Home Bread-Bakers v108.n017.5

Re: Windowpane (kneading)

Jim Eberhardt <jim@jacysplace.com>
Sun, 4 May 2008 16:40:49 -0500
My great thanks to everyone who replied to my post regarding kneading 
and the windowpane test, I really appreciate all the responses.  I'd 
like to reply, if you don't mind, and do it all in one post.

Chris, thanks for the advice.  I was mixing the bread flour and AP 
flour according to the formula, but I'll try it again with all bread 
flour and see how that works out.  I'll look for the high protein 
flour; we have KA in our supermarket and while its definitely more 
expensive it sounds like its worth it if it improves the bread.

Mary, thanks for the tip on the mixer/food processor.  I've had good 
luck with some of the rustic breads in the KitchenAid.  For some 
reason I see it almost as a "right of passage" to get the hang of 
kneading drier doughs :).  I'm going to try looking for the high 
protein flour and give it a whirl.  Another reference book (or more!) 
could be helpful, too.

Andy, I appreciate the related experience.  I baked French bread 
again last weekend (using the same flour mixture) and had a similar 
experience as before.  The dough did seem a bit more resilient after 
bulk rising and did rise pretty well (as far as I could tell with 
"beginner's" judgement) but seemed to deflate some with a little 
handling (not sure how much is normal).  Still no windowpane

Part of the problem may lie in knowing what good bread is supposed to 
look and taste like.  I've been pretty pleased with my first attempts 
at ciabatta; I'm not sure exactly what to expect from the French 
bread, from crumb or flavor, even though its such a 'common' bread. 
Is it worth seeking commercial examples; or is that a poor yardstick?

Thanks again to everyone for their responses.  I'll definitely try 
the higher protein flour first and see where I wind up.

Thank you!