The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Slashing the loaf

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Heidi Napier's picture
Heidi Napier

Slashing the loaf

I have been baking "artisan" breads on my gas grill for several years with great results, but I have trouble getting good slashes.  I have tried a new single edge razor and a regular bread slasher that I got from KAF.  Either blade sticks in the dough, making a messy cut.  I've tried dusting the blade with flour and lubricating it with veg oil, but neither works.  My sourdough bread dough is especially sticky, but it makes a tasty loaf.  It matters not whether I use bread or all purpose flour.

THanks, Heidi

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Heidi.

Welcome to TFL!

There is a scoring tutorial here that might help you. Here is a link: Scoring Bread: An updated tutorial

There are a number of things that can make scoring easier or harder. Maybe the most common source of the problem you described is hesitancy. You should make your cuts quickly and without hesitation with a really sharp blade. Use only a small part of the blade, usually the far (from you) quarter of a razor blade, for example. Don't give the dough more surface area to grab onto than absolutely necessary. 

The disposable blades, like the one from KAF, should be disposed of prior to use, IMHO. 

I hope this helps. If not, ask for more help. It helps us, in almost all cases, to know what kind of bread you are baking (The formula). The hydration level is especially important. 

Happy baking!

David

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

You might want to try wetting the blade before slashing + what David said...,

Wild-Yeast

annie the chef's picture
annie the chef

bake the shaped dough straight from the fridge after retarding for 12 hours. Slashing is easier when the dough is cold especially for high hydration dough.

Annie

sphealey's picture
sphealey

In my experience a cheap (and therefore thin), new (sharp), stainless steel serrated bread knife (the kind you find at Walgreens or the Dollar Store) works well for slashing.  Never had much luck with straight blades, but the serrated ones seem to cut right through.

Also, don't think you have to be super-artistic or anything right from the start. Three small, shallow slashes on a batard are more than enough to provide the breaking point in the crust and look cool.  Once you have that down you can try fancier patterns, but those don't actually add anything to the baking process.

sPh

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

if your bread is not a retarded one. While the oven or grill in your case is heating up, stash the bread in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  You will be amazed at how much easier it is to slash when cold and just the skin is set and like David said, freah double edge razor in a lame with no hesitation makes for clean cuts.  Just get it at the right angle for the type of bread as David points out in his tutorial.

Happy baking

Heidi Napier's picture
Heidi Napier

I  must sound like a homicidal maniac, using "slash" instead of "score"!! 

The loaves that gave me the most trouble were about 90% hydration--too wet and hard to work with.  I'll try lower hydration next time and try retarding in the refrigerator and wetting the blade.  I do use a fast, strong stroke and a brand new single edge razor, but I also have a very finely serrated bread knife, so maybe I'll try that next time.

 

Thanks for the suggestions.

rafaelbata's picture
rafaelbata

The more the dough is overproofed and the higher is the hydration, the shallowest should be your cuts. Otherwise they will deflate a lot.

I think it's always better a little underproofed than overproofed, you can slash deeper and the dough will be firmer and have more structure while being slashed. And a overproofed dough usually have less por to handle the oven spring.

Giving good tension on shaping also helps on giving structure and facilitates the scores to open.