The Windowpane Test | Neapolitan Pizza from scratch | Part 3

How do you test pizza dough?

The windowpane test is a really simple test you can do to see if your pizza dough is kneaded enough.

It’s best practice to leave your dough to rest for 30 minutes after kneading. Then your dough will have relaxed and will be ready for the windowpane test.

If you missed it, be sure to check out part 1 of this series here for mixing the ingredients and part 2 for kneading the dough here. Here in part 3 our dough is ready for the windowpane test.

If you want to get straight to balling your dough, click here for the next part on balling.

Windowpane test video

Below I’ve made a video to show you exactly how to do the windowpane test for pizza. It’s super easy to do but I still think it’s easier to understand when you can see how it’s done.

YouTube player
The Windowpane Test for Pizza Dough

Now let’s dive into the windowpane test in more detail!

What is the windowpane test for pizza dough?

For the windowpane test you basically just try to stretch the dough so thin that it lets light through. That’s where it gets it’s name from – a windowpane.

The easiest way to carry out the test is to cut off about a golf ball size of dough. Then, holding the dough in the air, stretch it outwards with both hands.

Windowpane test for pizza dough
Stretch the dough carefully between your hands, turning as you go

Be careful not to stretch so much that the dough rips. We are not trying to rip the dough in this test. After stretching a small amount, turn the dough a little and stretch again.

Keep repeating this process until you have stretched the dough as thin as you can. Hold it up to the light and see if you can see through it. That’s the windowpane test!

Should pizza dough pass the windowpane test?

If your pizza dough is well kneaded then it should pass the windowpane test. It is a simple pass or fail test.

If you stretch your pizza dough so thin that it lets light through then it’s a pass. If your dough rips before it gets this thin then it’s a fail.

Should pizza dough pass the windowpane test?
If you can see light coming through the dough like this, you’re good to go!

If your dough fails the test you can try again on another piece of dough. Make sure you get the technique right, you need to be quite gentle with the dough.

If it’s clear that your pizza dough is not stretching out well and is tearing, then it’s failed the windowpane test.

What happens if I don’t knead my dough enough?

If you don’t knead your dough enough, it will be weak and not very stretchy. When it is stretched it will tear before it becomes thin.

This results in a thick and dense pizza, which is not what we want. It is best to fix this problem as early as possible, before we start shaping the pizza.

How many times should you knead pizza dough?

If you leave your pizza dough to rest before kneading (autolyse) then it should make kneading easier. In this case, you should only need to knead your dough once (for about 5 minutes or so).

Kneading pizza dough before windowpane test
Me kneading pizza dough!

However, there is nothing wrong with kneading your dough more than once if you think it needs it. This could be because your dough hasn’t been rested long enough before kneading.

Also, if you are new to kneading pizza dough, you may find it quite difficult. In 5 minutes of kneading you may not have worked the dough enough. But don’t worry, you can always knead again!

Should I knead pizza dough twice?

If your dough fails the windowpane test then it is probably under-kneaded and would benefit from some more kneading.

Be sure to leave your dough to rest for at least 15 minutes before kneading again. This will give your dough time to relax (and yourself!) which will make the second kneading easier.

After giving your pizza dough a second kneading for 2-5 minutes you should find that it has become very soft and smooth.

Smooth pizza dough after windowpane test
A wonderfully smooth pizza dough!

You can then carry out the windowpane test again. Be sure to leave the dough to rest (covered) for 15-30 minutes before carrying out the test.

How to know when pizza dough is kneaded enough

The windowpane test is not the only way to tell if your pizza dough is kneaded enough. However, it does provide an excellent indication.

You can usually tell when your pizza dough is kneaded enough because it is really soft and easy to stretch. Another good indication is that you can hear popping sounds coming from the dough as you are kneading. This tells you that your dough is incorporating air and is becoming strong.

Windowpane test kneading
You will develop a sixth sense for the dough!

Through experience you will develop a sixth sense for this. You will just know when your dough is kneaded enough by the feel of it.

However, for beginners it can be difficult to tell when it’s ready. That’s why I recommend that everyone tries the “windowpane test”.

