I may be drooling a bit because I can't have bread. Other than sneaking crackers, I have not had a piece of bread since November because of my diet. Some may think it torture to have to bake bread for the family under these circumstances, but I didn't mind. In fact, did you know that kneading bread can give you 10 minutes in zone 2 if you do it right? It did for me. Working out and taking care of the family. Can't complain.
I have been a bit lazy the past year. Using my bread maker all the time. But a few weekends ago it ticked me off. For some unknown reason, all the molasses I put in the bread pan (second ingredient in) ended up outside the bread pan. Do you know what burned molasses smells like? Do you know how hard it is to get that smell out of your house, let alone the bread maker!?
I taught myself how to bake bread in college. I bought a book on the recommendation of a friend, a book that is now worn, and looks loved. The Tassajara Bread Book. It has detailed instructions on what to do and why you should want to do it. Good stuff. I love making bread, it just takes time. A little patience. Sometimes a bit of strength.
It may take longer than the bread maker, but the bread maker never lets the dough really rise enough. It also is not capable of kneading it the way your hands can. I am not saying my bread maker and I are party ways, quite the opposite. I am just saying that I am going to use for things like pizza dough and jam. The things it does well. It never really has done 100% whole wheat the way I like it.