Play it by ear
I've only recently started baking bread. I read lots of books & TFL posts & advice.
I followed recipe instructions to the letter, bought thermometers for the oven and kitchen & the rest but the results were never that good. I was always trying to achieve the 'window pane' test with dough but failed.
To test for rise & prove I poked my fingers in & never had it bounce back or whatever it's supposed to do.
The bread either didn't rise in the oven or there were crumb/crust problems. Basically I followed all of the advice and achieved poor results.
So, in the end I forgot all I'd learned. I tossed some flour/salt/yeast in a bowl & added water until it felt right. I neaded the dough, once again, until it felt right.
Rising & proving times I guessed & then I stuck it in the oven till it looked done.
I'm now making excellent bread (IMO).
So, it seems you just need to develop a feel for the process. You've gotta make a few duff loaves before you get it but hey, failed experiments are not expensive. Read up on the general stuff to get an idea of the territory and then just play it by ear. It certainly works for me.