The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sharp lame, good slashing = better oven spring

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Felila's picture
Felila

Sharp lame, good slashing = better oven spring

I tend to economize on razor blades for slashing, using them quite a few times before throwing them away. I think I've been handicapping myself. I used a new blade for the last batch of ciabatta, and got aggressive with the slashing -- 1/4 inch deep, at a 45-degree angle to the surface of the boule. Result: great oven spring. My slashes expanded a whole inch, rather than the usual anemic 1/4 inch or so.

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

I didn't think that ciabattas were slashed at all?  But after a few loaves the razor blades do get blunt and slashing is easier and better when you use a new blade.

Breadboard's picture
Breadboard

I have sourdough ciabatta proofing and was thinking of slashing for no better reason that to improve the appearance of an otherwise blobular sock shaped loaf.  If slashing improves spring then it's good.  If slashing improves appearance then it's good.  Just sayin.....  

Felila, thanks for sharing. 

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hey, just saying what is traditional.  It's up to the baker what they want to do with their loaf.  The main thing is to enjoy your baking and your bread.

Felila's picture
Felila

Well, my loaf started out as a ciabatta recipe, but I'm not sure what you'd call it now. I have been replacing the cup of olive oil and water with two eggs and some half-and-half.  I guess it's just rich wholewheat bread.

But I slash even when I'm making a lean bread, and it improves the oven spring. 

I should fess up and say that my ciabatta crumb has never been as airy as the crumb I see in the triumphant pictures here. Perhaps because I'm just letting the boules rise on an oiled pan. I might get fluffy, hole-filled loaves if I used bannetons.