Let me preface this by saying that I love to cook, I have made all sorts of exquisite foods for thousands of people over the years and take great pride in my ability to craft food. However, baking is a different story, I absolutely love to make pizza but I have never figured out how to get good gluten development in my dough, not now, not ever. I have made all kinds of dough, from baguette dough to Italian bread to many different types of pizza dough and I have never seen any sort of gluten develop in my dough. I have tried AP and bread flours from GM, KA and numerous store brands and I still swear I have never seen that magical thing called gluten in my dough.
At first, I was doing things by hand, my dough would turn to a stiff mass and refuse to stretch out, just stay as firm ball that tore as soon as you began to knead, I tired very quickly of hand kneading because it never did what it promised...develop gluten. Then I tried no knead dough recipes, (what could be better right?) people just mix their ingredients and let them sit in a bowl, then finish off with some more flour and whalah! Perfect gluten! What happened to my dough? Nothing, no gluten developed, the dough would simply tear to uneven shreds just like my attempts at hand kneading. I tried numerous recipes for no knead mind you, none of them worked. Hours I have spent with these type of recipes, letting it autolyse, mix, knead, rest, autolyse, mix knead rest...nothing, no gluten...ever. Sure I would get little bits of gluten but nothing anything close to like beautiful smooth sheets of stretchy dough that can be tossed and stretched in countless ways.
Then I tried a kitchenaid, surely that would work right? I simply follow the recipe like a formula and the machine takes over my human error. However, after trying dozens of recipes on many more occasions, I have still yet to see a bakers windowpane from my dough. I looked for reasons and for solace, some people said that they never see windowpanes and not to worry about it, I tried to, but pizza dough just doesn't toss, stretch or form properly without a windowpane. Then I learned that the kitchenaid is a poor kneader of dough, the dough just works its way up the hook and doesn't knead. This was good news, once again, it wasn't my fault! I tried a breadmaker, no success, I tried a food processor, still no. Now my machine excuses were running thin.
I went back to hand kneading, I learned to use high hydration doughs that are tacky and more supple. I got a little closer, the dough didn't tear to shreds quite so easily, but it was still not PIZZA dough, it didn't stretch and fold all day and never tear. Now I am trying Alton Browns Pizza Pizzas recipe for the 20th time and still have no windowpane, I am using every ingredient and tool he is but after over an hour in the kitchenaid, (checking every 3min or so) I still have not seen a windowpane from my dough. I want my crust to look like PIZZA crust, chewy with excellent oven spring and large air pockets full of gluteny strands of crumb. I see pizzarias all over making sorts of abhorrent pizzas but they still can get GLUTEN development from their dough. They toss and stretch and fold and the dough does what is asked while turning into a beautiful thin semitransparent membrane while mine shows uneven strands and breaks.
I am at my wits end, what do I need to do to get this gluten to develop?!!