I think after years of trying I finally figured out how to make bread. The key for me is patience. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who knows me. Most of the time I just don't give my bread the time. I've made a great number of tasty hockey pucks, leaden loaves, and baguette bats.
With enough kneading, the right amount of yeast, and just a bit more patience, things turn out much better.