For years, I battled bread dough. I could never get it to rise properly and it made me crazy. I would put the yeast away, refusing to attempt something I would fail at. Then, one night it just clicked. I don't know if it was just finally "my time" or I found the proper descriptions over at The Fresh Loaf but I finally got a beautiful loaf of artisan-style bread.
This is the base recipe I use to start all of The Wright Taste's crusty artisan-style breads. I change a few ingredients around when I want a different flavor.
Play with it - see what kind of success YOU can have!
Bread Making 101 - Easy Artisan Bread