|Just mixed dough ready for kneading
2) Don't stint on the kneading.
3) Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the bread. (190 degrees F)
Experience and practice are the best teachers, even when you have a guide ( a teacher or a recipe ).
Even failure, while daunting, makes you wise and able.
|Dough kneaded sufficiently, ready for the first rise
|The dent which shows it's ready to punch down, and start the second rise
The baking time given in a recipe is only an approximation. Again, the conditions which prevail in your kitchen and oven are the gospel which must be attended. Most every oven has its quirks, strengths and faults.
People often use a thermometer to check a roast, but if you use one to check the internal temperature of your bread, it will take the worry and stress out of the indecision which occurs sometimes at the moment of truth - the moment the bread is ready to be removed from the oven.