When a recipe instructs you to mix ingredients into a "shaggy dough," what does that look like? I don't know about you, but "shaggy" is not a stage I feel wildly confident identifying.
Thank the heavens, then, for Stella Parks, Pastry Wizard at Serious Eats (really, that is her job title!) and author of the highly-anticipated forthcoming book, BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts. She took this direction—one that I assume many bakers puzzle over—and clarified it in one simple photo:
Above, her version of a shaggy dough. It's lumpy yet well-mixed (no dry spots of flour); it's a cohesive ball but not a smooth one; it sort of looks like the inside of a soft pillow.
Our summer desserts thank you, Stella.
What baking or cooking directions could benefit from reference photos? Tell us in the comments below!