Mixing: Combine dry ingredients (such as flour, salt, and yeast) in a mixing bowl, then gradually add wet ingredients (such as water, oil, or eggs) while stirring until a cohesive dough forms. Use a wooden spoon or a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment for kneading.
Kneading: Place the dough on a floured surface and use the heels of your hands to press and fold the dough repeatedly. This helps to develop the gluten, which gives dough its elasticity and structure. Knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
Resting: Allow the dough to rest for a period of time, usually about 30 minutes to an hour. This allows the gluten to relax and the dough to rise, resulting in a lighter texture and improved flavor.
Proofing: Place the dough in a warm, draft-free area to rise. This allows the yeast in the dough to ferment and produce carbon dioxide, causing the dough to expand and rise.
Shaping: Once the dough has risen, punch it down to release excess gas, then shape it into the desired form, such as a ball, loaf, or crust.
Stretching and Rolling: Use your hands, a rolling pin, or a combination of both to stretch or roll out the dough to the desired thickness or shape.
Par-baking (optional): For certain recipes, such as pizza crusts or pie crusts, par-baking (partially baking) the dough before adding toppings or fillings can help to ensure it bakes evenly and achieves the desired texture.