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Old 10-06-2021, 06:25 AM   #1
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Kneading dough, when to stop (basic help required)

Hi, request help/tips...
As simple as it is, i don't know when my dough (bread dough) is properly kneaded (using yeast,making flat bread for practice)...
I tried the window pain test, but even if i over-knead the dough, i still can form a window pane it seems
and i've discovered that if I allow the dough to rest (even dough scraps lumped together), it too will give way under the rolling pin ( becomes flexible and can roll out easily enough). so how do i really do the window pane test, or how can i know i've kneaded for long enough and i should stop?


I do this self assigned drill: make little dough balls for test practice. each a bit bigger than a golf ball (b4 it's proofed) .

anyways, hope to get better

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Old 10-06-2021, 07:16 AM   #2
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I have never heard of a "window pane test" and do not understand the purpose.

For me, kneading bread is to continue until it will not easily incorporate more flour and still remain smooth and elastic. All this while still staying within the parameters of the stated amount of flour in the recipe.

Again, some breads may need more kneading than others. Some recipes even state for how long or how many 'kneads' approx are needed.

I don't have experience with flat breads but lots of others here do. Sure they will be along with better advice than I.
I do believe I've heard that some flat breads use less flour and may be slightly sticky ... and I could, most likely am, be wrong .

BTW Boskin, Welcome to DC! Pretty sure you will get an answer soon and then maybe stick around for a while and join in.

Edit: dough needs to hydrate the flour in order for it to become elastic and stretchy, hence the resting period. (if this helps)
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Old 10-06-2021, 08:20 AM   #3
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Kneading serves to combine ingredients and develop gluten. Recipe instructions range for a non-specific description to set times. Your dough should be smooth and elastic with the characteristics described in the recipe: smooth and elastic, slightly sticky, etc.
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Old 10-06-2021, 08:36 AM   #4
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Because of severe arthritis in my hands and fingers I haven't kneaded bread by hand in many, many years.

I use my bread machine (on the DOUGH cycle) to do the kneading for me then remove the dough and shape the dough into its intended use...loaves, rolls, etc.

I, too, have not heard of the window pane test. Perhaps I should investigate that process.
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Old 10-06-2021, 09:05 AM   #5
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The window pane test is where you take a small portion of the kneaded dough and stretch it thin so the dough is so thin it's like a window pane. This is only possible when gluten has developed through kneading. Without the development of gluten the dough will not stay together so it can stretch thin enough for light can shine through.
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Old 10-06-2021, 09:57 AM   #6
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I went through a bread-making phase in the '70s, then again in the '90s but not too much since. I remember the windowpane test. This Serious Eats article explains it pretty well in connection with pizza dough. Remembering where I'd first seen this caused me to look for Julia Child's explanation. Didn't find it there but enjoyed watching this old video nonetheless.
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Old 10-06-2021, 01:13 PM   #7
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I have a bread machine. I let it worry about how long to knead each type of dough I select. It hasn't failed me yet.
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Old 10-06-2021, 02:25 PM   #8
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Boskin,
I have a couple more thoughts on your question. There is no one answer. It depends on a lot of things; more things than I will remember to mention here. Some of those things are:
1. What kind of dough are you kneading?
  • Kind of bread
  • Type of flour
2. Other ingredients
  • Yeast type or other leavening
  • Type and kind of fat, oil, eggs, dairy, or none (ie french bread)?
  • Moisture content (%)
3. What equipment do you intend to use?
  • Stand mixer with dough hook
  • Bread machine
  • Old school hand-kneading
My suggestions are:
  • Answer as much of the above as you can
  • If you don't have access to Abuelita who is the family's culinary matriarch or an uncle who is a retired baker, then pick an online mentor to, temporarily at least, treat as an authority. Could be an author or a YouTuber you trust.
  • Follow their advice for a specific recipe

In addition to the Julia Child's French Chef video I posted above, maybe search YouTube for "Helen Rennie, Kneading Sticky Bread Dough by Hand (the French Fold)". Or old school technique for Italian bread and pizza dough maybe hunt down a Mario Battali video.

Anyhow, Welcome to the forum, good luck, have fun, and share your progress with us.
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Old 10-07-2021, 08:28 AM   #9
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First, bread flour is the best for most breads. Ifyou can't get a window pane, add vital wheat gluten to your flour before adding any liquid ingredients. Add no more than 3 tbs. fat per cup of flour. Knead properly by stretching the dough as you fold and push it.

As it is worked, the dough becomes elastic, like bubble gum, allowing it to stretch thin without breaking. Window pane doesn't mean see through, just thin enough to let light shine through. And the dough must be moist enough, slightly sticky for white bread, very sticky for whole, or multi-grain breads.

The idea is for the gluten to capture and hold bubbles of CO2 created by the leavening agent, which is what gives bread its texture.

Good luck in you breadmaking, and welcome to DC.

