The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A Study of Gluten Development

ehanner's picture

A Study of Gluten Development

Just recently, Mariana-Aga, a fellow baker who I have great respect for and who is an occasional poster here, presented a very interesting paper with extensive photos on the development of gluten. For the purposes of her research and documentation she used a food processor to mix and develop, then over develop the dough. All of the various stages are carefully documented and you can see the tell tale signs of the dough being over worked and ruined.

 This experiment shows what over kneading will do to your dough. It is also possible to over develop your dough by simply over fermenting it, either at room temperature or in the refrigerator. We have all had a dough turn slack and sticky from not being attended to in the proper time.In fact unless you use a food processor, it is very hard to mechanically over develop or over mix your dough at home. The mixers most home bakers use are not capable of over mixing unless you take a long nap while mixing.

If you don't learn anything more from this great post other than to finally know that there is no fixing it if you get in this situation. I have tried adding more flour to the extreme, and it never works. You may as well resign yourself that this will never be right and toss it in the compost.

If you have seen this, you know what I'm talking about!

And finally, I learned a nice trick for cleaning that unbelievably sticky gooey dough mess from my bowls and hands. This alone is reason enough to visit this very informative blog post by Mariana.. I hope some of you find it as interesting as I have.


PS: This page is written in Russian. Google Translate had no trouble translating to English.


plevee's picture

I can't find a 'translate' button on the site. How do you get Google to translate the whole page?  Patsy

SylviaH's picture

I would love to learn how to do GT, too!  Sylvia

ehanner's picture

Start by going to the Look for the "More" link at the top of the page and click it. Click Translate on the drop down list which will open a page with a text box.

Paste the URL in my link into the text box and select Russian and the language you would like to read in and then the "Translate" button.

I have my browser set up to always translate to English but that's another day.


ZD's picture


plevee's picture

Thank you, both.  Patsy

jennyloh's picture

Eric - that's an interesting post. mrfrost - thank you for the translation link.

In fact,  I've been giving some thoughts about gluten development,  and wonder if I had not knead enough.  I walk into starbuck for breakfast,  and they usually serve a kind of bread that's very light,  well developed gluten, stretched and yet linked.  I always wonder why I don't get that.  After reading this posts, I'm quite convinced that I didn't knead enough. I've always use hand, and never knew when to stop.  Tried a few times the window pane test, but never seem to get there at all. So,  when my hands are tired,  and I feel I've given a good massage to the dough, that's when I stopped.   I believe I have gotten it right on the 1st rising and proofing part so far.   I got to try to knead a little longer and see if I get that well spread out gluten that I see in many bread.  Is my analysis correct?

LindyD's picture

Thanks, Eric, for that link and the info.

While my bread's never gotten to that slimy stage, my levain has.  Always recovered after the next feeding, but at least now I know what to call it:  overfermentation.