Welcome to breadmaking. I have been doing it for a year now and I love the variety and tastes possibe..
If you have a stand mixer, or possible a food processor, with a dough blade, this would be an easier choice for the initial mix.
If not, I agree with Dave. You are looking for a "dough ball" in the initial mix. From that point you are off to the kneading. I also agree with Dave in that the "liquid balance" is everything in bread making. There is a "feel" to the final dough ball. I have heard it described as a baby's butt. Firm, but, not hard, elastic, not too soft. Once you get that feel, you are good to go for whatever kind of bread you want to make.
I suggest a bread diary. At leant a mental, if not written. If you do this you will learn by doing and it will go a long way to repeatability, which is the ultimate goal.
Again welcome, glad to have another "old fassion" bread maker.
One difference between a cook and a chef is that the cook mows the lawn, while the bread is rising.