The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pulling a window pane

hansjoakim's picture

Pulling a window pane

xaipete's picture

Great video, Hans. It should be very helpful to many that have had difficulty with this technique.


dmsnyder's picture

This is from Jeff Verrazano's pizza web site.


SylviaH's picture

What a great add display!

Nomadcruiser53's picture

Now that's a thin crust pizza. Dave

gcook17's picture

It looks like the King Arthur video and the picture from the pizza web site are showing the window that you get with an "intensive" mix.  It is very uniform and as she said like a rubber glove.  The intensive mix is good for short fermentation times but for longer fermentation times as well as more color and flavor an "improved" mix might be better.  The window for an improved mix is still thin and translucent but isn't as uniform.  You can see more "veins" and somewhat thicker sections.  It definitely is not as uniform as a thin rubber glove.  Improved mix is good for longer fermentation times because the gluten will continuie to develop during fermentation.  --from Suas, ABAP

A helpful hint on pulling a window with wet, sticky dough is to wet you fingers first so it's easier to handle the dough. Also if you work the dough sample too much you can further develop the gluten and the sample won't represent what is in the mixer bowl.

xaipete's picture

Good point about the pane being an "improved mix".


Janknitz's picture

This is somewhat rhetorical, but:  Is it always desirable to have a fully-developed window pane in the first knead of the dough? 

It seems to me that the dough develops over time, and--depending on the formula--even if it doesn't pass that window pane test during the first knead, it may be kneaded enough for that early stage of fermentation. 

The mistake many of us newbies make, I think, is expecting everything to "pass the windowpane test" on the first knead.  It's much more subtle than that and it helps if the recipe writer/formula developer is very clear in the directions. 

 If one is always striving to "pass" the windowpane test on the first go round, seems to me you could have some over-developed dough for certain types of breads.  I find the windowpane test described that way too black and white, and too frustrating because it's hard to acheive in some formulas on the first knead. 

But how do you know how much development is desireable in that first knead for each particular formula? 

I love when people like Susan of Wild Yeast give you a clear direction--i.e. "knead until a there is a moderate level of gluten development" and she shows (on her blog) exactly what the windowpane looks like for a moderate level of gluten development.  Not everyone is so clear, however.

Rose Levy Beranbaum's formulas describe the overall dough texture at the end of that first knead, rather than using the windowpane test, and I find that  easy to understand, too. 

xaipete's picture

There are three different stages of window pane: short mix, improved mix, and intensive mix. The desired stage of your initial mix depends on your treatment of the bread, e.g., bulk fermentation process, etc.

At least this is how I understand it.


plevee's picture

I agree with Janknitz. When I started to make bread I used Dan Lepard's intermittent minimal kneading technique - I think it is basically a prolonged autolyse with folds. I doubt any of his doughs would form a windowpane, but they certainly make very good breads.


bobku's picture

Do you think that windowpane test would look the same for bagel dough? I Usaully just flatten and pull and stretch it until I can start to see thru it. I never was able to get a windowpane don't know if it was the way I was stretching it or expecting to much. But lately I can start to see it even with the bagel dough.