Author Topic: What is the Window Pane Test?  (Read 18728 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline petef

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 540
  • Location: New Jersey
What is the Window Pane Test?
« on: August 27, 2008, 02:21:34 AM »
I searched and found many referecnes to the dough "Window Pane Test" but I can't seem to
find a clear instruction of how to perform the test. It's not in the Pizza Glossary either.

What is the Window Pane Test and how is performed?

---pete---


Offline Pizza_Not_War

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 388
  • Location: Portland OR
Re: What is the Window Pane Test?
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2008, 10:26:45 AM »
a good explanation can be found here: http://www.sourdoughhome.com/bakingintro3.html


PNW

Offline petef

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 540
  • Location: New Jersey
Re: What is the Window Pane Test?
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2008, 12:31:15 PM »
a good explanation can be found here: http://www.sourdoughhome.com/bakingintro3.html


Thanks you.
Below is an excerpt  from link above that describes the Window Pane test.

Once the dough is springy and lively, it's time for what bakers call "the windowpane test". Start by pulling off a piece of dough about the size of a walnut. Roll it between your hands for a few seconds to smooth the damage done when you pulled the dough away from the larger chunk of dough. Now, using both hands, pull the dough between your hands. The idea is to tease the dough into a sheet or film. From time to time, rotate the dough 90 degrees so you will be pulling on different sides. As you pull on the dough, it should form a sheet, or film, that is thin enough that light can pass through it. No, you won't be able to see things through it, like you could with a real window. The dough shouldn't tear when you do this.

If you can form a window pane, the dough is fully developed


Offline Bill/SFNM

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4036
  • Location: Santa Fe, NM
Re: What is the Window Pane Test?
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2008, 01:48:30 PM »
The window-pane test is just an indication that the amount of gluten formed is sufficient to stretch a piece of dough into a sheet without tearing. It is a convenient measure since it is easy to do. This isn't necessarily a meaningful sign that the dough is at it's optimum. There are some doughs (pizza) which I stop kneading before it window-panes and other breads (baguettes) that I knead long past that stage. It's kind of like the instructions that say to allow the dough to double in volume. Convenient to measure, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it will produce the best bread at that exact point.

Bill/SFNM

 

Offline petef

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 540
  • Location: New Jersey
Re: What is the Window Pane Test?
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2008, 09:14:49 PM »
Good explanation, Bill. So it' useful as a reference point where one might
say they knead to some point before or after the point of "Window Pane".

Thanks.

---pete---


Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21194
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: What is the Window Pane Test?
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2008, 08:32:18 AM »
petef,

As you may have noted from your forum searches, there are some professionals, such as Tom Lehmann and Evelyne Slomon, who draw a distinction between the use of the windowpane (or gluten window) test for dough that is to be used to make bread dough as opposed to pizza dough (just as Bill/SFNM noted). Both Tom and Evelyne advocate not using the windowpane or gluten window test for dough at the dough preparation stage, but rather at the point where the dough is to be shaped and formed into a skin on the bench.

For a long time, I used the windowpane test at the dough formation stage. I gave it up, but even then somewhat begrudgingly, after having an email exchange with Tom Lehmann in which he advised me as follows:

Peter;
Forget about the "window" test. That is appropriate for making breads, but not pizza dough. For pizza dough you just want to mix the dough long enough to get a smooth appearance to the dough, no longer. If you want, you can take a piece of the dough just before you shape and dress it and stretch it out in your fingers and you will be amazed at how thin you can stretch the dough. This is due to biochemical gluten development. This is what allowed bakers to make breads and pizzas way before Mr. Hobart created his first patentable invention.


If you click on the icon next to the search box on any page of the forum and use keywords like "windowpane test" or "gluten window test" (without quotes) in the advanced search box, you will find more information on this subject than you will care to read.

Peter


Offline petef

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 540
  • Location: New Jersey
Re: What is the Window Pane Test?
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2008, 10:02:35 AM »
Pete-zaa, thanks for the additional info. This thread should now serve well if anyone else
has questions about the Window Pane Test in the future.

Quote
Forget about the "window" test. That is appropriate for making breads, but not pizza dough. For pizza dough you just want to mix the dough long enough to get a smooth appearance to the dough, no longer.

Ok, he says no longer, but what happens if you do mix or knead the
dough past the point where it has the smooth appearance?

---pete---

Offline David

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 966
  • What’s So Funny ‘Bout Pizza Love and Understanding
Re: What is the Window Pane Test?
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2008, 10:23:00 AM »
http://www.pizzatube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=086079795c442636b55f

Here's TL showing the method he uses to check the mixing point of his dough.
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21194
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: What is the Window Pane Test?
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2008, 01:59:08 PM »
petef,

I have recently become more cautious about recommending Tom Lehmann's advice to home pizza makers on his test of the dough in the mixer (as shown in the video referenced by David) because a commercial mixer does a much better job kneading the dough than a standard home stand mixer such as a KitchenAid, and especially one that uses a C-hook. My concern is that people will overknead trying to get the proper dough condition, or try to compensate by making flour and water adjustments in the bowl that turn out not to be warranted. If one can adapt Tom Lehmann's dough test to get the desired dough condition in a home setting, then it would be appropriate to use it. I sometimes use it just for test purposes but I don't agonize over trying to the same dough condition as a commercial mixer will produce. If I am going to err, I would rather that it be on the side of undermixing.

One of the biggest dangers in overmixing a dough, whether in a commercial mixer or a home stand mixer and whether the overmixing occurs because of a long knead time and/or use of high mixer speeds, is that the dough can become tough and dense. That can lead to a dough that is too elastic and hard to shape and form into a skin, and it can be prone to tearing and ripping. The finished crust and crumb may also end up being tight with a lot of small cells of pretty much like size, and also lack an open and airy character.

Peter

Offline petef

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 540
  • Location: New Jersey
Re: What is the Window Pane Test?
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2008, 03:37:57 PM »
Pete-zaa,
I don't use a mixer and always mix & knead by hand so I have a good feel for how my dough
is now. At least now I can try the Window Pane Test as an indicator to see if I've been
kneading too much. I'd like to decrease the elasticity of my dough a bit and have it less
dense, so if I find that it passes the Window Pane Test, I'll know that I've been kneading
too much.

Thanks everyone for your info. This Window Pane Test is just another little
thing I can add to my bag of pizza making tricks. :)

---pete---




Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 21194
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: What is the Window Pane Test?
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2008, 04:11:08 PM »
petef,

If you are kneading by hand, I would say that it is unlikely that you will overknead the dough. And, if you are using say, high-gluten flour, it is even less likely.

Peter


 

pizzapan