For some really unknown reason, I decided last night that I had all the time in the world to make bread. I can be really stupid that way, when I decide I want something. Anyway, I've tried this recipe in the past, and found the amount of salt and sugar called for left the bread tasting like cooked paste. So, in the usual "I-know-what-I-know" fashion which is mine, I decided to alter Beth Hensperger's recipe somewhat. This worked out pretty well. I might try it again with a touch more salt, but this at least had some real flavor. Note that this is not a bread you want to try to finish off in an hour; it's a good 4 hour plus project. Fortunately, most of that 4 hours is spent doing other things while you wait for the dough to do its thing, so try it if you're bored on a Saturday afternoon (ha! like you ever are! I know you are all exciting people leading vastly entertaining lives, and only check on me to see just how dull life can be!).
1-3/4 cups warm water
1 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/2 teaspoons yeast
Put these ingredients in the bread machine mixing pan, and turn the machine on to knead for 10 minutes only. Then shut it off, set a timer and let it rest for one hour. Add:
2-1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Run this on the normal bread cycle in your machine, or follow my instructions for mixing by hand or in a mixer. Note that this is a sloppy and soft dough if you're not using the bread machine, so beware! Messes will abound! And I didn't get a picture of this before much of it was eaten, because one of the boys showed up, cut it, and began snacking. So I guess you could say that this revised recipe works.
Monica, as to your hard crust, I've heard that if you don't let a loaf cool before you cut it, the crust will be harder, because the moisture won't migrate to the crust. I don't know that for certain, because I almost invariably finish mine in the oven, but I do know that my English Muffin Bread has a thick, hard crust (which one of my daughters absolutely adores), and I always set that on the delayed timer, and let it bake in the machine.
Oh, and I made a sponge cake last night for dessert, which my husband said didn't have the right texture. But then he assured me that I wouldn't have to throw it out, he would eat it anyway. This is what's left this morning.