You can use all purpose flour. You can not use self raising... The "bread"
flours just have more gluten and are usually a better milling than all
purpose. But if you have a quality all purpose, it is probably just as
Gluten is sold at most large grocery stores (like you local
Giant). Usualy one puts about a Tbs spoon full in a loaf of bread. It is
used with whole wheat and all purpose flours that are too coarse or do not
have enough gluten in them. What it does is set up the structure in the
flour that makes it sticky and traps the air bubbles made by the yeast
(which is how the bread raises).
Nope you can omit salt and sugar, as long as you understand what
you are doing. Salt limits the growth of the yeast, so if you use less
salt you need either less sugar, or less yeast, or both. Salts other
importance is taste...
Sugar can be substituted or omitted. Substitues would be orange
juice concentrate (also adds water), applesause, jelly, fruit, etc... If
you choose to omit the sugar, you will need more yeast and less salt...
Note some recipes will not work if you make these changes, but
most will, if you get the rest of the stuff figured out right. A loaf of
bread is a delicate balance of the ingredients.
"Proof the yeast" is a term when using a sour dough starter. Get
used to regular loaves, then start experimenting here. With sour dough you
add some flour and water mixture that has fermented and to allow you to
keep a portion of this for future use. You have to feed the "starter"
water and flour and let it ferment (or proof) for some time (8-12 hours
you must be exact with certain things, somethings can be pinched.
but 1) water, 2) flour, 3) yeast must be EXACT. A loaf is again a delicate
balance of ingredients and your machine is a programmed to do things at
certain times. If you bake by hand, you feel it and watch it and if it need
more time you give it more, if it need more water you give it to it. the
bread machine does nothing like this, at 20 minutes it stops kneading
period, whether or not the dough is too dry, or too wet, or needs more
Also becareful, a too dry dough can damage your machine.