lower hydration skin for slashing?
My most recent loaf had much better slashes than ever before. I want to do this again every time; I solicit your feedback guesses as to why it worked.
My dough was 75% hydration with traditional dry yeast. After the autolyse, the first (and only) rise -including some stretching and folding- was uneventful. My shaping and sealing was pretty lackadaisical; in the end the surface was only adequate, certainly not "tight".
For proofing, I sprinkled the loaf with flour, sprinkled a dry towel with flour too, covered the loaf with the towel flour side down, then covered the whole thing with an inverted plastic drawer.
Then just before baking, my Komatsu tomato knife slashed the loaf relatively easily. The slash opened nicely (over an inch at the widest part), and even had a significant "ear" (although the ear was on the other side of the slash, not on the undercut side where I expected it).
(All that flour baked into the top crust looks a little funny; it isn't my favorite. But maybe it's just a small price to pay for the improvement in slashing/scoring?)
My tentative theory is the flour/towel pulled some moisture out of only the surface of the loaf, making a "skin" of lower hydration (even though the overall hydration seemed unchanged). Does this make much sense? Is this theory worth pursuing?