Gluten Development (with Windowpane Photos)

I took (actually, my husband T took, while I “windowpaned”) some photos of the stages of gluten development. I hope someone will find these useful. Most of the breads I make call for the gluten to be developed to a medium stage.

Gluten development is tested with the “windowpane test.” Pinch off about two tablespoons of dough and try to stretch it into a thin membrane (windowpane).

If you can do so without tearing, but the membrane is mostly opaque, you have barely developed gluten.

If you can stretch a paper-thin, very translucent windowpane, the gluten is fully developed.

A medium level is in between these two extremes: the windowpane is translucent with some opaque areas.

The progression from minimally to fully developed gluten:

Low gluten development Medium gluten development High gluten development

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    1. [...] We started off by making some Honey Whole Wheat Multigrain loaves, totally not vegan but easy to veganize nonetheless. It was great to work with my hands and get a real feel for the consistency of the dough. All the kneading by hand gave us an idea of how long it takes for the gluten to develop properly and I finally know exactly what to look for when I do the windowpane test. [...]

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