The Fresh Loaf

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20201010 Rus Brot's French Baguette with CLAS

Yippee's picture

20201010 Rus Brot's French Baguette with CLAS

To learn more about concentrated lactic acid sourdough (CLAS), please see here and here




Recently, baguettes have been a hot topic on the forum. So I am posting this entry to join in the fun. 

I usually don't make baguettes because they require more hands-on work than making boules or batards. The last time I made baguettes was a few years ago. I was so busy then that I hardly had enough time to sleep. Therefore, I could only upload pictures of baguettes and ignored all the details. To fill in the gap, I took pictures of my baguette workflow today.


I used Rus's baguette formula that uses CLAS. I wish I had learned about CLAS sooner. It would have saved me a lot of work, and the outcome would have been just as good, if not better.  


Rus's formula and procedures are as follows:


97% AP

70% water 18-20°C/64.4-68F (not higher) I reduced the hydration to 65% because Beehive can't absorb 70% of water!

3% CLAS (cold +4-+5°C not fresh, at least 2-3 days in the fridge)

1% dry yeast

1.5-2% salt

3% malt


yields three 343g baguettes


Initial dough temperature 25°C/77F 



I mixed the dough in a spiral mixer for 8 minutes until it reached windowpane.



45 minutes, fold

45 minutes, fold

45 minutes, fold

keep dough temperature at 25°C/77F 



into three pieces; roll, and rest for 15 minutes 





45 minutes 




bake 20-22 minutes with steam at 250°C/482F 


Straight forward, isn't it? Per Rus, 25°C/77F is the optimum temperature for yeast multiplication. At this temperature, LAB produces more acetic acid than lactic acid, and yeast also produces a small amount of acetic acid. LAB is slow at this temperature, so it's suitable for creating the flavor of traditional baguettes.  


Speaking of temperature, my friend's wife bought a Brod and Taylor proofer, unfortunately, according to my suggestion. She complained that the proofer could not reach her target temperature. I forgot to remind her that the proofer's internal temperature rarely matches the set temperature. Because its plastic panel is flimsy, the proofer's insulation is poor. Its temperature usually fluctuates with the ambient temperature. Using different thermometers to monitor the proofer's internal temperature and reset the temperature back and forth, especially when making CLAS, is what I have to do to ensure my sourdough's quality. It is a pain to use, but I am stuck with it because there is no better product on the market.








I pretty much followed Rus's procedures except one step - I divided the dough after the first 45 minutes of bulk, and I "pre-shaped" the dough in a rectangular container that would facilitate shaping later on. 









I followed the School of Slow's baguette shaping method. It worked well for me a few years ago, and it still worked perfectly today!   People often complain that household ovens are too small to make baguettes. However, I found this to be an advantage. Because the baguettes usually reach the maximum length suitable for household ovens after they are shaped, and they often look quite presentable at this stage, there is no need to extend/roll out the dough! I used the chopping board (15 inch/38cm) to gauge the length so that I was able to bake the baguettes vertically in the oven. 






 It'd be easier to shape it in this form if we start with a square dough.



I proved and loaded the baguettes separately so that they were "social distancing" from each other in the oven after loading. 





To score, I used the "magic wand" shown in the picture.  It works wonders! When I scored the first baguette, I was a bit lost.   Then things got better, and I am most satisfied with the tapered one. 










That's it! 

Oh, wait, the end products:












I also want to tell you something exciting. I harvested my first tray of black gold. I used the worm castings to brew my first bucket of compost tea and fed it to my plants. I'm sure that my garden plants are pleased because my kumquat tree is blooming in the second round, which is unprecedented! The aroma of blossom wafts in the air.  Many bees and hummingbirds are buzzing around to collect nectar—what a happy scene! 















Before the California wildfire broke out, I could see beautiful clouds in the morning and stunning sunset at dusk. I hope the terrible things surrounding us will disappear ASAP, and our lives can return to normal.



