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"Make a well" for the wet ingredients. Does anybody actually do this? Why?

In many recipes for doughs and batters, I see the instruction to 'make a well' in the dry ingredients to pour in the wet ingredients. I can't possibly imagine how this step would benefit the finished product.

Does anybody do it? Is there a reason or are you just following instructions?

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  1. If you are making a dough on your counter it keeps the wet ingredients from running away. If you are working in a bowl it helps keep a wet spot from forming on the bowl surface that could be more difficult to clean.If you are using a big power mixer it doesn't make a bit of difference.

    IMO of course.

    I don't think it affects the finished product.

    1. I do it...in blind obedience to the instructions.

      1. Yes, I do it...It is especially important for muffin, biscuit type mixtures, because it inables you to mix the wet and dry ingredients in a uniform manner, therefore avoiding the overmixing that would occur if you just poured the wet ingredients all over the dry ones...

        1. Yes, of course, for putting together a pasta dough on the counter. Keeps the ingredients together; allows even mixing, and no bowl to wash--just a counter to wipe down.

          1. Other than pasta, which makes sense if you do it on the counter, I think the well allows for minimal mixing by maximizing contact of wet to dry. It only really makes sense if you're mixing by hand and folding. I put this with those types of directions that say, "add 3 cups plus 2 tsp of flour." It probably makes a difference for some but not for the average person.

            1. It's because Nonna didn't have a Kitchen Aid mixer.

              1. I do it, even when using the mixer. It lets the dry ingredients incorporate with the wet ingredients around the edges of the well, at a pace allowing for when the middle is ready to accept more dry ingredients.

                I've found it makes a less lumpy batter.

                It's also easier to see when the whole mixture is uniform. If the wet ingredients were on the bottom or the side of the bowl, they might be unincorporated, and I wouldn't know, until the bowl was scraped or emptied.

                1. I do it, partially because the recipes say to but also because if you mix the wet into dry in the center with dry on the outside, its usually less messy and easier to clean up - it sortof automatically coats itself in flour. I've never thought that much about whether the dough itself is benefitting from the process.

                  1. I exclusively use this method now for making pasta but nothing else. I found it pretty awkward at first but after couple of times it became a pretty simple and reliable method. I only use eggs and flour now, no oil or salt, on a proportion of 3 eggs to 5 cups flour per Mario Batali/Marcella Hazan. Although Marcella swears by all-purpose white, I prefer an even mix of whole wheat, all-purpose, semolina and whole wheat durum in equal proportions, gives it more flavor, bite and substance.

                    1. It just a good method to use. Place the wet ingredients in the well and begin stirring from the center of the well working out incorporating the dry ingredients to the liquid. It's a bit faster and creates a more uniform batter.

                      Dumping the wet ingredients on top of the dry is fine (or vice versa), but you may have to work to get all the dry ingredients moistened and you might end up with clumps.