The dough is ready to use once it has finished rising however it is much easier to handle if it is chilled first. I usually make it at least a day before I wish to use it.
The older the dough, the more it will take on sourdough-like characteristics. If you do not like strong flavoured bread use the dough when it is still quite fresh.
The water should only be lukewarm. Do not use hot water as you will kill the yeast. You can use cold water should you prefer, although this may increase your rising time.
The initial rise will take approximately 2 hours. The actual time will depend on the ambient temperature and will be longer in cooler weather. I have unintentionally risen the dough overnight on my benchtop with no detriment to the dough.
Once shaped, the dough will not appear to rise much during the resting time. This is normal as most of the rising will occur in the oven.
I use a piece of granite tile as my baking stone but I have also quite successfully baked the loaves on a baking tray.
Jeff & Zoe bake their loaves with steam to achieve a beautiful crust. They have produced a video
on the methods you can use to create this environment. I find in my oven that spritzing the loaf and oven with water is sufficient. I have also started to bake the loaves in a dutch oven with great success, as the dutch oven traps in the steam and helps produce a great crust.