@homebreadbaker, thanks for the great post. Coincidentally, just yesterday I baked a bread that completely validates your method! And it is what I think is my best tasting bread ever, the one I’ve been striving for for 2-1/2 years. I wanted to time the bake to be right after baking bagels so as to not heat the stone twice, but then the bagel project got delayed by a day, so I left the bread dough in the fridge a total of 34 hours. The grand total from mixing to baking was 46 hours, 34 of which were in the fridge, the rest on the counter before and after the fridge. After the final proof, the room temp dough went onto a preheated stone, and while it did spread a bit (probably due to rye flour), the resulting flavor and crust were fantastic and made up for the slight flatness of the loaf. If I had baked it in my clay baker it would’ve been loftier, but I don’t think the crust would not have been as good.
I took the laziness one step further and did not knead the dough at all. During the first room temp period of 7 hours (after mixing and letting rest 1/2 hr), I did 4-5 stretch and folds at random times. After the bulk fermentation (34 hrs later during which negligeable rising took place) as it was coming to room temp over 3-4 hours, I did maybe two very gentle stretch and folds. When I shaped it, it felt quite poofy but had only risen maybe 50%. The final proof was about 1-1/2 hrs and again only rose about 50%.
It was a loaf of 600 g flour: 75% whole grain and 25% bread flour. The whole grain flour was home milled (Mockmill): 25% hard red, 25% hard white, 25% rye. Hydration was 75%. Salt 2%. Starter 15g.
The holes are a little weird, and some were much bigger than those in the photo. Not sure why. I hope I can replicate it. It’s half eaten so now I have to get going on the next one!