Bread...without a breadmaker
I would like to start baking bread, though I must admit I do find it intimidating. I have little to no experience with this, and don't have a breadmaker. Are there recipes out there for fabulous breads that can be done in the oven (or on the grill)?
Check out "The Complete Book of Bread" by Bernard Clayton. It is a classic. You don't need a bread maker.
Bread has been made for thousands of years without machines and often with the most rudimentary ovens.
Get a good scale, digital if you can afford it, a good book on bread like Rose Levy Beranbaum's or Bernie Clayoton's, or Carole Field. One my DH likes is the Bread Makers Apprentice. See if your library has them and read through and decide whose style makes you comofrtable and then practice, practice, practice. Good bread making takes time to learn. You will learn to jusdge when you have enlough flour by touch and how humidity plays a role from bread making session to session. You may have success with your first loaf and maybe not but don't give up bread making is almost a life long learning project.
Oh and get some good bread pans, Chicago Metalic makes them and get either a pizza stone or unglazed quarry tiles to put on the bottom rack of the oven. It helps keep the temperature even. The other big thing is yeast.Make sure it is fresh.
Bittman's How to Cook Everything bread-making technique has totally changed my life. Basically, you dump all the ingredients in a food processor and blend for a minute, dump out the shaggy, still moist dough ball into an oiled bowl and let it rise. Fantastic method for any simple white flour recipe--pizza dough, baguettes, english muffins, french bread. I find that it taxes my food processor's motor to add anything but a touch of whole-wheat flour.
I have been making bread quite a while and I have never gotten results like this with hand-kneading. Very good technique to try if you're just getting into bread-making--you'll be surprised how easy it is, and if you find you like making bread, you can branch out into more advanced recipes.
Please don't be intimidated by it-just have fun! I have been baking bread for twenty years and in that time, I have made some very good bread and some very bad bread. Don't get upset when you don't get the results you want-try try again! I have been trying for weeks on end to make kolaches that I think are edible and this weekend, I will try again.