The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

The windowpane test

Baker007's picture

The windowpane test

Hi Everyone,

This is my first post, Hi!

I've been baking regularly for around the last 3 months, mainly sourdough, without recipes. When I say without recipes I mean I've been adding starter, flour, salt and water until it felt "right", suprisingly, I've been pretty happy with my results so far.

I've recently bought Peter Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" and yesterday started a batch of the basic sourdough bread.

So my problem is, after 30 minutes of solid kneading I still don't believe my dough would pass the windowpane test. The dough is pretty elastic but does start to tear a bit when I'm testing it.

I'm interested in reading about your kneading techniques and how long it takes you to develop the gluten sufficiently, particularly when you were a beginner.

I'm using unbleached organic white flour, I'm in Australia so won't bother with the brand and to be honest I'm not sure if it is high gluten or not. I'll remember to check the label next time!

Thanks - Lauren

josordoni's picture

Lauren, I have never kneaded my bread - I read and read and read on here whilst I was waiting for my first sourdough starter to mature, and so I started right in with autolysing  followed by  the folding technique used by a lot of people on here - lots of videos to show you how to do it too.  I have never checked for a windowpane effect, I just go on the silkiness of the dough and the structure I can feel in it as I fold it.

Recently, I have tried out the fold in the bowl technique explained by Jane (janedo) and David Snyder - have a look at the various Pain de Campagne blog entries.  This is good with wetter doughs, but I still prefer the folding method as I think you get better gluten development.


shimpiphany's picture

i agree with the above poster - give it some time before you knead, if you knead at all.

i love reinhart's books, but this recipe from the carl griffith page is still my favorite way to make sourdough:

it involves a long ferment with a few folds, and a surprisingly small amount of starter.  check it out.