The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

When does the window pane test hold?

Bill Pass's picture
Bill Pass

When does the window pane test hold?


I'm new to bread making and have been trying to understand some of the theory.
I would be interested in peoples advice about when (for which style of breads, hydration levels, flour types, ...) you should be aiming to have dough that passes the window pane test.

In terms of hydration levels, should it be possible to develop dough that passes the window pane test for a range of hydrations, does the range have an upper and lower limit for a given flour?

In terms of bread style, I understand that for croissants you should not be aiming to create a dough that passes the window pane test. Why not?

Kind regards,

proth5's picture

This test shows the amount of gluten development in the dough.

There are subtleties to dough development that I am unable to quantify, but I do know this:  Croissant dough should be somewhat under developed.  That is because the rolling and folding of the dough during the lamination process will continue to mechanically develop the gluten.  If it were fully developed at the beginning of the laminating process, the rolling and folding would be very difficult.

Hope this helps.

GSnyde's picture

The window pane test is useful for enriched sweet doughs like for cinnamon rolls, as well as lean doughs such as Pain de Campagne.  But I wouldn't try it for English Muffin Dough.


smeredith's picture

If you knead croissant dough too much, it becomes too elastic, which makes it impossible to roll out to the correct thickness. 

Bill Pass's picture
Bill Pass

Thank you all for your replies and thank you Daisy_A for taking so much time.

One of my concerns at the moment is that I'm not achieving the correct level of dough development, the right amount of surface tension in the dough before baking and the right of oven spring for the style of bread I'm baking. I'm finding that what ever I do, though the bread is nice, I'm ending up with the same type of bread every time.

I'm yet to find a good source which goes into details about different styles of bread and provide in-depth information about the look and feel of the dough at each stage. Daisy_A, you mentioned Hamelman, would you say Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman was a good book?

Along the same lines, I'm finding that what ever I do all my breads have the same flavour, even when trying pre-fermentation such as a poolish. I'm currently using supermarket bought flour and instant dried yeast but I'm about to try some fresh yeast. What would people say were the biggest contributor to flavour, the flour, the yeast, the dough development process (e.g. a poolish), the baking process (e.g. temperature, steam, time), etc?