I've baked many loaves of the Basic Country Bread out of the Tartine Bread book and they have all come out very good to great. Many friends and family members have told me it's their favorite of all the breads I bake. So I decided to try the Tartine baguette, and my expectations were very high. Either I screwed up (a distinct possibility) or this recipe/formula has some issues. First of all, it makes a huge batch of dough. The directions say to form it into two or three loaves. Perhaps if I had a commercial oven and could make 24 inch baguettes, three would be the right number of loaves, but limited by a 16 inch baking stone, my loaves are not what one would consider to be proper baguettes. The timing and manner of the salt addition is also a bit awkward. About 40 minutes into the bulk fermentation you are directed to add the salt when you do the first S&F. I didn't think the salt got incorporated very uniformly.
The loaves proofed up like balloons in the Macy*s parade and exhibited prodigious oven spring (I use Sylvia's wet towel steaming technique).
As for the eating - Tasty, but not the best baguette I've eaten by a long shot. These are my baguettes a l'ancienne, which are of proper size and are much tastier: To be fair, the crust is very good; thin and crackling. You should have heard how it sang when it first came out of the oven.
Has anyone else made this Tartine baguette?