The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


RachelJ's picture


What would you say would be the best thing to use for scoring? I'm currently using a serrated knife as its all I've got. :)

what do you use and what's worked best for you?



flournwater's picture


LindyD's picture

I personally prefer my serrated tomato knife.

Here's an excellent scoring tutorial you may enjoy.

verminiusrex's picture

I usually use a serrated knife, occasionally a very sharp kitchen knife. I've discovered that it's more about practice than the exact tool you use for slashing, although a sharp blade helps.

I'd recommend finding yourself a brand new serrated table knife and use it for slashing until you are good at it, then you'll find that you can use just about any knife with equal skill.


Renee72's picture

I got so used to using a serrated steak knife, that it was awkward for me to try to use a lame, when I finally bought one.  A serrated knife is pretty much all I use, and seems to work well with the wet dough I usually work with.


Janice Boger's picture
Janice Boger

I was having too much trouble with a curved lame.  I am now using an electric knife and have great results.  Just be careful it does not get away from you and cut deeper than you want.  This is what I use all the time now.



proth5's picture

A blade holder (from TMB Baking) and a double edged razor blade.  Blade is mounted on the holder and can be adjusted to create the right curvature for the job.  Many people improvise this with a coffee stirrer.  The blade holder is so inexpensive, I don't know why.

Unlike the Matfer lames (unless you can find one with a replaceable blade) with this you can always replace the blade to keep it wicked sharp - which for me has been the most successful.

I also committed to practicing with a blade until I "got it."  I think that's 90% of the reason for success.

I've also used a serrated blade with success, but because I worked so hard to master it, I like the blade the best.

Hope this helps.

bakerking's picture

My wife works in surgery, I use a scalpel.


nancy58's picture

I have used both a serrated knife and a lame' but after being taught the proper way to use the lame' I would not go back to the knife. I have a double edged razor blade on a holder and use with a mild curve for most things. Nice to beable to change the curve to more severe or none at all. Definately keep it sharp. This method also allows one to use the blade to it's fullest (all4 points) by giving it a quarter turn every so often to keep it sharp.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

is actually my favorite.  It's all in the wrists!

dghdctr's picture

You can get good results with either a newly unwrapped razor blade (on a handle) or a razor-sharp serrated knife that can hold its edge, depending upon what you're scoring and how you want the cuts to look after baking.  The lame that George referred to was originally used "as is" -- with no other blade added -- by grinding the weird-shaped tip to razor sharpness.  If any of you have access to Calvel's videos from '94 or so, you'll see that he and his assistant use the sharpened lame by itself.  These days I think most French bakers use the lame with the double-edged razor blade inserted over the end, even though I've read it is illegal there now (there have been instances in busy bakeries where blades get lost in the dough.  Talk about your dangerous contaminants . . .)

The lame handle is usually curved at the end to allow less awkward ways of creating nearly-horizontal slashes for a baguette.  For cuts that travel mostly in a perpendicular orientation toward the skin of the loaf (like a simple cross cut), any super-sharp instrument will do.  Whichever corner of a razor blade you use can get noticeably less sharp after scoring 20 loaves or so. 

I think a brand new razor cuts moderately wet, well-matured dough better than other options, though others will disagree.  But the razor on a handle can be less than ideal if the bread you're scoring has lots of nuts or dried fruits in it.  Those ingredients can knock the blade off its handle, which is not a big deal if you're only scoring one or two loaves, but a major delay when trying to load a lot of loaves in the oven all at once.  I keep a small tomato knife in my kit just for those situations.

--Dan DiMuzio

rolls's picture

i improvised with a sharp double edged razor from the barbers and chopstick threaded thru which is all i had on hand at the moment and couldnt wait until i waas able to make a trip to the hardware store and since its been working for me i never did make tht trip to the hardware store...

TheVillageBaker's picture

When I worked in a mechanised commercial bakers during my vacations we employed two lengths of broken saw blade, taken from those used to make sliced bread, taped on either side of a block of wood. The cutting edge had broad crescent shaped serrations along its length, deadly sharp. This gave us two slashes, for one hand movement. You had to work fast as the proven bread passed in front of you on a conveyer from the prover above on its way to the ovens, twenty-four bloomers at a time.

For home use I found the nearest equivalent blade was on a cheese knife.

jpchisari's picture

I actually use single edges blades available at Home depot or Menards in packs of 100.

They work great for me on any kind of dough!

rolls's picture

village baker, thanks for that, i hav a new cheese knife ive only used once on cheese so mite give it a go nex time

estherc's picture

I've tried a lame, a sharp knife, a serrated bread knife. What works best for me is a small serrated non-stick knife by Kohn Ricon. Its the only thing I can get to go through the dough smoothly without sticking.

drogon's picture

is mine. From:

It has a steel back which I've bent into a slight curve which seems to make it easier for me to use.

(Razor blades from my local chemist much much cheaper than those sold by bakery bits though!)

The blade gets turned or replaced at the start of the week depending on how I think it feels. It blunts quicker on the breads with seeds, grains, etc.