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Tag: Bread

What is the Windowpane Test?

When making yeast dough, when should you stop kneading? Try the windowpane test!

When dough forms, it will be rough and shaggy. As kneading continues, it gets smoother. Pull out a piece of dough and work it with your fingers as thin as possible. It should be almost translucent. The dough should stretch, but not pull apart. If the dough pulls apart and tears easily, it is not kneaded enough. If it holds together, and when stretched and held up to light, the light should shine through.

Source: Understanding Baking, 3rd edition, Joseph Amendola and Nicole Rees


Bread Sculpture Contest Returns!

The 2018 winner!

If you didn’t get the opportunity to host or enter the State Fair County Contest last year, here is another chance! Once again, the Kansas State Fair will partner with the Kansas Wheat Commission and offer the Bread Sculpture Contest where you can send your County Fair Winners to represent you at the State Fair with their amazing creations!

There are some great “dough” prizes available, but first you “knead” to enter. All entries MUST be pre-entered with the Kansas State Fair by August 15th to participate. This contest is offered by the Kansas State Fair Foods Department located in the Domestic Arts Building. This is where entries need to be received, will be judged, displayed and released from. A $1.00 handling fee, per exhibitor, is due at the time of entry.

Complete details can be found at

Additional questions may be directed to: or



Evaluating Artisan Bread

Artisan, or hearth, breads have some characteristics that make them unique. Here are some tips to evaluate these breads.

Aspect—Feel the weight, it should be appropriate for its size. Are the cuts on top open to allow expansion? Scoring will dictate the interior structure and visual appearance. The color should be golden, and darkly burnished is not always best.

Crumb Structure—Baguettes will have some marble-sized holes along with smaller holes. The cell walls will look translucent.

Flavor—This is a combination of the crust flavor and interior flavor. One should not overpower the other.

Balance—Sour flavor notes from fermentation should balance with malty notes. Browning from Maillard reactions should be balanced with interior flavors and added ingredients.

Texture—This varies by bread type and is the contrast of the crust and interior. It may be chewy, tender, tender, crispy, moist or dry.



New Bread Sculpture Contest at Fairs

“Find Your Fun” and have some fun with food! A new contest for county fairs and the State Fair has been developed by the Kansas Wheat Commission to bring out your creativity with bread sculptures.

The Kansas Wheat Commission recommends having a county contest to send the winner on to the State Fair. But, individuals may still enter their item in the “Open Class” Bread Sculpture contest at the State Fair.

Judges will consider creativity, originality, imagination, attention to detail, design, color, and instructions.

For more information, the contest flyer can be found at under “Foods & Nutrition.”

For questions, please contact or


Using Expired Yeast for Bread

Bread yeast is a living organism. Over time, it loses its potency and ability to make dough rise. Yeast packaging has an expiration date and it is best to use it prior to this date.

If dough is made with expired yeast, it is possible to rescue the slow rising dough by using a new package of yeast. These tips are from Fleischmann’s Yeast for each packet of yeast in the recipe.

  1. In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup lukewarm water (100°-110°F), 1 teaspoon sugar and one packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) of yeast. Stir to dissolve.
  2. Using an electric mixer, slowly beat in small (walnut size) pieces of dough until about 1/2 of the dough is mixed into the new yeast.
  3. With a spoon, stir in remaining dough. Knead in extra flour so dough is not sticky.
  4. Let rise, shape and bake as directed.

Source: Fleischmann’s Yeast


Durum Wheat Going Soft

Artisan bread made with soft durum wheat

Durum wheat has long been used for making pasta because of its yellow color and high protein content for a firm ‘bite.’ It is also used to make couscous and a few Mediterranean breads. But research, conducted by the USDA Agricultural Research Service, now offers a new soft durum wheat called “Soft Svevo.”

Soft Svevo was created with classical breeding methods by introducing two genes from soft bread wheat into Italian durum Svevo wheat. This new variety has flour quality similar to soft bread wheat. It is appealing for making pizza crust, baguettes, pan breads, and other breads.

Traditional durum wheat is very hard and difficult to mill into flour. This new variety can save 75 percent energy and 15 percent water during milling.

Learn more about this new wheat at


Baking with Sprouted Wheat Flour

Sprouted Wheat Bread, Whole Grains Council

If you like to expand your baking by using new ingredients, have you tried sprouted wheat flour? Here are some tips from Pastry Chef Stephanie Petersen, from Panhandle Milling Company, to improve your baking success.

  • Add more gluten or knead the dough more. Sprouted wheat flour has a little less available gluten, so it may take more kneading to develop a good dough. Another option is to add 1-2 teaspoons vital wheat gluten per cup of flour.
  • Shorter fermentation time will give depth of flavor. For traditional long fermented dough, time is needed to develop flavor. Sprouted flour will reduce this time to achieve good volume.
  • Measure sprouted flour cup for cup.
  • Store sprouted flour in a cool, dry, dark, airtight container and use within 12 months. Freeze it to add another six months of storage.


Give Dough a Break with Autolyse

What is Autolyse (AUTO-lees)? When making homemade bread, a simple pause in preparing the dough can transform the final product. Autolyse is simply mixing some of the flour, liquid, and usually the yeast. Mix until combined, then let the wet sticky dough rest at least 20-60 minutes.

This rest, or autolyze, allows the weak, disorganized gluten matrix to break down and straighten. Once the remaining ingredients are added  and kneading resumes, the gluten matrix will organize and strengthen in a shorter amount of time. This can be very beneficial when mixing dough in a mixer as the strong mechanical action can quickly overmix the dough. This technique is also beneficial for rustic breads that have more water and allows the dough to rise vertically, rather than spread horizontally.

Source: and The Science of Good Cooking, Cook’s Illustrated