I have been baking bread for years now, mostly in an absolute workhorse of a breadmaker that Mr. L got me years ago ("Maxum" brand). It does a great job, particularly on whole-wheat bread, which can be tough to work with.
Last year, I started experimenting with sourdough starter, because I was missing that crisp-crust, chewy inside, peasant-type bread that I used to buy but cannot find here. I had mixed success.
Recently, I wrote a post for wisebread.com entitled "10 Delicious But Difficult Recipes Made Easy." One of the recipes I deemed difficult was good bread, and I started researching recipes for an easy yet professional-tasting loaf. The one I decided to try comes via Mark Bittman (New York Times) on YouTube, at the Sullivan Street Bakery. It looked easy; I tried it, and it truly is. I need to work on my loaf-shaping (most things that I bake come out amoeba-shaped) but it's delicious.
This first photo shows me mixing the flour, yeast, salt and water. Oh, and there's Pumpkin napping, on the right.
Note: You will need to have a pan that has a cover, as you will see in the video. I used my roaster, which worked great. The hardest part is getting the loaf into the preheated pan. He makes it look so easy, in the video!
If you have always thought bread making was hard, you might give this a try.