Finally Got an ear ... !
So ... I finally got an ear (!!) which is good and I'm very happy. Huzzah!!
The "good" loaf is misshapen (the "bad" loaf is horribly misshapen) ... I did not do what I normally do, which is to jury-rig a couche with kitchen towels. I need a real linen couche, which is on my list of things to get. My older daughter (14 yo) was very surprised when I pulled the finished loaves from the oven and noted the ear (lol).
I made 2 loaves and was focusing on developing good surface tension, so I followed Dave Snyder's method of preshaping by forming into a ball, followed by final shaping and proofing. I put the loaves on floured cutting boards and let the final loaves proof seam-side up. When I went to bake I flipped the loaves, cut them, and loaded the oven (bakes at 520F for ~15 minutes, then 475F until browned ... interestingly this time it took quite a long time to brown to the degree I wanted). Steaming was accomplished with ice cubes every 3 minutes in a roasting pan, which was placed on the oven floor.
I followed Reinhart's BBA recipe, slightly modified it to use 1/8th ww and 1/8th rye flours. Also went to a bit over 14.5 ounces of water to get hydration in the neighborhood at 72%. I had some timing problems ... after kneading I placed the dough in the refrigerator with the intention of a 24-hour cold ferment. It ended up cold fermenting for 36 hours before I could do the final shaping, etc. Didn't seem to negatively impact the loaves. I bought some white rice flour and used it for the kneading, shaping, and final proofing. I might have used a bit too much but I'm not overly worried about it.
The better looking loaf was formed 2nd, and is closer to the right shape. I'm not sure if they're underproofed, I usually let the loaves proof at 80F for like 2 hours but for these I proofed them at 80F for about 45 minutes.
So I'm almost there. Need to focus on the final shape and use a couche.
On the flavor ... the bread is excellent. It's not sour despite the use of sourdough starter, but I really don't care about that. Interestingly my younger one had a slice for breakfast, and had to have a second slice because she liked it so much(!).
Crumb shots are from the "bad" loaf, one shot with a flash and one without.