The goal of mixing is to bring the dry and wet ingredients together to form a sticky, tacky dough. Properly mixed dough is the first critical step to achieving great bread.
Always put the flour in your bowl first, then slowly add the water. You are not kneading at this stage so use your hand like a claw to squash and mix the ingredients together. Your hands will be messy and sticky with dough so use a dough scraper, if you like.
If you are adding salt and commercial yeast at this stage – if you are not using an autolyse – put them in opposite sides of the bowl.
See our videos below for different mixing techniques.
Using a Stand mixer
For doughs with commercial yeast
If you prefer to use a Kitchen aid, use the dough hook and keep it on speed 2. Using a higher speed will be harder on your mixer motor and using a lower speed will not provide enough momentum, especially when you get on to kneading. When mixing, put Risen flour and commercial yeast in the stand mixer bowl first, switch it on to speed 2 and add the water slowly. After the last of the water is poured, add the salt and mix for a further 10 - 20 seconds to ensure all the ingredients are fully incorporated and there are no dry patches remaining in the bowl . At this stage, the dough will be sticky and slack. Now it is ready to be kneaded.
For using a stand mixer for sourdough head over to Making & Baking Sourdough