I love to bake. Always have. Ever since I was a little girl standing on the chair next to my grandmother making cakes.
Even as a teen I would experiment with recipes out of cookbooks instead of using a boxed cake mix.
I collect cake, cookie and goodie recipes like little girls collect stuffed animals. I still haven't mentioned that one item so many otherwise avid cooks and bakers avoid. That one ingredient that strikes fear deep in the heart of homemakers everywhere....
:::cue scary music::::
It's amazing how many people will deep fry a turkey ( ACK!! ), attempt Baked Alaska, bone a salmon....or any other manner of difficult cooking tasks but won't touch yeast breads.
It is NOT that hard and I find to be one of the most rewarding and appreciated items one can make, not to mention the $$ you save. A few tips. Use fresh yeast. If it is too old it won't activate well and your baked goods will be dense and doughy. Use good flour. Some people doesn't think it matters but I can taste the difference. I prefer King Arthur products. And when making breads a good high protein (bread) flour does help but all purpose will work.
Here is a good simple recipe to start:
Ciabatta Bread/Pizza Crust
I'm linking directly to my friend, Joanne's blog, as she has nice pictures of this recipe!
I enjoy making a sweet egg bread that I often turn into cinnamon swirl bread. I'd give the recipe but I don't have one. I eyeball it.
There are tons of great breadmaking websites on the net.
This is a friend of mine: http://www.northwestsourdough.com/
Allrecipes.com has lots of wonderful recipes. It's my go-to place when I'm looking for most anything.