Benito's picture

Very nice work Yippie especially considering you haven’t made them recently.  Your shaped baguettes look so perfect and your baked ones look great as well.

Yippee's picture

For years, I have wanted to share how I handle the baguette dough. You guys' discussions finally gave me the impetus to do it.


breadforfun's picture


That’s a nice set up you have there. Did you use the vItamin C treatment to get rid of the chloramine?  Those trees look quite healthy. Are you pumping the tea over from the buckets to the garden or is it gravity fed, I can’t exactly tell?

BTW, good job on the baguettes, too. 


Edited: what was I thinking? I meant vitamin C and not ammonia...

Yippee's picture

In the pictures, I was making aerated compost tea.  This method cultivates the greatest concentration of microbial life in the tea. I used an air pump to pump air continuously for 36 hours into the "tea" made of worm castings, dechlorinated water, and soluble food (molasses, seaweed extract, humic acids, etc.)to promote the growth of beneficial, aerobic microbes present in the worm castings. After 36 hours, I immediately used the tea and the spent compost as a soil drench.  So technically, I was feeding the soil, not the plants. 

This time I did use ascorbic acid to dechlorinate the tap water, but next time I will also use humic acid.  I heard that it will help bind-up and immobilize the harmful effects of chloramine as well. So instead of using it as "food", I will use it as a dechlorinating agent to treat the water. 


mwilson's picture

Everything I like, bread, fermentation, nature and lovely vistas.

As an advocate of bio-dynamic farming the compost tea interests me massively. It's one of those things I often think about doing but never get around to... You've given me a bit of inspiration to really give it a try after seeing those pictures.

Back to the baguettes, I really like the crumb which feature a well defined and developed structure with elongated alveoli. I believe the effects of the CLAS have shone through here.

Lovely stuff! ?


Yippee's picture


Don't overthink, take the plunge, do it, Michael! 


You only need a "few" things: 


1.compost/worm castings


3.air pump


5.filter bag and twine; or a fancier brew bag

6.hose reducer joiner

7.airline tubing

8.ascorbic acid/humic acid if needed

9." food" options - fish and seaweed fertilizer, liquid kelp, seaweed extract, molasses, humic acid, etc. 


You can purchase everything on the list to start "brewing", but of course, it's more meaningful if you make the compost yourself.  


You may see the things that I bought by following the links above.  



dabrownman's picture

tell the quality of the baguette by its sectional shape when sliced crosswise.  Yours is perfect.  Everything has to be great with this bake including how fabulous the taste was.  I feel terrible that I bought a bag of compost for my tomatoes and lettuce pots just like always this year.  The tomatoes are loving it even the ones from seeds, those are all heirloom ones, and the lettuce came up today just perfect for the Thanksgiving salad!  I really try to keep work very far from me and a bag of compost is way, way less work.  But for you, and rightly so, it would not be worth the bag to buy it.

Beautiful Baggies Yippee!@

Yippee's picture

Shelter-in-place has allowed me to try new things-vermicomposting, composting, gardening, oh, and cutting men's hair???, to name a few. After working around my house and garden, I feel much more connected to them than ever. It has also allowed me to finish the blog post that I have left incomplete for years.

I miss seeing you on the forum, my friend.  It is so nice to hear from you!  Please show us your salads/gourmet/bread when you can.  Stay well. 


mwilson's picture

Thanks for providing the links, they really help. I'll get on it!

You're a ⭐!


Isand66's picture

These must taste as good as they look ??.  I could swear the slice on the bottom left is winking at me ?.  I commend you on your compost project.  You have much more patience than I do!  I have to start my fall cleanup soon.  Not something I look forward to ?
Happy baking and composting!

Yippee's picture

I never imagine it takes so much effort to upkeep a garden, but gardening is enjoyable. I want to do my best to care for my plants, and I hope the outcome will be rewarding. Now that you mentioned it, the bottom left slice does look like a wink.?

Happy baking and gardening