baguette, focus on the baking

Instead of forcing you all into compliance regarding specific ingredients, I'm going to let my hair down a bit (ha, that's a joke) and let you use any damn recipe you like.  The baking method here is the thing to take a shot at with any dough you have lying around.
I'm using a slightly enriched dough.  I was curious to see the results using higher temp and a cast iron surface with a little steam.  The result was unexpected and great.  The dough I used was 73% hydration with some enrichment and baked at 500F.  What I got was incredible oven spring and a higher hydration gave a nice open texture.
The dough I used: unbleached white 275 g, whole wheat 25 g, salt 5 g, sugar, 5 g, crisco 9 g (sounds odd, but I wanted a neutral shortening at 3% rel to flour), water 220 g, fast dry yeast 3 g.  Straight dough mixed in a bread machine and left in fridge 2-3 days (I've made this many times now, I love it.
Using a 9 x 17" cast iron surface in the upper half of the oven (NOT TOO LOW, the dark surface can burn the bread if it's too low).  I'm a few inches above the half way mark with normal heat, no convection.  1/2 hour before baking, preheat to 500F (500F and above, your oven has to be clean).
For steam, lately I've been using a hand-pump pressure sprayer, 2L (dedicated use for water).  Have it charged, pumped and ready.
In this image, I'm squirting the water in a fine stream on the front margin of the floor of the oven to avoid hitting the electric element (I heard it can stress it and ruin the element; I've never had the problem).  I also avoid hitting the cast iron bake surface, I want that to maintain high heat - vaporizing water requires a lot of energy.  If you hit the cast iron, the surface goes down in temp rapidly, can't remember how much, but I've measured this a few times.  So, by squirting the floor and walls of the oven, you're able to maintain a hot cook surface from the pre-heated, high thermal mass of the cast iron.  That will stay hot while the oven recovers.

Dough removed from the fridge.  This is about 300 g and 15" shaped into a baguette and allowed to proof for about an hour.  Having proofed enough, I docked it (slashes) using a favorite serrated knife (I've tried a lame extensively and prefer the knife for docking).

Slide the loaf onto the cast iron, give a ca. 50 mL blast of steam initially and give another blast 5 minutes later, and that's it.  About 5 minutes into the bake, the soft dough jumps with oven spring. Use a total bake time of 15 minutes 500F. Watch your oven! I know mine very well.  This is a rapid bake.  It's over when it gets the color you like.

Even with this much enrichment, it's pretty crusty.

Pretty nice open texture (sliced AFTER at least 10 minutes cool down).  Aside from the cast iron ($20 at World Market columbus people), it's an easy method to try.  Let me know your results.

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