Thanks to a combination of techniques learned here (better kneading, shaping and slashing, esp.) and (maybe) a new baking stone, my oven spring keeps getting better and better. Last night I baked a simple 25% WW loaf. After proofing my shaped oval loaf for 4.5 hours, I put nice long slashes mostly-lengthwise acroos the loaf and the cuts immediately opened up, showing I'm getting good surface tension. Slipped it on the hot stone, and within 5 minutes, it exploded.
I didn't get a clear picture of the crumb, I'll add that tonight.
It tastes fantastic. My wife doesn't like "wheat bread" but she loved the slice she had last night. The crust is crackly and chewy and the crumb is soft and airy. I'm very pleased.
My wife was asking me to make a "soft" white bread, so I hacked together a potato bread. I'm not really sure what the recipe was, but there was WAY too much potato. The dough was super sticky, but I forged ahead. Oven spring was fantastic, but the bread was so soft the bread fell back in on itself upon cooling (the slash mark was strecthed flat upon removal from the oven).
It tasted quite good, but the middle seemed too moist. It wasn't doughy/uncooked, but just way too moist. I'll have to up the bake time next time I try this.
I got a new 15x20' FibraMent stone, but Sunday was my first chance to temper/predry it. After slowly getting it up to 550 over 7 hours, I knew I'd want to bake something on it, so I made three slightly different loaves. I set up a poolish the day before, then split that into three doughs - 1 with no oil, 1 with a tbsp of butter, and 1 with a tbsp of olive oil (in that order in the picture). I shaped them different so I'll know which is which.
My slashing wasn't quite deep enough, but they all taste great.
In an attempt to slow down fermentation and try the less-work-but-more-time approach, I made a simple sandwich loaf. I baked the bread after it fermented 3 full days (1 day preferment, 1.5 days full dough bulk rise, 1/2 day in the loaf pan) only working with it in the evenings after work except for quick folding in the morning and moving it to the loaf pan the last morning.
After baking it, I found it to have a slight sourness to it that I enjoyed (my wife, however, did not). I didn't set out to make a sourdough, but I guess I have.