There was no bakery where we lived in Texas and I really wanted some good bread. So, thinking I was being smart, I bought a bread machine. The only good thing about a bread machine is it makes bread in the middle of the night and you can wake up to the smell of fresh bread for breakfast. Other than that the stuff is not really all that good.
When we separated, my wife kept the bread machine. I suspect she never used it. I was annoyed at first but determined to have good bread so I bought two books. One I still have but the other was entitled something like the Village Baker. It was all about Italian and French baking and started from the beginning. "This is wheat....".
Take six cups (properly measured, no dipping) of flour. Dump it in a pile on the counter. Make a dent in the middle and start adding water. Throw some salt on it and some yeast (although eventually I made the yeast also in a 10 day yield of home made sour dough starter) in and stir with your finger. Keep adding water as you stir until you are working the dough into a ball. Then knead.
It was absolutely the basic of all basics of baking. Pan Ordinaire. I loved it. I had a huge wooden bowl and used it frequently.
Finally I let myself graduate to my mom's old Kitchenaid mixer. It is now probably 60 or so years old and still going strong. I'm lazy now and only knead a bit towards the end but I still use the same two books I got 20 years ago and still love the bread:
This is Celeste's Sunflower Seed bread from The Bread Bible. Every bit as good as it looks.