I have had two bread machines over the course of the last fifteen years. While I love the convenience, I have never been keen on the shape and flavor of the loaves that come out of either machine. Since I have started using the bread machine as a dough maker and not a baker, I am a bread making machine myself!
I find that I can use most any recipe or any bread mix and it works swell. I put the ingredients in the machine (wet first, then dry, last yeast) and select the dough cycle. It still takes about the same amount of time from start to finish, but oh-my-gracious, what a difference! No more lopsided loaves. No more off-taste.
Here's a surefire white bread recipe: (This is for a 1 1/2 to 2 pound capacity machine.)
Put 1 cup lukewarm water and 1/3 cup lukewarm milk (I nuke the milk for about 15 seconds) in the pan of the machine. Add 3 T cubed unsalted butter, 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (or combo of flours you like), 3 T sugar, 1 1/2 t Kosher salt. Gently swish the flour mixture just to lightly combine. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour a package of yeast in the center. Set the machine to dough cycle and press Start. This cycle takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes in my machine.
When the dough cycle is finished, put the dough out on a floured surface and knead a few times. Roll up and tuck the ends under. Put into a sprayed bread pan. Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm spot for about an hour. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 - 50 minutes. While hot, brush onto the crust 1T melted butter. Yu-ummm!