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: