WOW!!! Tears to me eyes and approximately 10 years later and 5100+ views! I suppose that this is what teaching is all about. As my bread baking skills have evolved, I find that the book The Bread Bible by Beranbaum shows method(s) that are close to mine, particularly in the making of a hearth bread beginning on page 40 of the 2003 edition.
Basically once the preferment has been mixed with the remaining ingredients coarsely, it is then allowed to rest for up to 30 minutes prior to the kneading. This rest will allow the dough to hydrate much better than if kneading is initiated at the outset.
Then another 20-30 minute rest follows, followed by one to three french folds + 20 minute rest between folds. Finally to create surface tension shape the dough, using both arms, into a ball and allow to rest 10-20 minutes prior to final shaping and proofing. And into the oven it goes.
Using a preferment, I found that the dough doubles in bulk, THAT IS TO SAY, DOUBLES IN VOLUME, in approximately 20-30 minutes and not the hour or hour-and-a-half as many books state.
VERY IMPORTANT: for the dough to double in volume, its radius is 1.2 times its initial/unproofed radius and not twice its initial radius as many home bakers would intuitively think..
Edited by kokopuffs - 4/10/11 at 5:15am