The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Wet dough and the windowpane test.

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Blue Moose Baker's picture
Blue Moose Baker

Wet dough and the windowpane test.


I am looking for some advice from those more traversed in the bread baking world.  I am fairly new to bread baking, and I am unsure as to exactly how wet loaf pan breads are supposed to be.  I have been baking some recipes from Nick Malgieri's "How to Bake."  Although the loaves from the recipes have been turning out pretty well, I have not really been getting a windowpane after kneading with my electric mixer, I believe this is because the dough is fairly moist.  Am I just not kneading sufficiently?  I have followed all instructions for the recipes measuring all ingredients by the spoon and sweep method as recommended.  Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated!



althetrainer's picture

It's a controversial topic here.  I have seen wonderful breads made by strong believers as well as others who completely ignore the test.  I make a lot of sourdough bread and I don't use the window pane test too often, but my breads almost always turn out great.  If I make something new I probably will use the test as a guide.  To me, it's a good guide, but I don't have to use it every time I bake.  I guess the bottom line is, if you are happy with the outcomes of your bread then the test is not critical for you to make that particular type of bread.  As you bake more you will get to know your dough better and you will develop your preference.  Bread making is a wonderful thing so try different approaches and enjoy the experiment (and hopefully the results too).  Armed with a bit of sense of humor, you will never regret embarking on this journey.  Happy baking!

sewcial's picture

I had the same problem with I first tried some of the recipes in the recommended books. I had never kneaded dough fully by machine before and the recipes recommended machine kneading with the dough hook. After many failures (crumb was tough chewy, fairly close and yellowish to gray in color) with no really good windowpanes, I have finally realized that the real problem was that the dough hook on my Kitchen Aid was not doing its job. I would knead 3-4 times the suggested time and still not get the good cohesive dough with a windowpane. Now I have made a couple very wet dough breads (about 85-95% hydration. The secret ingredient was to use the paddle beater instead of the dough hook. It's amazing the difference it makes. 


Blue Moose Baker's picture
Blue Moose Baker

Thanks a lot for the thoughts!  I will try increasing kneading time with the dough hook and just see what I get.  If that doesn't prove better I will switch to the paddle.