Before starting to mix, make sure you have read your recipe thoroughly and all your dry ingredients are at room temperature. Liquid temperatures depend on how you are adding your yeast. See Prepare Your Yeast to determine the liquid temperatures you need.
Mixing combines your ingredients to form a dough mass that will be ready for kneading. Follow your recipe for how and when to add your ingredients. Start by blending ingredients with a wire or dough whisk. Add in some of the flour, and continue mixing. One of the biggest challenges in baking is determining the right amount of flour to add to your dough. Knowing how your dough should look and feel is critical for success. You will to learn this over time as you continue to bake. Continue adding in your flour (be aware of the total amount of flour needed for recipe) and mixing it into the dough. Your dough is ready for kneading when it begins to stay together and pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Measure your ingredients correctly.
Double-check your recipe for amounts of each ingredient needed.
Accurate temperature of your ingredients is key to successful baking.
KNOW YOUR DOUGH! It is important to learn how to recognize the condition of your dough. The ratio of flour and liquid is critical in any bread recipe.
Flour absorbs different amounts of liquids depending on its protein and / or moisture content, as well at the temperature and humidity of the air. If your recipe has a range of flour to use, start with the lower amount and add only enough to form a dough that starts to pull away from the sides of your bowl. You will be adding more during the kneading stage, so don't add it all during the mixing stage.
Dry, stiff doughs and wet, sticky doughs do not rise well.
Never let salt or sugar be in direct contact with the yeast. To avoid this, add these ingredients after 1 to 2 cups of flour have been mixed in.