I stumbled across this fantastic site today while searching for how to use a lame, and have decided that I don't actually need one, so THANK YOU so much for saving me $10.
I'm a stay at home mom of 4 children (14, 14, 7 and 4) who prefer store bought white bread (rubber bread), and much to their annoyance I persevere in making my own. I have been using a bread machine for 12 years (a Panasonic with yeast dispenser), but recently have discovered the joys of making it all by hand without any machinery (allowing me realize that I have a lot of time during the day).
I've started with bread from "The Tassaraja Bread Book", a wonderful book with a casual approach to making bread- great for a novice bread baker like myself who can get lost and overwhelmed with little details like exact temperature and the need for exotic equipment like baking stones and spray bottles.
I have added to my bread library "The Bread Bible", "The Bread Baker's Apprentice", "200 Fast and Easy Artisan Breads" along with many many photocopies from books I borrowed from the library (did I mention how expensive 4 children can be to feed and clothe?). Added to these are my bread machine recipe books that have recipes easily adapted to hand breadmaking and bought before the 4th expensive child. These are all wonderful and I fully intend to use them once I feel more confident about making bread by hand and can say with pride, "Oh right, I need 7 hours to make Portuguese Sweet Bread? HA!" and go on my merry way.
My late father used to make bread for our family as I was growing up, and like my own brood of children we begged for store bought rubber bread. Unfortunately, eventually my father listened and stopped making bread. I would give a lot for a loaf of his bread, it just goes to show how wrong children are so I don't listen to mine. Ever.
And now I must admit that I caved in and bought a baking stone. Hopefully you can still all respect me enough to share your experience and recipes with me.
And as a drinking game, take a drink each time you read the word bread in this post.
Thanks so much!