My First Foray into Homemade Bread

I would like to venture into making bread from scratch this weekend. I've found a few recipes that seem simple and straight forward and perfect for the beginner bread maker. I have some questions and would love the SE community feedback:

1) Almost all the recipes call for Bread Flour. Is it necessary? Can I sub it for AP Flour?

2) All the recipes call for either a breadmaker or at least a stand mixer. I have neither. I'm assuming using a hand mixer would result in disaster? Can I mix the dough by hand?

3) I have a ceramic bread pan. Should I buy a metal or glass pan instead? Will it affect the results?

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