The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


maojn's picture

First question here, baguette scoring. Please help!

March 27, 2013 - 8:50am -- maojn

Hi everyone, 

First I would like to express how much I love this site. I just post my first article actually about my baguettes, customized kneading board on sink, and Pain de Campagne.  Today I am going to post my first question and I know you guys will definitely help me out!

For the Love of Bread's picture


March 21, 2012 - 5:14pm -- For the Love of...

Hi all,

Lately I've had an obsession with getting those beautiful "ears" to form on my bread. My results have been fairly inconsistent and am not really sure why. I know that the angle at which I hold my blade has a lot to do with it but I'm not really sure what else plays a part in getting those fabulous ears to show up. I'm fairly sure steam is a factor, but how about the hydration of the dough? Does this play a role at all?


Any feedback would be hugely appreciated!!


KHamATL's picture

Baguette Scoring Help Request

July 24, 2011 - 7:35pm -- KHamATL

Hi everyone,

I have been reading posts on the forum for many months now and trying to gain wisdom on the topic of baguette scoring.  I have read almost every post on the subject but can't seem to get it right.  Out of about a dozen attempts at baguettes, I have successfully generated a nice ear/grigne one time.  Strangely enough, it was on the 3rd attempt.  Here is a picture:

dmsnyder's picture

These are a couple of 755 gm bâtards of Hamelman's Pain au Levain I baked today. I think they illustrate the points made recently in discussions of scoring, ears and bloom, for example in Varda's topic To ear or not to ear.

To quote Michel Suas from Advanced Bread and Pastry again,

If the angle is not achieved and the cut is done with the blade vertical to the loaf, the two sides of the dough will spread very quickly during oven spring and expose an enormous surface area to the heat. The crust will begin to form too soon - sometimes before the end of oven spring - penalizing the development of the bread. If the cut is properly horizontal, the sides of the loaf will spread slower. The layer of dough created by the incision will partially and temporarily protect the surface from the heat and encourage a better oven spring and development. (Suas, pg. 116.)

These loaves were scored with a razor blade mounted on a metal lame. The blade was held at a 30º angle. The cuts were about 1/2 inch deep. I think the coloration of the bloom attests to the slow spread to which Suas refers.

I think you can clearly see three distinct colors in the bloomed crust, progressively lighter in color from right to left, with the lightest color being that under the ear. As the cut opens up during the bake, it does so slowly over a prolonged period. The darkness of the bloom demonstrates the length of time each area was directly exposed to the oven's heat. The ear keeps the area under it sheltered from the heat so it doesn't form a crust, but, as the bloom widens, the previously sheltered area becomes uncovered by the ear, and it begins to brown.

Scoring with the blade perpendicular to the loaf surface thus results in less bloom, and the blooming is terminated sooner in the bake. The coloration of the bloom is more uniform. An example - a Vermont Sourdough I also baked today:

I hope this helps clarify the point of the ear - how you get it and why you might want to.


Submitted to YeastSpotting

bdw7x's picture

stretchy, crusty ears - scoring technique (and maybe proofing, too?)

September 28, 2010 - 1:55pm -- bdw7x

Fellow Bread-blog Addicts,

I'm new to the scene having brewed up my own batch of starter a little over a month ago.

I've had some successes and, again, being new to bread making, I'm pleased with pretty much anything that's crunchy on the outside and full of holes and most on the inside.  One thing I can't seem to wrap my brain around, however, is how to achieve a nice ear and a visual distinction between the scored areas of the bread that open up in the oven and the rest of the crust.

008cats's picture

"Ears" Roaring about Scoring...

June 19, 2010 - 12:28pm -- 008cats

This is the experience that solved my problems with scoring/getting those ears on my loaves.

There's lots of good info in this site about when, where, why and how to score; you can read it all just like I did.

But if that doesn't do the trick, here's what made my score something to roar about:

1. Double-sided razor blades, still available in a easy to handle cartridge at some pharmacies.

2. Break them in half lengthwise - now you have twice as many.

3. Employ them easily, safely, by hand. SCORE!


DrPr's picture


May 29, 2009 - 2:25pm -- DrPr

I know I ask a lot of questions!!


I am trying to improve the grigne on my loaves, but I realized that I don't know what a "good" one actually looks like.  I personally like a little bit of a ragged look, but not so ragged that it looks like  a mistake. I like to see some of the hole structure, and for there to be some color contrast between the scoring area and the rest of the crust.  Are these indicators of a "proper" grigne?  If not, what should I be striving for, aesthetically?

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