The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


dcp740i's picture


I have only been baking for a few weeks, but thanks to personal guidance, good books, and this site, I am getting some great results all things considered.  My family is happy.  One odd thing: though I score deeply with a razor blade, I get no grigne or edges.  The scores just pop open widely and crust over like the rest of the crust.  You can see them, but they are basically flat.  I am using a very wet 4-ingredient french-style dough made with poolish and scrap dough plus a little SAF yeast.  Good crust, good crumb, some nice air pockets, good flavor, but a smooth surface.  I have bene misting the bread before baking, as well as misting the oven and pouring boiling water into a pan just before baking.  Oven is convection at 500, turned down to 425 after 10 minutes.  Today I did not mist the dough, just the oven.  Same result.  I suspect the wetness of the dough is causing the scores to simply collapse. 

If I go with a drier dough, do I lose the great crumb and "big air?"

Many thanks, folks!

LindyD's picture

Scoring too deeply could be part of the problem.  

Perhaps David Snyder's excellent scoring tutorial might be helpful.

dcp740i's picture

Really excellent and very detailed.  Thank you!  Practice, practice, right?

LindyD's picture

Yes...presumably practice makes it perfect.  Presumably.  But I still get duds, and that drives me nutty. 

You are correct, though, that high hydration doughs are difficult to score well.  

On the other hand, I think David Snyder could manage a nice grigne on a wet noodle!


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, dcp740i.

I'm glad you found the tutorial helpful.

Practice certainly is key, as long as you have the concept of the technique guiding it. Yet, for most of us non-professionals who can just bake on some weekends, it's hard to keep the skills up and our results consistent.

Jascha Heifetz used to say, "If I don't practice one day, I can tell. If I don't practice for two days, my wife can tell. If I don't practice for three days, the audience can tell." He was talking about the violin, of course, but the same goes for scoring bread. At least, if our scoring is not perfect, we can still enjoy eating our "art work."

And Lindy, how did you know about my wet noodle scoring? I never posted it.


LindyD's picture
LindyD did you know about my wet noodle scoring? I never posted it.

The flour fairies are migrating north, now that the snow is beginning to melt from the forest floors.  They told me.  ;-)

Your comment about practice reminds me of a jest often heard at the Interlochen Arts Academy:  "If practice makes perfect, but nothing is perfect, why practice?" 

summerbaker's picture

I've heard that same quote attributed to Andre Segovia!  Of course it doesn't matter who said it as long as we get the point, it's just interesting.


rolls's picture

im in the same boat. my doughs are always on the wet side and the only scoring implement i have at the moment is a bread knife and tomato knife. i think i have improved heaps, dusting with flour helps, but i still have A LOT of practicing to do! and ive had the same results that u described. a flat spreading. but i still prefer this over the 'scarred' result.

proth5's picture

I was at the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie last year and saw the baguettes from every team. These people are the best in the world. Sometimes they missed getting grigne. There is no shame in it. When you see the pictures, they have picked their best loaves out of a large number. So, this should not be a "crazy maker" for the home baker who makes one or two loaves at a time.

As for myself, I found that being too enthusiastic with my steaming does cause some trouble with my grigne. It is a matter of balance.

Also, as you have read elsewhere on these pages, I do not subscribe to the "wetter is better" theory of dough hydration. It is really the proper control and execution of the fermentation process that drives the "big holes" that seem to be the yardstick against which so many measure their bread.

Hope this helps.

MikeC's picture

I too am a very new baker, so please take my comments in that context.  For the past few weeks I have been baking a variety of breads and have been largely satisfied with my results as far as crumb goes.  The doughs have ranged from 67 to 72% hydration.  I have used the french fold as well as the fold in the bowl technique for gluten development.  I have, however, consistently been plagued by the same result you describe above.  Just moments ago, I removed two loaves of italian from the oven where I had just the opposite problem.  They practically exploded.  The only thing I did differently is that I baked much sooner than I typically would because I suspected I was overproofing after final shaping.  I think I may be on to something, and maybe you could try a shorter final proof and see what happens.  Best of luck.

dcp740i's picture

Wow!  Less than 24 hours after my first post, I have many very useful, not to mention encouraging, comments from some extremely capable folks, including the source of the tutorial on the site.  This is amazing.  Many, many thanks!  With assistance like this one can only get better.  This is fun. 

Dough is fermenting as we speak. 



dcp740i's picture

Just used a baking stone for the first time.  Surprise, surprise!  The flat, undeveloped aspect to the top of the loaf remained, but the boule exploded underneath, leaving beautiful grigne and smewhat bronwed edges on the bottom! (When I form a boule, in my unpracticed way, I sort of gather it together uderneath as I round it, so it's easy to see why that was the weak spot.) 

Also, it was a somewhat off-kilter loaf that was very tall indeed thanks to expansion from underneath.  And--delicious, with great color and lots of those big holes. 

You just can't help but enjoy this!