After reading the Bourke Street Bakery book the thought of baking my own bread has haunted me, despite my declaration that I didn't ever want to become involved in the whole sour dough process.
So .... I began by going back to the Dan Leppard approach which involves preparing a leaven which is then frozen in loaf size nuggets. When you want to make bread you revitalise the frozen chunks, and add flour and water . The rest of the process is pretty simple, a few seconds kneading every hour or until the dough is ready to bake. What put me off this method was the 4 or 5 hours of messing about with kneading the dough - like it or not this would mean having to devote a whole day to the process.
A bit more web based research came up with the technique for baking Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The real appeal of this approach is that there is absolutely no kneading involved. All I have to do is remember to get the dough our of the refrigerator a couple of hours before dinner and we can have freshly baked bread with our soup and cheese. I'm still playing around and getting mixed results. Finding the best flour involves a bit of experimentation. Developing a good starter takes patience - rather than start from scratch with each new batch I am adding a portion of the last batch every time I make up a new mix. I'm also varying the time I allow the dough to rise before baking and I want to try Dan Leppard's method of baking in a covered pan rather than messing about trying to create steam in the oven.
The results look a bit rustic but all the loaves so far have had a very acceptable texture and flavour - and if there is any left over it makes great toast. And whats more baking bread is not a chore - it's fun!