Placing a tray of boiling water on the bottom shelf of the oven before baking bread helps ensure the dough develops a rich, dark color. Soaking seeds in an equal weight of boiling water for 10 minutes before adding them to the dough ensures they don't pull too much water out of the dough. Seeds can also be baked lightly before being soaked to add a nutty flavor.
When kneading dough, bakers are advised that it's not always necessary to knead until the dough is completely smooth. Some recipes that call for two or three hours of rising time call for shorter kneading sessions that can leave the dough a bit rough. If dough is kneaded until smooth and then spends several hours rising, it will become overdeveloped. Whole wheat dough is not as smooth as white dough after kneading and still looks a bit shaggy after rising.
Some bakers find it helpful to let dough rise in large, clear measuring containers. This lets them track the progress of the dough more easily since they can see it through the container. When dough is rising, it must be kept moist. Covering the rising container in plastic wrap accomplishes this goal.