My Grandmother taught me to make bread when I was about 10, or maybe 8. So I have been baking bread for almost 50 yrs.
Back in the 80's & 90's, when all the kids were home, I baked 8~ 1.5lb loaves of bread a week, or 6 loaves and 2doz hamburger buns. Did it all by hand too until the mid to late 80's when I got a KitchenAid mixer. Wow, was that a big help.
Now with only the 2 of us at home, I bake a couple loaves a week in the bread machine. It does an o.k. job and I have tweaked the recipe I use.
The pans I used were the long pan size, 12.5"X4.5" that hold 1.5lbs of bread.
My bread recipe has always been evolving. I am constantly adding various different flours. I use Dakota Maid Bread Flour milled by our North Dakota State Mill & Elevator in Grand Forks ND. (and aside....We are the only state in the US with our own state owned business and our own state owned bank, going back to the 1930's depression days). It is very good bread flour and you can purchase it here .
I also add whole wheat flour made from hard white wheat instead of the more common hard red. It has a softer flavor. My husband dislikes whole wheat bread because of the strong flavor, but has no complaint about my using some white whole wheat in my bread. The flour is milled at Horizon milling in the town of Fairmont ND just down the road about 30 miles from me. It is available in my local grocery store, but I can not find an online source for it. You can find other White Whole Wheat flour at King Arthur Flour or at Bob's Red Mill and likely other places as well.
I have also added specialty flours, Amaranth, Quinoa, Kamut, Spelt, Teff, Triticale, Potato, and some others. some worked better then others, some not so much. You can find specialty flours at both of the companies above. Right now I am using both the Ancient Grains mix and the 9 grain flour from King Arthur Flour. Not at the same time, but trying the different mixes in about a 1-3 proportion to the regular bread flour. So a 4 C flour mix would be 2 C bread flour, 1 C white whole wheat & 1C grain mix flour, with a couple Tbsp's of Potato that I always add because Potato helps to hold moisture so the bread doesn't dry out so quickly.
Another thing I use is Bakers Dry Milk from KAF. It has been specially processed to kill the enzyme in milk that interferes with yeast. That is why you should always scald milk before using it in your bread. By using the Bakers Dry milk you don't have to scald the milk, and wait for it to cool.
Why all this buildup? Because I have decided to embark on a new adventure, Sourdough.
The entire experience that I have had with starters is the Friendship
bread you might have received from a so-called friend at some point in
time. That was not a good experience, I didn't have enough neighbors to be constantly giving starter or bread away, nor did I like throwing away the excess starter, though the chickens did enjoy it, and we could only eat so much of that quick bread.
I received my Sourdough starter today, ordered it from KAF .
It has been fed and is sitting and working as we speak. Hopefully it will be ready to be fed again tomorrow morning.
Oh, do you want to know my recipe?
C = Cup
T = Tablespoon
tsp = Teaspoon
This makes 2 loaves in the long pans, or 2 doz hamburger buns.
2 1/4tsp salt
2C boiling water poured over the above, stir to melt the butter, and dissolve the sugar and salt, let cool to lukewarm
1/4 C dry milk
1 1/2T yeast
6C flour +/- depending on your weather
mix, knead, let rise, punch down and shape loaves, let rise, bake at 375 for 35 min or until instant read thermometer registers 190 degrees.