Three weeks in France raises the bar
Since most break-baking professionals tend to emulate French bakers, I thought it might be instructive to post this picture and present some questions I am unable to answer at this time.
We recently spend three weeks in France (in Northern Brittany and Paris), which really raised the bar of my bread baking aspirations. Take the following sour-dough rye loaf I purchased in the "inter-marche" (normal grocery store) in Brittany, France. Notice the shape of the loaf. It is triangular. In France, each bakery has characteristic shapes, sizes, and slashing patterns. This was the only time I ever saw a shape like this. The crumb was light and hole-y, but still had the "cake-like" texture characteristic of good rye loaves. There are a few things I would like to know:
1. How did the baker retain the shape of this loaf while still maintaining hydration?
2. There were no slashes, but the crust was also not broken. How? Is that a feature of hydration and extensibility?
3. In France, to be considered rye, they have to have a certain percentage of rye flour to white. This bread had a crumb that I cannot replicate with the 50:50 rye:white mix I use in my siegle au levain. How did they make a nice dark rye loaf and keep an airy crumb?