Window Pane Test Bread 202
Kneading = Gluten Development
Kneading helps create and strengthen the gluten by stretching the dough again and again. Stretching is either done by a bread mixer or by hand. Either way, the result is the same where the dough is well developed and gluten becomes strong and elastic.
Kneading and the Window Test
See the video below of kneading dough by hand. This example shows how to knead by streching the dough, turning the dough 1/4 turn, then stretching again. Near the end of the knead, the video shows how to do a window pane test to determine of the dough is developed well enough.
Window Pane Test
The window pane test is a quick but important step to determine gluten strength. When using the window pane test, you're looking to see when the dough breaks - how thin the dough can get before it breaks from being stretched.
Once the dough is kneaded to the point where you feel the gluten is well developed:
Take a golf ball sized piece of dough and begin stretching the dough from the outside edges.
Pull the dough away from the middle, again, using the edges to pull the dough into a thinner and thinner shape.
If the dough pulls apart and breaks before it gets to a window pane thickness, gluten is not developed enough. Continue kneading.
If the dough pulls apart but continues to show elasticity as you pull, AND the dough can be pulled into a window pane thickness without breaking, almost translucent, the dough is developed well enough. Time to let the dough rise.