The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Two questions about dealing with dough

Paul Paul Paul Paul Paul Paul Paul Paul Paul Paul Paul Paul's picture
Paul Paul Paul ...

Two questions about dealing with dough

I have a double whammy here.


Alright so I've been making bread lately (along with everyone else in the forum), and I've been having a few problems, about scoring bread, and refrigerating bread. First, about the scoring, i use our biggest knife, and spray it with pam, but it still get a lackluster score in the bread and ends up deflating it. Any help?

Second, about the refrigeration, I think my refrigerator may be too cold to have dough ferment in it because it's about 5-7 degrees celsius. However, it may have being the leavening agent that i used that stopped it from rising. Any help?



emmsf's picture

A few thoughts on your scoring problem.  First, if the bread deflates badly when you score, it may be overproofed.  It isn't unusual for the bread to deflate a bit, but if it sags a lot when you score it, then you probably let it rise too long.  Second, scoring is traditionally done with a "lame" which is a really nothing but a razor blade on a little handle.  So I would not use your biggest knife, and I would not spray it with Pam.  Use your very sharpest, smallest knife, like a paring knife.  Make each score in one single fast motion - no sawing or pausing.  It may pull at the dough a bit, but if the knife is sharp, and if the dough is properly proofed, it'll be ok.  Also, your score should be very, very shallow - maybe just 1/4 inch, and you should always score at a sharp angle, not straight up and down.

As for retarding your bread in the fridge, you can definitely do this, but if your refrigerator is cold, you may have to give it more time, or you may have to give it a few hours at room temperataure before baking, to let it warm up, and to let the yeast get active again.

Best of luck!

bread10's picture

+ 1 for blade!


Buy yourself a nice sharp blade, I find even the cheap ones are usually better then using a knife. Either buy a blade with handle or make your own handle.

pmccool's picture

And I was already impressed to find so many of us in a forum this size!

Welcome, Paul infinitum.

Second the motion for a sharp blade.  A really sharp blade!  The actual tool seems to matter less than the sharpness of the blade itself.

And if your dough is deflating during scoring, it may be telling you that it want's less proofing before baking.


ehanner's picture

To add in and agree with those above that suggest a shorter proofing schedule or criteria.

When I was first learning to score, I discovered that using a small serrated tomato knife was effortless and reliable. You can look in your drawer for an old worn out blade with shallow teeth. Just draw it gently across the surface. No need for spray lubricants. I have even used a bread knife in a pinch.

Later after you have some experience making these cuts, try a razor or lame. I think you will find if you proof in a cloth lined banneton or linen after rolling the dough in a lightly floured counter, the surface will be more agreeable to slashing.

There is also a very good section in the Handbook section HERE  about scoring done by dmsnyder that has helped many here. Hope this helps.


fminparis's picture

1.  Don't use a knife.  Buy some DOUBLE edged razor blades, not single edge.  Double edged much thinner and sharper.  Use VERY quick, light strokes - the faster the better.  A slow, deliberate stroke causes dragging and ripping.  You cannot make the stroke too fast. These blades may be hard to find in stores - I buy them online.

2. 42 degrees (6 'C) is not too cold. Something else is wrong.