The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


norco1's picture


I appreciate the need for scoring and have always scored my bread. My problem with scoring is that at the point of baking my scoring tool (serrated knife and especially a razor) is usually hung up by the proofed dough and unable to make that neat quick cut. Any suggestions?

Peggy Bjarno's picture
Peggy Bjarno

I have no suggestions but will watch here for the solution, as I have the same problem. I just put a loaf of sourdough into the over that looked spectacular -- until I scored it. The thing totally flattened out and it doesn't look like it's going to rise at all in the baking. I have yet to score successfully, but this is the first time the loaf was destroyed by my efforts. :-{


Janice Boger's picture
Janice Boger

I have not always had the best luck with scoring.  I have tried to flour the lame and also to oil it.  Still gets caught up or pulls.  This week I tried an electric knife and it was fantastic.  I will always do this in the future.  If you have an electric knife give it a try.

dmsnyder's picture

The blade catching on the dough while scoring can be due to any combination of:

1. A wet, sticky dough. At some point, scoring is futile.

2. A dull blade.

3. Slow cuts. Make the cuts fast and without hesitations.

Wetting the blade or oiling it can help.

Please see: Bread Scoring Tutorial (updated 1/2/2009) for more general tips with illustrations.


veganthyme's picture

I just had the same thing happen to my multigrain struan yesterday! (Well, I had other problems with it, too.) When it baked, it flattened out from my scoring and I lost my "look" with my seeds on top. Instead, a deep canyon showed up after baking. Sad. I will research this some more and follow the link shared above.

Janknitz's picture

I used to have the problem with the near end of the blade hanging up, too, until I learned to alter the angle of the blade.  

1st--Vertically you want the blade at an angle.  If you hold the blade up to eye level, the blade  tilts about 30 to 45 degrees to the right like so:  /  That's the easy one to describe.

2nd--Horizontally, turn your wrist so that the front left tip of the blade is at about the same angle to the line of cut.  So if you are looking down on the blade from the top, the blade looks like this \  If you imagine the blade as a rectangle (the razor blade), you cut with the left front corner of the blade.  Meanwhile the blade is titled at the vertical angle I've described above.  

Yikes, I bet this is as clear as mud.  I'm really not saying two different things.  I'll try to photograph it during my bake today.  

rolls's picture

janknitz please do! :)

veganthyme's picture

@hanknitz--Thank you so much for your response and I look forward to seeing the photos! I was too embarrased to take a picture of my bread!

logdrum's picture

+1 on the above; I also find it useful to "hold back" the surface of the loaf at the point of first contact w/ my left hand.


rhomp2002's picture

I just wet the blade and it works every time.  Also do it fast; don't hang about.

ElPanadero's picture

If your scores seem to be dragging the dough and not cutting cleanly then:

1. oil the blade or
2. Put the proofed bread in the fridge for just 5-10mins and it will have cooled and firmed the surface making it easy to score (particularly good for baguettes)

If your scores tend to deflate the whole loaf then

1. Don't proof the bread so long
2. Don't cut deep

imjlotherealone's picture

You need a sharper blade. I use a lame that pairs with gillette razor blades. After about 9-10 uses the blade wears out and needs to be replaced. Don't use a serrated knife unless you need to cut deep into a relatively dry dough. 

Overproofing could be a second issue. Overproofing weakens the gluten both chemically and physically (through stretching). Any dough that needs a deep score should be left slightly underproofed and scored when the bread looks and feels like a 9 month old pregnant lady's belly.

If you use a lame, remember, it should be cutting concave side up, and at an angle. For straight, deep cuts, use a straight razor or serrated knife.