Use a candy thermometer to make sure you don't kill your yeast. Optimal yeast temp varies by brand. Read the label.
If the yeast doesn't froth up, make a new batch.
King Arthur bread flour is the best, IMO.
Never use any oil--never.
If the bread tastes salty, reduce the amount of salt next time as you are preventing your yeast from rising correctly.
Don't try multitasking with bread. Concentrate on it alone, and pray.
Oh yeah, practice, practice, practice.