Bulk fermentation time...what's the maximum? How to handle long bulk fermented dough?
Obviously the hydration of the starter and the temperature of the room that the bulk fermentation is taking place are factors in how long to bulk ferment...but I'm looking for visual identifiers.
After reading 'Crust' and seeing how Richard Bertinet lets his sourdough bulk ferment for 16 hours, I became intrigued. I've been usually waking up extra early in the morning following Hammelman's sourdough process to get a loaf ready to eat by lunch. So one night I experimented, I made a loaf following Hammelman's recipe, 'worked it' like Bertinet does then covered it and went to bed. 9 hours later the dough had probably tripled. So I carefully released it then folded and shaped it like Bertinet does. It probably was one of the best loaves I've made!
So my question is, what is the point of no return in regards to bulk fermentation? Will the dough eventually start deflating in the bowl and turn into a gooey mess? What is the proper way to handle a long bulk fermentation dough? I haven't really seen much discussion on this, Bertinet does his long fermentation in his proofing basket which he releases the dough and bakes immediately. I don't have any proofing baskets yet so I've been releasing the dough from the bowl and then shaping it into a boule. From this point I'm not sure which way to proceed. The dough seems to have enough spring to it at this point to be slashed and baked, yet I'm so programmed to allow it to proof again.
Here's some side information about my process and starter:
I've went back and forth on using proofing boxes and room temperature to obtain a sour sourdough. I have finally decided that I do not want to rely on alternative means to keep my starter and dough at a certain temperature to reach my goals. So now after some experimenting, I feed my starter once a day and use over-ripe starter to reach my flavor goals.
Room temperature: 60-64F
Starter: Fed once a day @ 100% hydration WW flour: Zerowater filtered water (at room temperature) @ 1:10:10.