I have designated bread as one of the Big Six, and the rationale for all of the Big Six is that we eat so much of them that they ought to be of the very highest quality. Hence we would normally make them ourselves.
The Big Six include barbecue sauce, bread, mayonnaise, salad dressing, soup and tomato sauce. It isn't hard to find recipes for them on the Internet, and lately I have seen a recipe for whole-grain bread in the latest issue of Mother Earth News magazine that worked perfectly for me. That leads us to a deeper discussion of making bread at home.
If you have a family that doesn't like whole-wheat bread, my go-to Big Six bread recipe is just fine, made as it is with all-purpose flour. It is also simple, especially if you have a stand mixer. Like most bread recipes, you simply place all the ingredients into the mixer except the water, than turn it on to Speed 1 and add the water. Mix, rise, form and bake, and you are there.
There are more complicated methods of making bread, though, which come from a time before yeast was cultivated and commonly available. One that we have all seen and/or heard about is sourdough. If you want to buy sourdough "starter," you can get it online from the King Arthur Flour Company or at our local health-oriented supermarkets like Sprouts.
Starter lives in your refrigerator and has to be fed and maintained because it is a living thing. It also has to be used or it will go bad; hence you use some, make up bread or pancakes or whatever, and then replenish the starter.
Another method of baking bread is what you'll see on the Mother Earth News cover this issue, which is a whole-grain recipe that uses a sponge and a soaker, which are combined the day after they are mixed, and baked up. The recipe is available online as well as in the pages of this issue, and of course if I picked it up at Sprouts in Tucson you could get a copy as well.
I have made this bread now twice, once by combining an all-purpose flour with a soaker of whole wheat. I made it yesterday and today with 100% whole wheat, and to my delight I finally have found a way to make whole-wheat bread that rises and looks like what I have been buying in supermarkets (because heretofore I haven't been able to make it well).
You can look at my photo above, which is the actual bread that I baked this afternoon. It is as high and light as white bread, so as far as I am concerned you ought to try making your own bread.
I might mention that if you are prepared to get a good hand mixer, there are some like my Oster (from Super Target in Tucson) that come with double bread hooks, which look like little stainless-steel spirals and mix bread just fine. When I was working I used to make bread on the weekends, slice it when it cooled, and store it in the freezer. During the remainder of the week I would take out a slice or two at a time for lunch...you aren't buying lunch at work, are you? That's very expensive!
So take another look at my photo and get motivated. Bread is the Staff of Life, and there is a reason for that.