The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

No success mixing

AramS's picture

No success mixing

Bread experts,

I seem to not mix well. I've tried a few artisan breads (Hamelman and Reinhart), and two of Reinhart's pizzas: New York, and Neopolitan.

Here's the thing. Neopolitan dough was very good, using either KA AP flour or Italian 00. No problem getting windowpanes, crust was very good. But with breads (French, also Ciabatta, using AP flour, bread flour, I've tried both) and NY pizza, I never get that window pane. And while some end products were ok, it seems that both flavor and hole structure could be better. And I *never* get window panes. I've broken this down, stopped at various times during mixing to check, and while the consistency gets more and more resilient and stretchy, it never gets all the way to the window pane stage. Reinhart is clear that it should. NY crust came out ok-ish, but tore readily while spinning.

I weigh ingredients (sometimes I add extra water), knead in KA Artisan or by hand, follow directions to the letter as far as I know.

You'll ask what's the longest I've kneaded, and I'm not sure --- 5 minutes, test, 2 more, test, 2 more, repeat a couple more times. Somewhere around there. I've tried letting it rest, then knead. Not getting there. I tried autolysing once - nope.

It can't be this hard, right? Any ideas welcome. It just doesn't seem like it should be such a big deal. Thanks in advance. Back to the Sharks game!


LindyD's picture

Not sure which Reinhart book you're using, but since you mentioned you are using Hamelman as well, read page eight of Bread where he points out that if the window is totally clear and the gluten completely developed when the dough comes out of the mixer, then it's been overmixed. 

On the rare occasions when I do pull a window (after the autolyse and initial mix), I'm satisfied with moderate gluten development because I know subsequent stretch/folds during the bulk fermentation will further develop the gluten.  Tugging on the dough also can tell you a lot about its development.

You didn't note whether you are doing any stretch and folds during the bulk fermentation.  If so, you could always check after the S&Fs.

If you put "windowpane" in the TFL search bar, you'll find lots of threads on the topic - including some opinions that the  process is overrated.