How to Mix Ingredients Manually?

Mix Ingredients

Don’t have a fancy kitchen mixer for your dough?

Fear not, present to you two traditional methods for dough preparation. All that they require are the most basic of kitchen implements: a large bowl, a wooden spatula for mixing, a clean flat surface (a board or marble slab will do nicely), and of course, your, well-trained hands.

Let’s get started!

Mixing Ingredients in a Bowl

A large bowl is indispensable for most quick bread recipes, where the combined ingredients form a runny, batter-like consistency. The resulting dough is decidedly less firm than dough of yeast breads and is impossible to manage without a proper container.

Some quick bread recipes call for the dry ingredients and liquid ingredients to be pre-combined separately, but ultimately, they still need to be mixed together in a bowl.

Make sure the bowl is large enough for all the ingredients, including any liquid that will be added. Remember that mixing agitates the ingredients and requires even more space, so be sure to allow room for that too.

  1. Place all the dry ingredients into the bowl, but leave some space in the center where you will pour the liquid. Ideally, you will be forming a bowl within the bowl, using the flour and other dry ingredients for the inner bowl.
  2. Pour the liquid into the center of the bowl, and stir the mass with a wooden spatula, working your way from the center of the liquid outwards. The dry ingredients will combine with the liquid to form a paste.
  3. Continue to draw in the remaining flour along the sides of the bowl until everything is one homogenous mixture.
  4. Add water if the mixture gets too dry.

Mixing Ingredients Without a Bowl

No bowl? Again, fear not!

Whether you are an aspiring chef seeking to learn the most basic culinary skills, or your kitchen is simply in dire need of an upgrade, we’ve got you covered.

This method, commonly called the “well”, is best used for yeast breads or quick breads whose ingredients combine in a firm, dough-like consistency. If you’re expecting a batter-like, near-liquid consistency, please look elsewhere.

A little disclaimer: this will get messy.

  1. Use a clean, smooth flat surface and combine all the dry ingredients into the flour. Mix well, then create a crater with the powdery mass. This crater, in culinary lingo, is known as the “well”.
  2. If the recipe calls for some yeast dissolved in water, pour the liquid into the well. If starter dough is used, break it up into small pieces and place it into the well, adding water.
  3. Stir the mixture with a wooden spatula, making your way from the center outwards. As you draw in more flour, a paste will form from the liquid combining with the dry ingredients.
  4. When around a third of the crater walls remain, combine the mixture into the remaining flour with your hands until everything is completely incorporated into the dough, adding water as necessary.


Learning to mix ingredients manually is an indispensable skill in a chef’s skill set. You can get the job done even if the mixer breaks down, or if you need to work in a kitchen with only the most rudimentary equipment.

A large bowl, at the minimum, is preferred for most quick or yeast bread recipes, but human ingenuity will allow you to accomplish anything, using any tool at hand–even the ingredients themselves. Practice these