One thing I've learned about bread-baking is that the baker must adapt to whatever the dough has decided to do...but that it's really not a big secret how to make a good dough. It usually comes down to starting with a small amount of flour and adding more only if you need it (I usually do, because I live in such a humid place). Really good bread recipes will give you that small amount of flour to start with and advise you to add flour in small doses if necessary. I used to shy away from recipes that said anything about "adding more if needed," because I didn't trust myself to know if it needed it or not. But working through some of the stickier doughs in The Bread Bible, plus experiencing Jim Lahey's no-knead bread, has helped me relax more, and realize that stickiness can be a great thing. In fact, the smallest amount of flour you can get away with is usually what will turn out a tender, airy loaf. It is important to start with a good recipe, though.