I had a conversation with friends last night which I thought might make a nice forum discussion topic. Years ago, when I first tried to make bread, it was following the instructions in a Jamie Oliver cookbook. It was quite a traditional method, which involved proofing a sponge of yeast, sugar and warm water, then piling a whole heap of flour on the benchtop, stirring in the salt, making a well in the middle, then adding the yeast liquid in a little at a time, using one hand to work the liquid into the walls of the flour a little bit at a time.
Frankly, it was all too hard, and it used to cover my kitchen with flour. Because it was such a "take deep breaths and build up your chi" process, I really didn't do it much, and I was always surprised by people who baked often, because it seemed like such a laborious thing to do. It wasn't until I was given a copy of Richard Bertinet's DOUGH, and subsequently Dan Lepard's THL that I really started to bake regularly.
My process now is to whisk together the dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl, and the wet ingredients in a large one, and then to add the dry to the wet, and mix it in the mixing bowl with my hands. I then turn the dough onto an oiled bench, and knead lightly, with several rests and folds during the long first rise. I noticed in the video on the spelt thread that Graham was doing something very similar when he was mixing the spelt dough, and I wondered if that was the new home bread baking process ?
What about you, how do you make your dough ? I'm curious if anyone still uses the old "well of proofed yeast in the pile of flour on the bench" method ?