The sequencing of ingredients that one uses usually depends on what you want to do. Maybe a few examples will help.
1. Most people add the water to the mixer bowl first and then the rest of the ingredients in the required or desired order. However, there are some people who prefer to add the flour first and maybe some of the other dry ingredients and then the water. Tony Gemignani has used the approach of adding the flour first and then the water (see, for example,
). I would say that is not common.
2. Tom Lehmann is a believer in adding the oil to a dough after the other ingredients have been combined and kneaded. This is to insure more complete hydration of the flour and is in respect of a commercial application. You can see his recommended procedures at Reply 18 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7499.msg64554/topicseen.html#msg64554
. I did not know how Tom came to add the oil later in the process, but I later found support for that approach in the classic E. J. Pyler books on Baking Science and Technology
. There are some people, however, who believe that adding the oil to the water results in more uniform distribution of the oil throughout the dough. In my case with the PJ clone doughs, I found that that method worked better when using more than about 4-5% oil (and up to about 7% for the PJ clone doughs). For doughs using say, 1-2% oil, I found that I could use Tom's approach because that small amount of oil could easily be incorporated into a dough that has already been partially kneaded.
3. Tom's procedure under 2 above calls for adding the salt and sugar to the water in the bowl. That helps achieve a more uniform distribution of the salt and sugar throughout the dough, especially if the salt and sugar are coarse. Many people choose instead to add the salt and sugar to the flour. This works best for salt and sugar that are finely ground.
4. When using a classic autolyse, the procedure for adding ingredients is fixed. All or a portion of the flour is combined with water and left to rest for a prescribed period of time. The salt and yeast (and sugar, oil, eggs and dry milk, if used) are added later. In some French bread baking circles, salt, which is an antioxidant, was added late in the process (Professor Raymond Calvel railed against this practice because it destroyed the carotenoids and resulted in a bleached out color in the final dough). There are also some applications that use a strong flour and where the salt is added toward the end of the dough making process so as not to overly develop the dough because of the gluten strengthening effects of the salt.
5. In the case of yeast, if the yeast is IDY, it can be added directly to the flour. If the mix time is to be less than about 4 minutes, as in a VCM (vertical cutter mixer), or for some other application calling for a short mix/knead time, the IDY can be rehydrated in warm water and then added to either the rest of the formula water or to the rest of the ingredients in the mixer bowl. If the yeast is ADY, it should be rehydrated in warm water before adding it to the rest of the formula water or the rest of the ingredients in the mixer bowl. If the yeast is fresh yeast (cake or compressed yeast), it can either be crumbled on top of the flour or rehydrated in warm water. I broke the above rule on rehydrating the ADY when I made one of my long fermented PJ doughs but, as I made clear in the post that discussed that technique, the use of the ADY dry in that case was to extend the fermentation window out to several days.
6. When using honey, barley malt syrup or molasses or other like viscous ingredient, my practice is to warm it up before adding it to the formula water.
7. Ingredients like vital wheat gluten can be added to the flour so as to minimize or avoid clumping or pilling. However, some prefer to mix in with the water for more uniform distribution. Dry milk powders can be added to the rest of the dry ingredients or rehydrated in water first (and then adjusting the formula water quantity to compensate for the water used to rehydrate the dry milk powder).
8. Sometimes the sequencing of ingredients is dictated by the machine used to mix and knead the dough. This is quite common, for example, with bread machines used to make the dough. Also, there are some home mixers, such as the Bosch, that I understand can make good dough even when all of the ingredients are just tossed together into the mixer bowl. Some people do that sort of thing with all of their doughs, whether made by hand or machine. If that works for them, then it is right for them, even though it might not be optimum.
In my case, my practice is to try to use the best procedures and methods and scientific principles based on the type of dough I am trying to make and what results I am trying to achieve. For me, getting good results is important but I also want to know how and why I achieved those results. That is how I learn. And that is how I was able to compose this post to answer your questions