I freely admit this belongs in the category of obsession, but there is a specific look I always want to achieve for my baguettes and sometimes I get it, but I have a hard time reproducing it.
Here is an example of what I'm looking to achieve:
Here's the scoring before baking:
Here's an example of somewhat disappointing results:
and the scoring pattern before baking:
These batches were the same weight each and same recipe. Comparing them, I can't see much difference in the scoring pattern before baking, but the resulting looks are quite different - in the top ones the "burst" open portion takes up most of the top surface of the baguettes, while in the bottom ones the pattern is mainly isolated to the middle portion of the top surface and not as pronounced.
One difference I do see is that the top ones are smaller before baking, possibly because I didn't proof them as long (unfortunately I didn't record the proofing time for these; this is always a variable because of room temperature, etc.). But I have tried shorter proofing times in general and find them to only result in smaller baguettes overall.
Any specific suggestions or tips for how to achieve the pattern in the top batch after baking?
Edit - New batch Sunday testing my theory that less proofing time could lead to better bursting:
I messed up the first score on the bottom one but I think this is the right track as proofing time is really the only variable in all three batches. I could also tell as soon as I scored that the seams started to open up on its own which I take as a good sign.
Next time I will proof for even less time. I know the guidance is to wait until an indentation springs back slowly but just thinking logically here, as long as the baking environment is nice and steamy I'm speculating that to achieve the best "burst" a high amount of gas pressure before scoring and baking is more important than maximizing the pre-bake rise.
Any further tips/comments appreciated!