The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Achieving Windowpane Test--Reinhart's Whole Wheat Cinna Raisin

ReBexTrout's picture

Achieving Windowpane Test--Reinhart's Whole Wheat Cinna Raisin

I have made Peter Reinhart's recipe for Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread in the Whole Grain Breads book twice now, measuring by weight.

Both times I have had trouble with the stickiness of the dough, but I carry on kneading with a little oil on the table. I have not yet been able to achieve the windowpane test for the final dough, even after 20 or more minutes of kneading. I also let the dough rest for a few hours in between attempting to knead it further (hoping it just needed to relax) with no better success.

The particular whole wheat flour I am using has been used successfully in making several lean sourdough loaves. So I am wondering if one of the enriching ingredients may be inhibiting my ability to develop the gluten.

The recipe includes:

- A soaker of raisins, whole wheat flour, salt, milk (overnight autolyse)
- A biga of whole wheat, melted butter, milk, egg, instant yeast (overnight autolyse)
- Then the final dough adds a little flour, cinnamon, honey, and the remainder of the instant yeast.

This bread has a delicious flavor, but of course it's not really bread. It ends up having the texture of a really doughy cookie batter.

Any thoughts?

WoodenSpoon's picture

I think the windowpane test is a pretty useful for getting an idea of gluten development in standard lean breads, but in something as enriched as yours sounds like it is I would be surprised if the test would be of much use to you, or even if that level of gluten development would be desirable for a bread like this. Does ole petey boy tell ya to shoot for a windowpane?

ReBexTrout's picture

He does. And within just a few minutes. He instructs once the final dough is mixed to knead about 5 minutes. Then rest and knead another 1-2.

Instead, my dough was tearing at every turn and never reached any point when it looked like it was even improving in extensibility. So I tried leaving it to ferment, hoping it would relax and be able to be coaxed into it.

I wouldn't care not reaching the windowpane if my final dough turned out well. Unfortunately I am getting a crumbly and dense mess as a result.

I am thinking about leaving the raisins out of the soaker. Maybe they take the dough over the edge on hydration. Either that or cutting down the egg.

MisterTT's picture

the formula you are attempting, but really the instructions on WGB could use some work -- there's some breads in there that I could never achieve windowpane with, but the end result was good. Getting the windowpane with all whole grain flour dough is possible, but it won't be near as strong as with a predominantly white dough.

Maybe you soak the raisins before putting them into the soaker? That is not intended. If anything, dry raisins should steal moisture from the loaf, not add to it. So maybe the issue is too little hydration? I think the right idea is to try it without the raisins and see how it turns out.