Gladyce, how are you making out with your quest for the perfect baguette?
My favorite baguettes are "old school," with a natural yeast starter, and slow long rise in the retarder, quite a wet dough. My favorite starter for begins by capturing the yeast from unsprayed apples once, then continuing to feed it with flour and water. I have other starters, but the apple one seems to make great baguettes with the crumb and flavor I'm after.
If you want to use commercial yeast (and need something simple), it crossed my mind you might do well with Philippe Gosselin's method. The flour is mixed with ICE COLD water, NO yeast or salt yet, and left to stand in the refrigerator overnight. This allows the amylase enzymes to go to work on the flour. Then the next day it's mixed with yeast and salt and the fermentation and proofing proceeds.
Peter Reinhart has simplified this a little in his book The Bread Baker's Apprentice. He said that he discovered that if you keep everything really cold, that you can add the yeast and salt with the flour and water the first day, and retard it all. The percentage of water is 79.6, as opposed to an average commercial baguette with 60% water.
I would think your problem with getting a good bakery also has also to do with the fact that baguettes are generally only good for a couple hours, I would say three hours is toward the max, so to find a bakery that didn't bake your baguettes at 6am would be part of the issue. If you decide to still seek a commercial bakery vs in-house, I would say perhaps find a bread with higher % water to help it hold longer.
As for your "stuck" rise, could you possibly be using too much yeast? What temperature are you fermenting at and for how long? What flour are you using? What % water?
BTW, I find I never have issues with natural starters pooping out like that, if you feel like crossing into that fronteir. Your starter will love you if you're baking with it every day.;)
But if that's too much to get into, I would say you could consider trying the Gosselin method, or Reinhart's adaptation of it (it is the Pain a l'Ancienne recipe in The Bread Baker's Apprentice).