We are lucky enough to have an outstanding bakery, Clear Flour Bread, in our neighborhood. But there is still nothing like homemade bread. My recipe is far from secret, it is adapted from a basic cookbook, and it is about as simple as possible -- but my daughter likes it best, so here it is.
My far from secret bread recipe
2 cups warm water
1 tbsp. active dry yeast (I like Red Star)
5 cups bread flour (my favorite is King Arthur bread flour)
1 tbsp. salt
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Combine the flour and salt in a standup mixer. Slowly pour the yeast mixture into the flour mixture while running the dough hook through the whole mess at low speed. Increase the speed and knead the glop until it seems to take some sort of shape.
Pour a small amount of olive oil into a large bowl, then add the dough, flupping it about until it is covered with olive oil (this will keep it from sticking to the bowl). Cover the bowl loosely with plastic and leave it in a warm place for about 3 hours.
When the dough has risen, set the oven to 425 degrees Farenheit. Shape the bread any way you like (I like to make 3 long baguettes, but you could also do one or two big loaves). Let the shaped dough rise again for about a half hour. Before you put the loaves into the oven, sprinkle the top with a bit of coarse kosher salt and fresh pepper.
Bake the loaves for about a half hour. They are done when the color is breadlike and they make a sort of hollow echoing noise when you tap on the bottom with your finger. Eat them with enthusiasm.