Introduction: Bulk Mix
The bulk mix is when we incorporate all of our ingredients before the dough begins its first rise. For this bulk mix, incorporate your dry ingredients, the flour, and salt, in a mixing bowl. Create a divot or well in the center of the dry mixture and add your proved yeast and water to the flour and salt.
I like using a dough whisk or bowl scraper to do the heavy lifting of mixing the dry and wet ingredients, but if you like, dig your hands in and get messy, you'll know your flour is hydrated enough when the dough clumps start coming off your hands or your preferred mixing tool. As flour becomes hydrated, the proteins in flour gliadin and glutenin begin to bond, forming the early stages of our gluten network!
You may need to add additional flour if the dough is sticking a bit. Use a bowl scraper to get all the flour and dough from the edges of the bowl. When all the dry flour is completely hydrated and incorporated and feels tacky to the touch, wait five to ten minutes before beginning the next step - kneading.
We allow the dough to briefly rest before kneading so that the dough has a moment to hydrate more evenly before kneading. Kneading also inherently lowers the temperature of our dough as we work air into the warm water we added, so this brief rest on the countertop, also known as a bench rest, gives the yeast the opportunity to feed and ferment rapidly at a slightly warmer temperature.