The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

burn and slash

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just.baked's picture
just.baked

burn and slash

Just passing along a technique I tried.

I've been doing some high hydration baguettes and was having trouble getting good slashes even with a razor blade lame - too gummy.

The baguette pictured was slashed about 5 min after it went in the oven. The skin of the dough firmed up and the razor slashed beautifully. I'm going to experiment with slashing wet doughs after they go in the oven to find the best time to make the cut.

The other loaf in the picture is my first attempt at apple-water yeasted bread. Got tremendous, though late oven spring, likely due to the thin pizza stone not imparting a lot of heat to the dough. Was just out of the oven here, so will have to show the crumb shot later.

FueledByCoffee's picture
FueledByCoffee

I would have to stick with traditional wisdom and continue working on your scoring technique.  If you put your bread in the oven and it starts to begin its oven spring then open the oven to score you do a number of things.  First of all you let heat out of your oven.  Second of all your bread has already begun it's spring and at 5 minutes is decently far into it's spring and if you score at this point there won't be enough spring left to open up your scores properly.  If you're proofing in a couche/basket it should help remove some of the moisture from the crust that should help you score properly.  You can also try dipping your lame in water or oil before scoring which will help it move through the dough without catching.  If you're still having issues you may even try taking your final loaf and putting it in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 minutes right before scoring which should give you a very light skin...An interesting thought for sure but I think the best time to score is before it goes in the oven.

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Allow the moist dough surface to dry out during final proofing...,

Wild-Yeast

just.baked's picture
just.baked

The problem isn't the skin, as much as the wet dough beneath the skin. I've dried the surface and I'm wetting the blade, but still getting tearing slashes with high hydration dough.

The  thing is, even if I manage a decent slash, within a couple of minutes in the oven, the "wound" heals up due to the wet mix coming back together, which is really why I'm playing around with slashing after the dough see a little heat.

I'm baking baguettes at 75 percent hydration on a perforated baguette pan at 480 degrees. At 5 min there was a little spring, but like I said, I'm experimenting, and I won't know how well it works until I play with the timing. I'm thinking even 2 min might be long enough to get a good slash, and at that point there is no spring at all. 

As for spring and oven temperature, I learned a long time ago you get spring when the interior of properly proofed dough hits a certain temp, no matter when that is - even starting with dough in a cold oven, so I don't worry about opening the oven door for 30 seconds. The temperature's going to get there eventually, and those gases are going to expand, and the surface of the bread will lose the battle - be it a beautiful bloom at the slash, a natural bursting if it isn't slashed, or an ugly balloon of a bulge. 

 

 

FueledByCoffee's picture
FueledByCoffee

perhaps your real problem is that you're not getting spring quickly enough...perhaps you need to be baking on a stone and not on the baguette pan.  This would give you quicker spring because the stone transfers heat faster and you won't have an issue with the scores sealing back up.  Feel free to continue playing with this technique of yours by all means but I've successfully scored baguettes up to 83 percent hydration without issue...

Capn Dub's picture
Capn Dub

I've had very good luck with this: put just a tiny drop of olive oil on your finger and wipe a very thin coating on the blade.  Works great for me.

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

My 2 tips for your comments:

1.  First, in terms of the slashing problem with wet dough, I recommend (as earlier poster stated) to put the baguettes in the fridge for some time just before you bake.  The time can vary so experiment but 15mins can be enough to firm them up.

2.  I notice your baguette slashes (to me) are way too horizontal.  Unsure what effect you are looking for with this.  Perhaps personal preference but for me baguettes need almost vertical slashes down the middle but just slightly diagonal and overlapping by 1.3rd.   With more horizontal slashes you are asking the dough inside to push up and out which is effectively asking each slash to compete with the other slashes in pushing the neighboring dough away.  It the baguettes were on their sides this would lead to a curved banana shaped baguette !  IMO keep the slashes almost vertical and overlapping and you'll get the required effect and hopefully a decent "ear" on the slashes.  GL.

just.baked's picture
just.baked

Fueled - making me think I've got a technique issue. If you are getting good scores on 83 percent dough, I definitely need to practice. I have baked baguettes on a pizza stone in the oven, and also on bricks in my wood oven.

Dub - I'll try oil on the blade.

Elpandero - those are not my normal slashes, but more a product of trying to slash while the pan was still in the oven and not being able to pull the blade on a vertical angle the way I wanted.

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

ok, makes more sense, not easy to slash whilst in the oven and probably not recommended !  Do try the fridge method though.  I occasionally help out at a local Artisan Bakery near where I live and they had a similar problem with the baguettes, finding that the lame was dragging the dough whilst scoring them.  The short trip to the fridge before scoring and baking did the trick and their baguettes look superb as a result with lovely ears !  GL