Work the ingredients into a dough

When you add water to the dry ingredients of a loaf, there are several ways to form a dough. If you have a mixer with a bowl, you can add the water slowly as the mixer is working or all at once; if you are not doing the hard work by hand and arm then it makes little difference. Bowl mixers keep the hands clean and are the least effort if you are busy.

If you have a hand mixer with dough hooks, which is my method of mixing a dough, feel free to add all the water to the dry ingredients, put the mixer on a slowish speed and work the hooks through the wet into the dry. Eventually after a minute or two you will find that you have a dryish dough which feels sticky on handling. You may also find dry flour around the outside of the bowl. At this point you can work the mixer out of the dough and push the dough around the inside of the bowl picking up the last of the dry flour.

If you are working the dough by hand, use your clean hand to work the flour and water together, and keep scooping the two together until you form a sticky dough. You will find that your hands get covered in flour and paste, but rub your hands together over the bowl and it will come off. Although this is the most satisfying of methods of making a dough, it does mean that your hands get a lot of flour on them, and this can cause skin problems if you are sensitive to the ingredients.

Having made the dough, now you have to knead it…