Speaking of Bread...
Unfortunately, I ate all my baguettes, so I will post pictures of my other bread endeavours in the future.
After consulting the board, I decided to try the french bread recipe again using the called-for mix of All purpose and Hard flour.
This time, I got noticably better results, with the first batch being light, airy (although still not as airy and beautiful as Mr. A Fish Called Wanda's loaves) with a beautiful brown crust (although the ears on Mr. A Fish Called Wanda's breads are simply works of art). Using the Bread Baker's Apprentice's recipe for french bread (although I added a few more tablespoons of water to the mix than suggested), I accidentally doubled the salt amount in the second mixture, and that, coupled with lack of available time forced me to bake my bread before the pre-bake rising was completed, giving me a denser and noticably saltier second set.
Using the second batch, I made the following sandwich for a friend of mine, who declared it being "delicious", not to mention that a squirrel attacked me in the park for the last piece of the sandwich...
Baguette, sliced along its length
Basil, barely wilted in extra virgin olive oil
Montreal Smoked meat, thin slices
Emmenthal Cheese, thin slices
Asian Pear slices, thin
tomato slices, thin
Honey Mustard spread (2 part grainy mustard to 3 parts honey)
Place a few leaves of basic on the bottom of sandwich, proceed with about 4 layers of the smoked meat. Then add cheese, pear slices, and tomato (1 layer each). Finally spread the honey mustard on the top slice of bread and sandwich. Eat.
That sounds like a great sandwich! That lucky squirrel -- or did he not get any?
I know you weren't looking for tips, but I used to have really great success w/ a recipe from Pierre Franey (I think it was one of his 60 Minute Meal series books) w/ really crispy crust and airy interiors. His trick is to throw a few ice cubes into the oven after the bread's been in for a few mintues. You have to open and shut the door real fast so the temp doesn't go down. But the steam created by the ice cubes helps make great french bread!
The situation was that my friend and I were sitting on a picnic table eating the sandwiches (a horde of ducks and a squirrel were hovering nearby and started approaching us when we sat down... she/my friend started feeling apprehensive). By the time we were down to our last sandwich, which was wrapped in parchment and in a white plastic bag, the squirrel jumped on the picnic table and stared at us for a while until it made a jump for my bag. Fortunately I was holding onto the bag at the time and I won the little tug of war match. The squirrel kept looking at me until I tried to bat it away with my plastic bag with the sandwich inside... alas, we decided that with reinforcements not far behind (the ducks), we beat a hasty retreat.
As for the ice cube method, I will definitely need to give that a try... I currently use a two-pronged method suggested in The Bread Baker's Apprentice, a baking tray in which a cup of hot water is added right before bread is put in, followed by four consecutive squirting sessions from a squirt bottle along the sides of the oven every thirty seconds or so apart.