Hello from southeast Alaska
I joined this site 4 years ago, and have read many threads over the years, but have never posted.
I started baking bread soon after I graduated from college, and found myself living on my own for the first time. I wanted to understand the baking process, so I tried to make bread without following a recipe. I went to a bookstore, picked up a book about bread, and just read the list of ingredients from a simple recipe. I didn't read anything else from that book or that recipe; I went to the store, got those ingredients, and tried to make them work. It was an amusing failure - I basically made a couple large crackers. But it was a good learning experience. I went back to the store, read the rest of the recipe, and started to learn how yeast works. I have been making bread off and on ever since.
I had an experience recently which re-energized my interest in making bread. My 11-month-old son has been a fairly picky eater. I hadn't made bread since he was born, because we have been so busy. I decided to make bread for my wife for valentine's day. She loves olives, so I made her an olive ciabatta loaf. Our baby loved it! Watching our baby eat several slices of that bread with a huge smile on his face was one of the most satisfying foodmaking experiences I have ever had. It's nice to be making bread again!