The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Windowpane test

sdionnemoore's picture
sdionnemoore

Windowpane test

I have made a few of the recipes in PR's BBA book. Tonight, as I was mixing for the Anadama bread, I had a problem with the dough being too wet. So during knead time I was forced to add probably a cup of flour, little by little, in order to get something akin to the dough he describes. But when I go to do the windowpane test, the dough, as it has once before, kind of rips and tears apart. It's not smooth and thin and light, like I've seen in videos of the windowpane method.

 

Does this mean I am not kneading enough? Should I wait and get the dough as close to workable before starting knead time? And why am I having to add so much extra flour anyway? I did make a few changes. *gulp* I used regular cornmeal instead of coarse and had to use 4 T honey because I ran out of molasses. The only other thing I did differently was to use a mix, about half and half, of bread flour and white whole Wheat, instead of the all bread flour he suggests. Did those changes have huge impact on the dough consistency? 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I've found that Reinhart's measurements of ingredients are reliable. His mixing times are not. They tend to be short, compared to what I need with my mixer. After many experiences much like the one you described, I began mixing longer- until the dough was "right" -  and avoiding adding more flour. My breads improved enormously.

Parenthetically, this is in contrast to Leader in "Local Breads," whose ingredient weights are incorrect in several formulas but whose mixing times seem pretty spot on.

David

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Well said, David.

--Pamela

sdionnemoore's picture
sdionnemoore

when a dough is "right." I thought the windowpane test proved when a dough was right. I'm assuming that the tearing means the dough hasn't been kneaded long enough. . . ? *baby steps* Which means I need to knead longer, until the dough will pass the window pane test. . .??

sdionnemoore's picture
sdionnemoore

It turned out perfect. Well, perfect for me. It is wonderfully light and pillowy soft. I added sesame seeds to the top of one loaf, cornmeal to the other. Love the sesame seeds. I'd post a pic but my camera batteries are dead. I'm so excited though that the bread turned out.

I also tried PR BBA pizza crust. I'll use a rolling pin next time though, when I picked it up to stretch it, it stretched really thin in the middle (talk about a dough that would pass the windowpane test!) and ended up being too thick on the edges. I'll know next time and use the pin to make it more consistent. So much for learning to sling dough like they do at pizza parlors. :)