term for bread baking technique of mixing the flour and water together and leaving it to rest before adding the other ingredients, such as yeast and salt. This simple technique is said to improve the structure of the bread as well as to make mixing and kneading easier.
Professor Raymond Calvel, a research chemist and a baking expert introduced the technique in his highly acclaimed book ‘Le Gout du Pain’, which was later published, in 2001, in English as ‘The Taste of Bread’.
Among other people, Calvel taught bread making to Julia Child.
Try the BakeryBits website for more info about Professor Raymond Calvel and his autolysing technique.