Hello all. Here are some comments based on what I've learned in the interim. Periodic dough troubles have sparked adjustments, re-examination and refinements.
1. I still use the same recipe as written in my original post that pete-zza referenced below, although I no longer give the yeast 20 minutes to hydrate (I realized that the time elapsed while I finished weighing salt, oil, getting the mixer reasy, etc. was more than enough). The quantity of flour, however, is an approximation and I never weigh it. I start with 1.5 kg (one full, level flour scoop) per liter of water and add the remainder within the first five-six minutes of the mix . I'm more careful now than I used to be about keeping the dough on the wet side (as pete-zza recommends below). I think that it comes out best when, grabbing a fistful of dough in the bowl and then releasing, it sticks to my hand but then pulls away cleanly. I would descibe this sensation as "very tacky". I don't knead it after the mix.
2. The main problem I've had with the pizza balls other than excessively stiff dough (which, as pete-zza points out, is reluctant to form a smooth, sealed ball) is underproofed dough. This results in puffy, cranky pizza dough that is hard to handle. A nasty bout with this foe forced me to re-evaluate my process and seek consultation from a more skilled individual. As a result, I now use very warm water for the dough (105-110 F) and greatly increased the length of the room-temp rise after mixing. In both cases, the goal was to get the yeast to run through its vigorously active phase before it gets refrigerated for 48 hrs. The outcome is dough that is smooth, relaxed, easy to roll and very flavorful.
3. I also reduced the amount of "punching and folding" to which I treated the dough. The folding was originally an effort to strengthen the dough by periodically stretching and lengthening the gluten, as well as a way to keep the dough from overflowing its container. Realizing, however, that an aspect of my occassional problem was excessively strong dough, I now treat it much more gently, folding and flipping only twice: once during the initial rise and again before leaving it for the night.
3. Regarding foodblogger's question #2, the dough is portioned and rolled after the 48-hours under refrigeration, and I let those pizza balls proof at room temperature until they are roughly doubled in size (at which point they could be shaped into a pizza). I then put them back into the refrigerator, which slows down the development but keeps them in "a state of readiness" if you will. The pizza balls are cooked a minimum of 7 hours after being rolled (the VPN's rules dictate a six-hour minimum). At that point, 51 to 58 hours have elapsed since mixing.
Pete-zza: I'm not sure what you mean by "cracks" in the dough. Something other than holes in the bottom? A crust on top?