Is it possible to overproof?
I made the French Loaf using the Lean Dough Recipe from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Bread Everyday (ABED). The recipe said to leave the dough in the refridgerator overnight for fermentation, and it will double/triple in size after 4-12 hours. I took it out the next day, and noticed that the dough hasn't doubled at all (not even an inch). So I decided to leave it on the counter for about 6 hours. The dough doubled in volume and look promising. I know it's not a good idea to abandon the dough for too long, fearing overproofing, but the results turn out to be fantastic.
I've made many loaves in the past (using other recipes), where the dough doesn't "LOOK" doubled according to the recipe time, and I went ahead and bake it - I ended with many dense, gummy and heavy loaves - straight to the bin. This time, by neglecting the dough, I actually achieve a dream loaf with plenty of holes on the crumb, and is at least, edible for once.
So, my question is, is it alright for me to overproof my dough? What is the right way, to trust the recipe and go ahead even if the dough doesn't "LOOK" double, or to ensure it is without doubt, before baking. Should I watch the dough, or the clock?
Any advice is welcome.