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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
Good luck everyone!
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!
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