I have been baking bread for about a year, I call myself a novice.
Although some loaves have come out looking and tasting good, they still were lacking something.
Until now. I made a few tweaks and feel this loaf is something I can say hit the mark.
What I did different:
Normally I use 100% home milled flour mix of white and red wheat. This time I used 1/3 white bread flour and 2/3 home milled red wheat.
I noticed the white flour caused the dough to feel wetter so I added more flour. After looking at some other recipes it seems most are around 65% hydration. I have been using around 75% so I am going to try for closer to 65% now.
I was pressed for time so I took the dough out of the Banneton before I thought it was really ready. I decided to slash it and it took the slash really well and opened up nicely. Usually when I slash it is difficult and sometimes results in "deflation".
I have read in the past about baking with a clouche in the oven. So this time I put the dough on the hot baking stone and covered it with an inverted Pyrex bowl to act as the clouche. Normally I look for oven spring in the first 5-10 minutes of baking, I did get some but not a lot. The complete suprise was after 30 minutes I took the pyrex bowl off and the sucker took off. I have never seen oven spring like that 30 minutes into the oven, totally unexpected. Took the finished Boule to a dinner party and it was gone before the meal started.
I am not sure exactly which tweaks account for the results or if it was just a fluke. If it was the 1/3 white flour I can certainly live with that. I am going to try and repeat this tomorrow.