I do believe I am closing in on my goal of a tasty, presentable and above all reliable baguette, folks. At the very least, the results have been reliably tasty of late, which will do for a start!
Anyway, here was last week's bake. Still a lot of bursting between cuts despite loading the steam pans a couple minutes before loading the loaves. Great ears though.
Crumb (For the loaf on top, I believe)
Moments Later, as BLT
For this week's bake I switched over to the King Arthur Bread Flour (instead of AP), primarily because my wife did the shopping last week and that's what she picked up. Worth a try, anyway. I also threw a cup of water onto the floor of the oven after loading the baguettes, to get some extra steam. Also, by accident I forgot to take the steam out of the oven, so I had steam for the full 26 minutes of the bake. Oops!
Not bad, eh? Not as much ear as past weeks--probably at least in part because of the flour. But only a little bit of bursting. The baguette on the bottom is just about perfect (this one is pictured in the crumb shot). Though I'm also quite proud of the one in the middle. It won't win any beauty contests, but the plastic wrap stuck to the top of that one during the proof, leaving a sticky, slack surface. The fact that I got any kind of regular looking score on it is a victory I wouldn't have had a few months ago (this victory brought to you by TMB baking ).
Crust was good although a little...leathery, for lack of a better word (this sounds worse than it was). Probably because of the excess steam during the second half of the bake. Crumb was fantastic: open, creamy, flavorful. If I could bake baguettes just like this every time, I'd be happy. I could bake them like this but with the ears from last week, I'd be in home bakers' heaven.
Happy baking, everyone.