The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I'm lost in deciding what slashing tool to buy

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Jkog's picture
Jkog

I'm lost in deciding what slashing tool to buy

I'm planning to buy a slashing tool and I was certain I want to buy a lame like this one here (scroll down a little) with 10 blades, until I read this  thread about slashing. Floyd has brought the idea of a double edged razor on a coffe stir. There are people who posted there that this way has worked even better for them than the lame, and I've read in other threads about this way too. I am having a hard time deciding wether to buy the lame or something like this and just put it on a stick. Have you guys tried one or both of the ways? Can you help me decide wich one is better?


Thanks and a happy weekend!


Jonathan.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

After you have baked for a year, you will be able to apply the subtle stroke needed to feel confident when slashing. Until then, I suggest you look in your knife drawer for an old low profile serrated edge knife. You can buy what is called a tomato knife from Komachi but you probably already have a great serrated knife now.


There is a section in the site handbook on scoring done by Dsnyder that many have found very useful also. Confidence and practice then a little more practice.


Eric

Francine's picture
Francine

I just purchased this lame from Northwest Sourdough; great service!  I live in California and I received my lame in less then a week. 


 


http://www.northwestsourdough.com/newsite/store.html


 


Cheers,


Francine

hikerchick's picture
hikerchick

I purchased my lame at Sur La Table.  Love that store!  it was 6 bucks and works great.  Before I used a razor blade.  That worked well too.  I tried the knife thing and that did not. (maybe I have bad knives)


http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/lame-bread-slashing-tool


This is a link to King Arthur flour.  It is a wonderful site!  Beware!  I spent 2 hours on it when i first discovered it. :) 


Enjoy


Becky, Phoenix, AZ

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

I've tried many slashing tools: lames, straight razors, bread knives, etc. The thing I have had the most success with is a simple, good serrated knife. It has to be a sharp, quality knife. But for me, nothing beats it.

proth5's picture
proth5

If you are in the US or Canada... I've bee recently reminded that things are different elsewhere.


Do yourself a favor and make that call to TMB Baking and order a blade holder.  If you want, order some blades.


The blade holder is actually a small blade, but usually a double edged razor blade is mounted on it.  Very inexpensive (even with shipping, I guess, but my shipped free with a copy of Advanced Bread and Pastry).  Replaceable blade can be kept wicked sharp.  You can shape the blade to suit your style.


I used the coffee stirrer improvisation for a couple of years and it worked fine, but the  blade holder is actually a little better. It has less "spring" to it and you can make a more confident motion when slashing. 


Hope this helps.

Jkog's picture
Jkog

I am actually baking for a year or so now but the slashing problem doesn't seem to get better as opposed to the other skills. I think I will but the blade hloder from TMB and some double edged razors to place on it. Proth5, does the blade holder from TMB can hold doubled edged razors as well? Because they are designed a little bit different than the one that comes with the holder.


Thanks again you all! I love this community!

proth5's picture
proth5

you know way, way more about double edged razor blades than I.


I do know that I buy my blades at the local mega-mart (some generic brand)and they fit on the holder just fine.  It may be less expensive,though if you are doing a lot of baking, to buy them from TMB.


Two quips from"my teacher" on the subject of slashing:


"Practice all the time - see,you have a fork in your hand! Practice the motion against the table..."and


"Mental mise en place."


And one from me (well, stolen from an unknown source):


"Practice makes perfect only if you practice perfectly."


And practice is really what makes the difference, not the tool.


Happy Baking!

Jkog's picture
Jkog

Practice is of course the best way to perfect the slashing (or everything in life actually). But still, a small question about the holder: doest the holder goes through the hole in the blade or does the blade slips through a slit in the holder? Or in other words, do you think these blades will fit?


Thanks so much again! 

proth5's picture
proth5

Goes through the slits in the blade.  You need to mount the blade carefully as the edges need to catch on the holder.  Your link just took me back to the original post, so I can't tell you which blades will work.


If nothing else, talk to the people at TMB. They are very helpful.

Jkog's picture
Jkog

Just to be clear I was talking about these blades



Anyway, I will call them. Thank you all for the help!

