Sourdough baguettes using a 10-minute cover -vs- pan/water steam
In my post last week about obtaining a holier crumb, a poster reminded me of using the cover method to produce steam for the loaves instead of my usual pan/water method. Using a large broiler pan, I produced the sourdough loves below. Pros: great flavor, great crumb, uniform loaf shape, no blow-outs. Cons: scores didn't open, crust disappointingly light-colored.
Compare the above to the below, which I produced from the same recipe using the pan/water steaming method: these loaves have open scores, but with blow-outs and a dense crumb (don't have crumb shot):
On the "closed" loaves above I maintained a 450-degree temperature throughout the bake, including the 10 minutes the "cover" was on. On the blown-out loaves, I started the oven at 500 degrees, and turned it down to 450 after 10 minutes.
Any thoughts on achieving the open crumb and loaf uniformity from the loaves above AND the open cuts and browning from the loaves below? On the up side, I feel like I'm getting closer, thanks to everyone's kind advice.