Artisan bread in 5 (thanks, Carolyn!)
The basic bread recipe from Make the Bread, Buy the Butter (difficulty level: "if you can stir, you can make this bread." Love it).
Our Best Bites' Multigrain Bread.
I don't have a stand mixer, so that last recipe especially takes a little more elbow grease than I'd like. But it's delicious, so the end result is worth it.
Here's the thing, though: I don't think yeast works how these recipes think it works, at least not here in the UAE. I follow the directions in the recipes exactly, and my bread always, always fails to rise the way the recipe says it should. I know there are other variables that could influence this, but I am pretty confident that the yeast is the rogue element. The bread I make tastes delicious but its shape is always rectangular instead of square or (can you imagine?) square with that nice, puffy round top. This makes for awkwardly sized sandwiches and toast.
This summer, I bought some yeast in the US to see if it would make a difference. Yesterday, I made bread (the OBB recipe, above) with it for the first time.
The results were promising at first. On the second rise, in the pans, the bread actually puffed up above the rim of the pan, which is a first. I was hopeful that I would at last achieve that beautifully rounded top.
But after a few minutes in the oven, I checked the bread and it had fallen flat. Hmph. Still, it's more progress than I've made before. With the OBB recipe, I once had to let the loaves rise in the pans for three hours before they even approached the top of the pans. Yes, I'm using fresh yeast, and instant/regular according to the directions.
I'll try the other recipes, too, and see how they end up. For now, I've resigned myself to great-tasting but oddly shaped bread.