Since my results from Jan 1 were OK, but not spectacular, I went ahead and made the same recipe again. This time, I tried to keep the dough as “soft” as possible (check out the YouTube video of Julia Child kneading her dough to get an idea of how soft she thinks French Bread dough should be!). I also made only two larger loaves instead of the previous three.
The results on Jan 2 were much improved. The bread has a great texture, rose very well and has a nice crunchy crust.