I decided last night to make bread with a simple starter. I found this recipe in Beth Hensperger's Bread Machine Cookbook. It can be made from start to finish in the bread machine, although I prefer to "play with" my bread dough and form my own loaves. I did make some changes to the original recipe, which I'll explain at the end.
PANE TOSCANA (Tuscan Bread)
1-3/4 cups water
2-1/2 tsp. yeast
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
Put these ingredients in your machine and set it for the dough cycle. Let it mix for 10 minutes, then turn it off and leave the starter sitting in the closed bread machine for one hour. This is what you will see:
After one hour, add:
2-1/2 cups white flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Restart the bread machine to mix these with the starter. After about 15 minutes, when the dough is completely mixed, remove from the machine and form into 2 round, country style loaves. Let them rise for an hour or more, until doubled in size, then bake 35 to 40 minutes at 375.
Instead of 1 teaspoon each sugar and salt, use only a pinch of each. I tried this, and, frankly, the bread tasted like baked paste. Maybe it would be great dipped into a really spicy marinara sauce, but it was far too bland for my family.
Instead of calling for forming the loaves, the original recipe calls for the bread machine to be set on the French Bread setting with a dark crust, and removed from the pan when done.
Also, the recipe notes that this does not make good toast. I have no opinion on that.