NOTE: oh! forgot to add that the main thing done differently with this loaf is that it was allowed to rest for almost 90 minutes. if i had to guess, i'd say that is what made the biggest difference.
boule 2, batch 2 of dough. not so much rise during the rest this time, but it rose in the oven like crazy AND it seems i'm getting better at shaping round boules. hoo. ray!
also tried the tic-tac-toe slash for the first time with this loaf. i thought it wouldn't be as pretty, but i think it's actually prettier.
i'm thinking i also have the best luck with older dough.