I love bread - a lot. Luckily for me, I like wheat bread especially. There is definitely a beautiful, heady fragrance that comes from wheat. I'm not talking about when it is fresh out of the oven (although that is heaven in its' own right). I mean cooled bread - it has a wonderful fragrance of its' own.
As part of my trending away from pre-made food, I've been sporadically doing some experiments with baking my own bread. I have in my head the whole "oooh - making bread is so hard!" thing, which is patently not true. I mean, c'mon - people in centuries before did it, so I'm sure that I can. And no - I don't mean by bread machine. I do own a bread machine, second-hand from a friend (it looks like R2D2!), and I definitely will be experimenting with it (the friend who gave it to me makes a great cheese bread in it - mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm). I'm talking free-hand, not even my KitchenAid mixer! I'm working to get a better sense of what the dough tells me - when to knead, and when to stop.
Anyway, I found this recipe at one of my favorite blogs, Orangette. I made a half batch, so I ended up with one loaf of bread. The good part - the loaf came together easily, rose beautifully. The bad part - the middle sunk in the baking, and I'm not sure if it was because I overkneaded. Also, I left out the optional salt - next time (if there is a next time for this recipe) I would definitely include it. The final result is a nicely basic bread - definitely edible - just not perfection, which I don't expect. It was all wheat flour, though, which is definitely a bonus for me.