One more attempt on the hearth
I was not completely satisfied with my last bake. Although the crumb was what I had been trying to replicate, the overall look of the baguette was dissatisfactory. Since the baking stone is there, I just had to do it one more time. With some mental mise en place and a fewer loaves to juggle, the results were a little better. The 3 shorter loaves were baked on the stone as those were the only ones that fit.
Hamelman showed a series of baguettes which were baked with steam and the use of a baking stone as variables. My results concurred with the pictures shown in the book. Those baked on the hearth had that open crumb texture found in authentic French baguettes as can be seen in Eric Kayser's books.
There are still areas for improvement and one of the obvious one to correct is the shaping. I am shaping my baguettes on a smooth piece of marble. I found this to be a little too tacky when I roll the baguettes. From the videos of the pros, they seem to be using wooden work tops but I am not sure if I want to acquire yet another piece of baking equipment.
Many bakers say that the baguette is the simplest loaf but in reality, it is the most difficult bread to bake well. From the fermentation to the handling, it takes many iterations before one gets the feel for it.