Final thoughts on the windowpane test for pizza dough…

The windowpane test is really easy to do and it gives you a good indication as to the strength and stretchiness of your dough. When I first started making pizza dough, this test helped me to understand my dough better.

An important thing to remember is to always allow your dough to rest first. I may have mentioned this quite a few times but it is a very important step. When I first started trying the windowpane test, I wasn’t resting my dough first. This made the dough very difficult to stretch and didn’t give it a good chance of passing the test.

Be sure to give the windowpane test a go. If your pizza dough passes the test then it’s time to move onto the next step – proving the dough.

Be sure to check out the next part on balling your pizza dough here.

If you missed part 1 where I explained about mixing the ingredients, check it out here. I provide the recipe for this series in part 1 and in part 2 where I explain the kneading of the dough.

Good luck everyone!

Tom Rothwell from My Pizza Corner eating homemade pizza

About Me

I’m Tom Rothwell and I’m super passionate about all kinds of homemade pizza! In the last few years I've been on a quest to find the perfect pizza. Now I'm sharing what I've found out with the world!

Ooni Karu
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My Pizza Oven

I often get asked what type of oven I use for my pizzas. Well, I use a pizza oven made by a company called Ooni.

The range of pizza ovens that Ooni offers is just brilliant. They cover all bases, and all price points. There's affordable and portable models such as the Fyra 12 Pizza Oven and then there's state-of-the-art models such as the Karu 16 Pizza Oven pictured below.

In all honesty, I would say that the oven makes a huge difference. If you're looking to make authentic Italian pizza, a pizza oven is a must.

Pizza cooked in Ooni pizza oven

By clicking the link below and purchasing from Ooni, you would be supporting this website. I've been using their ovens for a long time now and I wouldn't recommend them if I didn't believe in their products.

Time to make some amazing pizza!

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  1. Avatar for Carolyn Carolyn says:

    Hi, I love your webpage and find the information the most helpful than so many others. Your pizza school videos have given me a better understanding, so thank you. Today I followed your video series and I have worked up to passing the windowpane and now my dough has been at room temperature for about 9 hours. It has possibly doubled in size thus far and it still has another 9-10 hours to go before I ball it up tomorrow. Is this ok? Your end proofing dough didn’t look like it had much growth.
    many thanks

    1. Avatar for Tom Rothwell Tom Rothwell says:

      Hi Carolyn, I’m glad you like my content, I’ve got more planned in the future.

      It sounds like your dough may be proving quickly. How fast it proves will depend on your room temperature and the typoe of yeast you are using. If your room is warm it will prove quicker.

      Take a look at my pizza dough calculator here if you haven’t seen it. You can adjust the temperature and yeast to suit your conditions and it will tell you the quantity of ingredients you need.

      Bear in mind this is only an estimate though. You will need to adjust your own recipe through trial and error.

      I hope this helps. Good luck!

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  3. Avatar for Daniel Lewczuk Daniel Lewczuk says:

    Great instructions! Thanks! Question: for the longer proofing (18* hours), do you keep the dough in the fridge before balling or leave it at room temperature? Thank you.

    1. Avatar for Tom Rothwell Tom Rothwell says:

      Hi Daniel, glad you like the instructions! The dough is to be left at room temperature. Refrigerating dough slows the proving down since the optimal temperature for yeast growth (proofing) is at room temperature.

      For this reason, I recommend that everyone ferments at room temperature and just use the fridge for left over dough. Thanks for the question and good luck!

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  5. Avatar for Bill Bill says:

    At what point would someone be able to freeze the dough, once it is balled?

    1. Avatar for Tom Rothwell Tom Rothwell says:

      Yes, I would recommend freezing them after balling and before they are proved. They can then be proved when they are removed from the freezer. Thanks for the question!

Ooni Karu 16
Tom Rothwell from My Pizza Corner eating homemade pizza

About Me

I’m Tom Rothwell and I’m super passionate about all kinds of homemade pizza! In the last few years I've been on a quest to find the perfect pizza. Now I'm sharing what I've found out with the world!

Ooni Accessories