I cannot make a loaf of regular ol' sandwich bread to save my life. I have declared war on sandwich bread in the past, but feel a resolve to do so again. That or sit and whine about it. Its strange that it just isn't an option to say, ah, I'll just make something else. I don't want to buy a loaf of good, whole-wheat, real ingredients sandwich bread for $2.75 on sale or $3.25 regular price when I can make one so stinkin' cheap. I'm home anyway, its just a matter of getting into the habit of making it weekly. Oh yea, and there is the small matter being able to do it. Batty. I'm going batty.
So here is my experience so far: The yeast activates. The dough rises well-ish the first time. It doesn't quite double in size, but it rises a significant amount. Even if I leave it for double the length of time and stare at it the majority of the time to make sure its not just collapsing, it just doesn't get to be doubled in size. I usually call it good, punch it down according to the directions, and set it up to rise again. And it rises just a little more; not much. Its kind of frustrating. Then I realize its not going to turn out, but I figure I've come THIS far and I need SOMETHING to make sandwiches with so I'm going to finish it out. I divide it into the loaf pans, according to the directions, and let it rise in the pans. It never rises above the rim of the pan. It just shouldn't be like that. Normally I'm not too picky about my measurements and following a recipe obsessively. However, after the first two didn't turn out, I'm following the recipes to the letter. I even have figured out how much one cup of flour is supposed to weigh and have busted out my kitchen scale. Just to be sure that it turns out. Blegh.
If I can just get this loaf figured out, then I would like to tackle a from scratch, trapping wild yeast method, sour dough starter. It would be awesome to be able to make our own English muffins. I've quit buying them because I can't justify the couple bucks for them. I realize that its not much money, but its the principle of it. If I can make it, I will. But seriously, why do I think I can trap wild yeast and make an amazing loaf of bread from it if I can't even barely squeak out a basic sandwich loaf?