The blog of cooking-ez.com

The window-pane test in bread-making


The window-pane test in bread-making
The home bread-makers often ask themselves “Have I kneaded my dough long enough?” . A good question, as dough that is insufficiently kneaded will not rise properly or will fall flat when the top is slashed, which is very frustrating.

To know when the dough is ready, one can rely on the length of kneading time shown in the recipe or test the temperature, but both can be unreliable guides. It is better to check visually if the dough is sufficiently well kneaded. Then one can say, “OK, let's stop there” , or “No, that needs a bit longer” .

To check the dough visually, like the professionals do, we need to check for the “window-pane” effect, also known as the membrane test.
71K 2 14 3.7
Grade this page:

Last modified on: June 16th 2021

The window-pane test in bread-making
Behind this mysterious name lies a very physical phenomenon: when dough is kneaded, the gluten in the flour forms a structure, like a kind of net, which holds the dough together. This gluten network gives the dough its elasticity and traps the C02 formed during fermentation to create the “bubbles” which will become the open spaces in the bread.

If you stretch well-kneaded dough, the gluten network will prevent it breaking immediately, so it is possible to stretch it out very thinly, indicating that the gluten network is properly developed.

So, the test is very simple: if the membrane is there, the dough has been kneaded long enough. If not, continue kneading.

baker test




Now, of course, we need to know how to check whether the membrane is there or not.

To do this, stop kneading and take a small piece of dough, about the size of a walnut. Stretch this out gently: if the dough tears easily, the membrane is not yet developed and you will need to continue kneading, like in this photo:

baker test


If, on the contrary, the dough does not tear, but can be stretched out into a thin, translucent membrane, you can stop kneading. This is shown here:

baker test



Here ios a small video to show you the gesture and the result:



To sum up :The presence or absence of the translucent membrane is the best indicator of whether bread dough is sufficiently kneaded or not.

But not all dough in baking is the same: this membrane should be looked for in bread dough as a sign of elasticity. However, for tart pastry, it is quite the contrary: we don't want the dough to be stretchy and develop the gluten membrane. So, for pastry, the dough should be kneaded as little as possible.

baker test




Back to top of page

Lasts posts
The dissociation of a preparation
The dissociation of a preparation
It may have already happened to you: You prepare a sauce, a cream, a ganache etc. and then suddenly or almost, the whole thing dissociates, and from a smooth mixture that you were preparing with love, you end up with a horrible thing with a more or less solid part and another liquid part. It's...
8244 January 22th 2022
 The super powers of cornstarch
The super powers of cornstarch
I start this new year by evoking an old product, that you most probably have in your cupboards, a white powder, often in a small cardboard package with a slightly outdated look, only the "gluten free" is relatively recent, it is simply cornstarch, hence its name of maïzena. It's used for a lot...
468 January 14th 2022
The return of the
The return of the "Norman hole"
You maybe know the "trou normand", this old gastronomic custom typically French which consists in taking a (small) glass of calvados, generally between the last course and the dessert? It's something that seems a bit anachronistic nowadays, having a glass of an alcohol of more than 60° in the...
1,255 December 18th 2021
In praise of Mont d'Or cheese
In praise of Mont d'Or cheese
Do you know the Mont d'Or, this extraordinary cheese from the Haut-Doubs in France, with a unique taste and appearance, which can be eaten both raw and cooked? I'll tell you a few words about it, and with some tips on how to choose it and cook it. .
1,6425 November 27th 2021
Cooking scallops
Cooking scallops
We are, as I write these lines, in the season of the scallops, if you like that it is necessary to benefit from it as much as possible, although it is alas not cheap. I like scallops a lot, but I have to admit that it has naturally little taste, or, said differently, it takes the taste of what...
3,5065 November 23th 2021
Other pages you may also like
A few tips for effective kneading at home
A few tips for effective kneading at home
When you have to knead dough for bread or some other recipe, you may well use a food processor or the type of machine known as a stand mixer. The best-known brands are Kenwood and KitchenAid. They are useful tools, but here are a few tips to help you get the best out of them.
207K 23.5 June 23th 2021
Steam for baking bread
Steam for baking bread
What does steam have to do with bread-making? This is not only a bakers' secret, it is something you might not think of at all: if you make bread and bake it like a cake, you will end up with bread, but pale and with a thick, hard crust – a long way from the golden-brown crusty loaf you had in...
118K4.3 June 16th 2021
What is the difference between bakery and patisserie?
What is the difference between bakery and patisserie?
This is a question that you may well have asked yourself and which I will attempt to answer. In France the two trades of "boulangerie" (bakery) and "pâtisserie" (patisserie and confectionery) have always been quite distinct, but where exactly do the boundaries lie? .
83K 13.9 February 7th 2017
What can I use for blind baking a pastry case?
What can I use for blind baking a pastry case?
When it comes to home-made desserts, tarts are always popular. They can be divided into two basic types: those cooked with their filling, such as an apricot and almond cream tart, and those where the filling is added after baking the pastry case, such as a strawberry tart or chocolate tart. For...
76K4.1 May 2nd 2017
85 grams of eggs?
85 grams of eggs?
Some time ago, I already spoke to you about the difference between baking and pastry-making, I emphasized, among other things, the precision of pastry-making which requires grams, cm, degrees and minutes. That's why, on the one hand, you have baking and cooking, where a certain tolerance is...
29K4.5 November 26th 2018
Post your comment or question
Posted by:
I am not a leaving thing
Your 2 comments or questions on this page
  • I agree with you, the test is not absolutely necessary, but it is so simple and fast to do that why avoiding it?
    Professional baker (good ones) make it a dozen a day, because they want to be sure of their doughs, despite the flour, temperature of the day, hydrometry, amount of water, etc.

    But I think you're wrong when you say you could check "kneaded sufficient just by the way it looks and feels", sorry, no, it's a beginner mistake (believe me, I made it some time... when I was in bakery school) looking at the dough and claim that it's enough, especially if you have soft doughs like milk rolls, who could be smooth, because of the butter and milk in, but not enough kneaded.

    And I don't agree neither when you say "it's usually better to err on the side of overkneading than underkneading", no, it's the opposite when overkneaded, it's over, failed, can't be fixed, but if you're underkneaded, you can fix it by a longer first rest (pointage) than usually planned.
    Posted by jh november 17th 2020 at 08:11 (n° 2)
  • So is the windowpane test absolutely necessary? No, it isn't. It might be a good idea for a beginner, but it's better to learn when bread dough has been kneaded sufficient just by the way it looks and feels. Bread dough that doesn't contain any add-ins or coarse whole grains will feel soft and silky, about like your earlobe feels. The dough ball will also stretch easily when held between your two hands. Bread dough is very forgiving to work with, but it's usually better to err on the side of overkneading than underkneading.
    Posted by Shary november 16th 2020 at 20:06 (n° 1)
Follow this page
If you are interested in this page, you can "follow" it, by entering your email address here. You will then receive a notification immediately each time the page is modified or a new comment is added. Please note that you will need to confirm this following.
I am not a leaving thing
Note: We'll never share your e-mail address with anyone else.
Alternatively: you can subscribe to the mailing list of cooling-ez.com , you will receive a e-mail for each new recipe published on the site.

Back to top of page