One of the things I say to myself regularly is, "I should bake more of my own bread." Because homemade bread is so good compared to most store bread, and there's a sense of accomplishment in being able to do it. What holds me back is that there's the rising time to consider (when you get home from work at 5 pm, having fresh homemade bread for dinner isn't really a possibility, unless you eat at a European type dinner time, which I cannot do).
I have a bread machine, but the failure rate of bread machine breads is higher than the failure rate of scratch-made breads. I'm not sure why, but periodically I will get a bread out of the bread machine that either didn't rise right, or else rose too much too early and then collapsed. With breads that are entirely hands-on, I generally avoid that.
But there are some breads that take less time. I started this one around 4 pm and had it done by 6:45. It's called Fougasse. It's a type of flatbread (like focaccia, and I wonder if the words fougasse and foccacia share a common linguistic root). It's a French Provencal bread, designed to have herbs included in it. (I used Bouquet Garni; I wanted to use Herbes de Provence but couldn't find my little bottle of it, and Bouquet Garni is similar. But you could use whatever you wanted).
The recipe made two. This is the better looking of the two. (I'm not always so great at "shaped" breads). You're supposed to slash it so it bakes properly (I suspect also so it won't puff up so much).
It was very good. I do think next time I'd make more changes - a more generous hand with the herbs (they suggested 1 1/2 tsp. if you used dry herbs, and that wasn't quite enough) and replace some of the white flour with a whole-wheat, to make the bread more rustic.
I do want to try making more breads this fall. There's something so nice about homemade bread - something homey and good and making a successful loaf of bread can help me recover from days where things didn't go totally right otherwise. ("Well, at least I can still make bread"). I'm considering ordering some malt extract from King Arthur - several of the recipes I have call for it, and while you could leave it out, it does give a good flavor.
I also want to try bagels some time, yes, even with the whole broil-first-then-boil-then-bake steps, though that's probably a Saturday afternoon project rather than a late-afternoon spur-of-the-moment thing.