The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dough temperature and windowpane test question

DrPr's picture

Dough temperature and windowpane test question

I have read that when you knead dough, it should reach about 78* and should pass the windowpane test.  My problem is, if it's hot out, my dough will be 84*F and still not pass the windowpane test.  How important is temperature monitoring when kneading by hand, and how are temperature and the windowpane test related?  What I'm really asking, I guess, is what negative effect would occur by stopping kneading once the dough has surpassed 84* without passing the windpowpane test.  And also, what would be the effect of passing the windowpane test if the dough hasn't reached 78*.

(By the way, please bear with me on the 78* thing. I'm not wedded to it; I just want to learn the importance of dough temperature as an indicator of over/underkneading, and its relationship to the vaunted windowpane test). 



SulaBlue's picture

You can achieve a dough that is closer to 78F by using the "Rule of 240" and adjusting the temperature of the water you add to your dough to compensate.

You want to make sure that you get your gluten formed, regardless of the end temperature of your dough, however. If you stop before it passes the windowpane test, your gluten may not be strong enough to trap air during rising. Overkneading it once you've reached the right texture just to get it to the right temperature can result in a tough bread, or kneading so much that your dough tears.

The temperature of your dough effects how fast or slow it will rise. If your dough is warmer than recommended it will rise faster, colder and it will rise slower.

deblacksmith's picture

This time of year in Western North Carolina I am dealing with somewhat warms temperatures.  Most everything going into my bread is already in the mid 70's.  Then I am using a mixer (in this case a Bosch) so I find I need to use ice water when I make my dough.  In most cases around 34 to 36 F.  My pre-ferment is at room temperature, as is my flour, fat, etc. and the only thing I can control with ease is the water temperature.  This time of year I find ice water works well.

I think one of the great "miss directions" in most recipes is to add warm water.  Maybe in winter up north -- but here I would say never.