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Old 10-07-2021, 01:21 PM   #10
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Here's a baker I follow on YouTube. This particular video shows five different ways to tell whether bread dough is ready.
https://youtu.be/rHgtvDMrffc
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Old 10-07-2021, 01:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
* Type and kind of fat, oil, eggs, dairy, or none (ie french bread)?
I just wanted to clarify for the OP that bread dough that only contains flour, water, salt and yeast is referred to as a lean dough; it usually has a crispy crust. A dough that contains fatty ingredients like eggs, butter, etc., is known as an enriched dough and is used to make softer breads like sweet or dinner rolls, sandwich rolls, etc.
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Old 10-07-2021, 03:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
Here's a baker I follow on YouTube. This particular video shows five different ways to tell whether bread dough is ready.
https://youtu.be/rHgtvDMrffc
Thanks for the link. I should have realized that Jack would have a video about this topic.
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Old 10-08-2021, 07:32 AM   #13
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I'm still reflecting on people's posts. will do that more first, b4 i reply.


but, for now, regarding resting the dough, so that it can roll out easier, is this a necessary step? or can you not wait and just force it to roll out? I ask because i have a hunch that if you don't get the dough in this state b4 stretching it out, then it will not only lack flexibility but turn out cruddy after baking. I've made burek dough before and it was stiff and wouldn't stretch out easily at all, and after baking was 'doughy' , meaning it was cooked, but the dough was poor quality

hope i've explained myself properly.
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Old 10-08-2021, 07:34 AM   #14
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also, want to thank everyone for helping me
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Old 10-08-2021, 09:43 AM   #15
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I believe it's a necessary step that does not impact the finished product. I experience this when I'm making a pizza crust. I just leave it for 5-10 minutes then come back to it. I have not noticed that it effects the results. Give it a try.
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Old 10-08-2021, 11:47 AM   #16
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GotGarlic, thanks for the Bake with Jack link. Hadn't seen him before.

Boskin: One of my baking authorities was Peter Reinhart, especially his book, "The Bread Baker's Apprentice." He calls it Benching and has this to say about it regarding the rest following a first or even second rise and after dividing and rounding or shaping the dough. The same principles apply to shorter rests earlier in the process.
Quote:
BENCHING
Depending on the type of bread being made, the dough may again be handled quickly, almost immediately going into final shaping, or it may need to rest for up to 30 or more minutes to allow the gluten to relax. This is called benching, or resting, the dough. Though many of the breads in this book go directly from dividing to final shaping, you can apply the benching principle to any dough that resists shaping. The sole purpose of this stage is to relax the gluten after its workout during rounding so that it will be easier to handle during final shaping. Whether a dough requires benching depends on three characteristics that affect final shaping - extensibility, elasticity, and tolerance - all of which are determined by the condition of the dough's gluten.
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Old 10-10-2021, 05:59 AM   #17
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will get back to this thread a bit later . dealing with a new back injury ...
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Old 11-23-2021, 02:44 AM   #18
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Thank you all! Had a terrible lower back injury, and only recently started to cook again. That was certainly unexpected!


Thanks for all the tips. Going to do a Nutella brioche by Alex french cooking guy on youtube. i don't get gluten development, but i'll just keep trying and observing. perhaps a 10 minute kneed is enough, and keeping things 'a little sticky'
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Old 11-23-2021, 02:45 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skilletlicker View Post
Boskin,
I have a couple more thoughts on your question. There is no one answer. It depends on a lot of things; more things than I will remember to mention here. Some of those things are:
1. What kind of dough are you kneading?
  • Kind of bread
  • Type of flour
2. Other ingredients
  • Yeast type or other leavening
  • Type and kind of fat, oil, eggs, dairy, or none (ie french bread)?
  • Moisture content (%)
3. What equipment do you intend to use?
  • Stand mixer with dough hook
  • Bread machine
  • Old school hand-kneading
My suggestions are:
  • Answer as much of the above as you can
  • If you don't have access to Abuelita who is the family's culinary matriarch or an uncle who is a retired baker, then pick an online mentor to, temporarily at least, treat as an authority. Could be an author or a YouTuber you trust.
  • Follow their advice for a specific recipe

In addition to the Julia Child's French Chef video I posted above, maybe search YouTube for "Helen Rennie, Kneading Sticky Bread Dough by Hand (the French Fold)". Or old school technique for Italian bread and pizza dough maybe hunt down a Mario Battali video.

Anyhow, Welcome to the forum, good luck, have fun, and share your progress with us.
there certainly are a few questions to answer here. but i'll keep it simple and just keep trying/observing. but as poster said, to find instructor is good idea
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Old 11-23-2021, 09:09 AM   #20
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I make flat bread all the time. And for me, when dough comes together and still just a bit sticky, that's when I stop. I'll post the recipe.

Matnakash
Armenian flat bread.

1 pack dry yeast
½ tea spoon sugar
1 full + tea spoon salt
4-5 cups flour
2 cups warm water (not too hot, so not to kill yeast)
2-3 table spoon oil
Mix water, yeast and sugar till dissolved. Add salt and flour, mix well. The dough will still be sticky, cover the bowl with towel or plastic wrap and let it seat in a warm place for an hour. After that push the dough down and mix/ knead for a few minutes, let it rest and then rise again for another half an hour.
Poor the oil on the baking sheet you will use, drop the dough on top of it. Work it with your hands by pushing down. It should be somewhat oval in shape. Then with your fingers push down the border and the straight lines, it should not be more than an inch high. Let it proof for another 20 minutes or so. Brush the top with some water. Bake at 425 deg for about 20-25 minutes. Bread should come out to be about 10 inches wide and about 14 inches long, approximately.

Hm, doesn't really say when to stop. But basically when dough comes together, and get's of the side of the mixing container you use, whatever it is. It's done.
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