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

I had trouble with slashing for a long time, experimented with several different knives and razor blades, but finally cracked the nut and got good slashing after following Floyd's advice and using a double-edged razor blade on a stir stick ...and, this is important, I dip the blade in water right before slashing each loaf.  Now, slashing is a breeze ...only limited by my lack of artistic skills (rather than being limited by 'grabby' dough, jagged cuts, and the like.)  The lame that you gave a link to is basically the same thing, but with a metal 'stir stick' to slide the razor blade onto ...and has the advantage of having a curved end and a straight end.  I think I'll buy one of those lames!


 


Just to be perfectly clear, here's the link that I like:


http://www.tmbbaking.com/supplies.html


 


Brian


 

Zenith's picture
Zenith

Two popsicle sticks and one very small metal binder clip.  Put the double-edge razor blade in between the two popsicle sticks (parallel to the sticks, so that one sharp edge is covered by the sticks, and closer to one end) and then clip the blade securely with the binder clip over the sticks, squeezing the blade in between.  You can change the blade as often as you need. 

foodslut's picture
foodslut

A double-edged safety razor blade slipped onto the end of a plastic McDonald's stir stick - easy-peasy!

shallots's picture
shallots

For some reason I sprayed one with Pam on both sides of a razor blade.


Holy wild yeast, fellow bakers.  I got slits that did what they are supposed to.


IF there's a negative to this, I haven't found it, yet. But after all but destroying numerous Irish Soda Breads that were poorly scored by me, now they look as pretty as James Beard's sketch. 

But what the slicker blade does for baguettes...I am just so happy. 

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

I tried razor blades held in my hand and couldn't get them to work.  Putting them on a flat wooden stir stick as Floyd suggested made a big difference and I almost got good slashes that way.  I tried lubricating with Crisco, and with flour, and with Crisco AND flour and nothing improved my slashes ...the dough always seemed 'grabby' whether it was a high hydration dough or not.  Finally, the trick for me was dipping the homemade lame in cool water ...finally, it worked!  NOW I'm going to go experiment with a shot of Pam so I can compare ...but it sure sounds good from what you are saying.  Oh, the only other thing that I do to help out is I stabilize the dough with 2 fingers of my left hand near where the slash begins while I do the actual slashing with my right hand.  Saw that in a video somewhere ...some french (I think?) bakery where a guy was rapidly slashing a whole counterful of baguettes and batards in different patterns.  This seems to help as well.  In any case, I did go ahead and order the metal stick type of lame from TMB, the one that carries standard double-edged razor blades but has a straight and curved end on it.  I figured for $6 that it can't be bad.  Also ordered a few other items ...can't just spend $6 at a bakery supply store!


 


Brian


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I'm wondering whether all the "tricks" to lubricate the blade is just compensation for a dull blade.


I've used the disposable French lames, and they work really well but only for a few times (<20?). My best, consistant performance has been with a Pure Komachi tomato knife.


Like Brian, I have just ordered a blade holder and razor blades from TMB. I'm eager to see if a "real lame" with sharp blades performs better.


David

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

David ...Maybe it's lack of skill and practice as well?  I never used a dull blade yet, preferring brand new razor blades.  In particular, it's the very start of the slash that tends to snag up ('grabby' dough).  It's possible that speed of slashing may be the culprit too since I notice that the pros slash pretty quickly ...maybe Pam or water makes up for a slower approach?  A quick slash would work better?  I'll keep practicing...


Brian

phxdog's picture
phxdog

Brian-


I noticed that scoring my high-hydration breads became much easier when I began to proof in Brotforms.


I had previously been proofing loaves in a air-tight container covered tightly with plastic wrap. I assume because the surface of the dough was so damp & fagile, that the lame naturally seemed to grab & tear no matter what I did.


Now (when proofing in Brotforms, loosly covered with cloth or lightly oiled wrap) those same recipes result in loaves that develop a sort of 'skin' that scores easier that before. They look much better as well!


Proper shaping might also be a possible cause of your scoring troubles; are you developing that "web of gluten" to hold your loaves together? A more taut surface might be easier to score.


Scott (Phxdog)