Cupcakes are not my strength; I know that. But bread I'm good at. Sometimes, people ask for bread-baking advice.
Here it is:
1. always always always proof the yeast and make sure the water is the right temp (105-110), and if the recipe calls for honey or sugar or molasses, add it now
2. use a dough-rising bucket (nice & steamy)
3. let the dough rise in a warm place (I cover the bucket with dish towels and set it near a heating vent in the winter)
4. use temp as a guide to when the bread is done (recipes vary but usually around 190)
I use a stand mixer for about half of whatever kneading is required. The results are generally good, if I do say so myself.