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I'm trying to make the nan-e qandi recipe from Hot Bread Kitchen; recipe re-printed here. It contains sugar (honey) and a fair amount of fat, with full-fat milk for hydration and over a stick of butter in ~850g dough. It is rather low hydration, and also contains sugar and baking powder.

The recipe says to knead for 5min, and that it should pass the windowpane test. I make a lot of bread, but mostly from lean doughs. I don't think I have ever attempted the windowpane test in an enriched loaf, and I would not expect it to "work" due to all the fat. Generalizing, Should heavily enriched doughs like this be expected pass the windowpane test? E.g., brioche, challah, ...?

As I expected, my first attempt at this dough did not pass the windowpane test after reasonable effort. I also attempted to let it rest for a time e.g., as suggested here, then knead again, but it still pulled apart readily. If this dough should pass the windowpane test, I'll attempt more precision next batch...

  • Side note: this recipe seems very much on the dry side. How did it turn out? – Stephie Jan 8 '17 at 20:59
  • Yes; as I noted, it is dry; even including some contribution from the honey, it's still scarcely 50% hydration. I don't know exactly how it's supposed to turn out, so therefore I'm not sure if mine turned out correctly, but regardless I didn't really like it. My result was like a strange cross between brioche and a scone or American biscuit. – hoc_age Jan 10 '17 at 4:58
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Yes it should - sort of.

Your observation is right on point, a very rich dough will tear more easily. (I did the same experiment once myself.) But it will still show some characteristics of the windowpane test: it will stretch smoothly and the "pane" should be very even, not show streaks of thicker and thinner areas. Note that the temperature of your dough and thus the consistency of your fat may have an influence as well. While warm doughs with soft fat will be very stretchy, cool doughs (made with cold ingredients and little yeast for an overnight cold raise) can be less cooperative.

If you are familiar with how a "ready" non-enriched dough looks that passes the windowpane test, you will probably recognise the same smoothness in an enriched dough anyway, without performing the test.


For this specific recipe, I guess it's the very low hydration that makes the windowpane test difficult and the dough prone to tearing, not the fat.

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  • Interesting; perhaps my question/assumption was flawed and it's merely the hydration. Since this was the first time I was making it, I was depending on some additional clues to "readiness" in this case. I'll attempt windowpane with brioche and compare. Perhaps I just don't "get" this recipe! – hoc_age Jan 10 '17 at 5:01

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