To knead or not to knead, that's the question!
Unfortunately, I don't have any experience with buckets of dough, but, as an active home baker, my experience is that both techniques work. The final loaves will likely turn out different, so it boils down to your particular recipe, and what you find most attractive in the loaf.
There's a brilliant discussion about mixing in Suas' "Advanced Bread and Pastry". If you don't have the book, a condensed version can be found here: SFBI Newsletter
A very short knead, followed by a long bulk fermentation and several folds, will typically result in an irregular crumb structure and a slightly lower bread profile. The dough is often a bit wet, and the extensibility of the dough is favored over strength. A well-kneaded dough will have a much more developed gluten network, more strength, a rounder bread profile and a more regular crumb, with many small pockets.
I like to do a "short mix" for your average Italian-style doughs (wet ciabattas etc.), while I prefer better mixed doughs for just about anything else. I'm usually aiming for a sort of windowpane, not a perfect one, but still signs of a well-developed dough, and then often a single (or no) fold(s) midway during bulk fermentation.
But, as I said, it's down to what you prefer!
Edited by hansjoakim, 19 February 2009 - 01:17 AM.