My first loaves
I've used my bread machine for a few years, but these are the first I've done by hand. They're from JMonkey's "Poolish Baguettes" recipe in Section III: Recipes of TFL. I started the Poolish Thursday night, planning to bake Friday, but had to fridge it for a day and do it earlier Saturday. I punched it down before putting it in the fridge, and it had returned to double size by the time I got to baking. No harm.
I've still got to work on my scoring and shaping (see that saddleback view of the baguette the crumb shot is resting on.) I never really achieved windowpane while kneading, because I was having trouble with the stickiness of the dough. It was also pretty strong, meaning that I couldn't grab a good portion the dough and pull it from the main mass without muscling it a bit. I gave it fifteen minutes and called it a day. The crust has some bubbles pushing through, but was otherwise good, and had lots of crispy little mini-bubbles over it, which I enjoy. The top of the crust was noticeably stiffer than the sides, which made cutting a little funky. I baked on the top middle rack, with my water pan on the rack below. Maybe it was too close to the top burner or the heat accumulated in the top of my oven (generic electric wall oven.)
I toasted the first loaf (not shown here because my kids ate it before I got the camera out.) I was very pleased with the flavor. It had that classic French bread taste, and a chewiness and crustiness that I haven't had in a store-bought baguette.
All in all, I was pleased with the results, and enjoyed the effort.