Yes, I bake bread. No, I am not an expert baker. I do, however, desire to have my kids eat their sandwiches on a healthy, hearty bread that isn't full of extra ingredients that I can barely pronounce. The bread maker I bought at a garage sale last summer is one of the best eight dollars I have ever spent. It looked like brand new, came with the original instruction book, and makes homemade bread super simple. I use it to make a sandwich loaf 5 or 6 times a week as well as our weekend pizza dough, Sunday cinnamon rolls, and other things once in a while like dinner rolls or an italian bread that is great with pasta. The timer on it is a wonderful thing because I can put the ingredients in at night, set the timer, and when I get up in the morning, the dough is ready to come out of the bread maker and go in the oven (I do not like the way the bread turns out if you bake it in the bread maker, but it's great for dough). Here's the recipe I've been using-
(put in the bread maker in this order)
9-11 oz of water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour (or you can sub 1/2 cup for wheat germ or oat flour)
2 1/2 tsp of yeast (mine is "active dry" and I buy it at Sam's Club, but I think that's the same as "instant dry."
I have found through trial and error that the flour you buy does make a difference. Hodgeson's Mill was a crumbly nightmare, King Arthur is fine, but my favorite is Bob's Red Mill in the white bag. Also, this bread tends to get crumbly if you don't use it within 2 days, but around here it doesn't last that long so it's not usually a problem. Let me know how it works out for you!