The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Scoring Issues

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Allenph's picture
Allenph

Scoring Issues

Hey guys, it has been a while.

I've been honing my artisan baguette technique and the taste, the crumb, everything is perfect; save for the scoring job. 

I recently tried ordering this lame from the King Arthur site...

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/lame-bread-slashing-tool

I found it cheaper elsewhere but their flour has improved my bed 500% and their video tutorials have helped immensely so I figured my continued business could be their reward. I ordered the cheap one because, hey, how advanced could a razor on a stick get? Apparently I was wrong. I tried to use the lame on my dough today and it dragged and wrinkled my dough to heck. I tried applying some water to the blade but it still refused to glide smoothly. 

I believe I'm using the correct technique; about a 30 degree angle holding the curved blade curve away from me, angled up so that only the tip of the blade comes in contact with the dough, and quick precise cuts using the shoulder, not the wrist.

I have tried using a regular razor blade with similar results, and I'm getting quite tired of ruining the dough I've labored hours and waited over a day for. 

Help please? Thanks. 

Martin from KAF's picture
Martin from KAF

Hi Allenph,

Hard to say without seeing exactly what you are doing but, blade drag can be the result of cutting too deeply and/or attempting to score a dough with a moist surface.  Try touching the surface of your baguette as it proofs (assuming your seam is on the bottom), if your finger sticks, so will the blade.  You can avoid this by letting them dry for a couple minutes before cutting and loading-but be careful, too much dry skin will also ruin your efforts.  Regarding the cut depth, just cut enough to guide the loaf's expansion, nothing more.

Happy baking,

Martin Philip

 

Allenph's picture
Allenph

Martin, 

Hmm. I' only trying to get about a quarter of an inch deep and I can't even get that. The dough I'm using is about 65-67% hydration; I'm trying achieve French baguettes with this hydration. After two hours of proofing, I pre-shape, rest for fifteen minutes, then do the shaping. After that I let them sit on the baguette pan for an hour before scoring with a cheese cloth over them. Through the entire process of shaping I have to flour my hands to avoid the dough sticking to my fingers. Similarly, after they have sat in the pan resting the dough is very wet. Seeing as it's done all the time, there must be a way to score a wet dough that I'm missing. 

Would you happen to know? 

Thanks,
Allen

Les Nightingill's picture
Les Nightingill

I have found that scoring very rapidly is the key to not sticking. I'm making dough at 75% hydration but also have the benefit of using bannetons dusted generously with rice flour. The rice flour pulls moisture out of the outside of the dough and this helps with scoring.

Les

Martin from KAF's picture
Martin from KAF

If the dough is sticking to your fingers it will certainly stick to the blade (see above where I wrote "Try touching the surface of your baguette as it proofs (assuming your seam is on the bottom), if your finger sticks, so will the blade").  Proof them for the last 10-15 minutes uncovered-if ambient humidity is low enough a slight skin will develop and enable better scoring. 

Martin

henryruczynski's picture
henryruczynski

A

What I've been doing for a few years now... and it's giving good results - is to slash the baguettes (I use a blade for baguettes and ficelle - small serrated knife for everything else)

not long after you shape, then proof and bake.

Try it, you might just like it.

H

FueledByCoffee's picture
FueledByCoffee

I am going to echo what some others have gotten at.  There is a reason bakers proof their baguettes in couches (seam up), and high hydration rustic loaves in clothe line baskets or in bannetons.  Not only do these tools give our products support and help them retain their respective shapes, they also draw some of the moisture out of the top of the dough without entirely skinning them...this aids in our ability to score quickly and precisely without snagging the dough or having our blades stick...There's nothing wrong with the lame you've got other than the fact that it's a single blade tool (ie. once the blade is dulled the handle is useless).  I would suggest getting one that the blade can be removed and replaced because it's a lot cheaper to buy a pack of razors than to have to buy a new handle and blade every time.  That being said if you don't bake a ton that should last you a fairly long time.

Allenph's picture
Allenph

Thanks my friends! I appreciate it. I'll try letting the dough proof in the open air this weekend and try my hand at scoring again. 

I probably should have gotten a lame with disposable blades; you're right. I bake once every weekend, so I assume I'll be fine for quite a while. 

I'll post back with the results on Sunday. Cheers.

FueledByCoffee's picture
FueledByCoffee

as Martin said, try to have it as open air proofing for maybe 5-15 minutes depending on draft/temperature/humidity conditions.  You really just want a very light skin on the dough...If you continue to have trouble please upload some pictures, that is always helpful...