The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

why does my lame snag the dough?

varda's picture
varda

why does my lame snag the dough?

I have been trying to score with a curved razor.  When I slash the dough, it basically gets caught in a snag and I can't move it all the way through.   I have read Hamelman's detailed instructions as well as read a lot on this site, but I'm still not sure what I am doing wrong.   I don't have this problem with the serrated knife that I use but I would like to be able to use the curved blade for baguettes.   I recently bought a lame thinking that maybe my homemade one was the problem, but that hasn't helped.   I still end up getting snagged in the dough.   Thank. -Varda

intelplatoon's picture
intelplatoon

be sure when scoring the dough to slash very quickly with no hesitation. hold the blade at a little bit more than a 45 degree angle maybe 50- 55 degrees roughly, so that only the farthest bottom corner of the blade comes into contact with the dough. if you are holding at less of an angle the "back" of the razor where it is not sharp will grab the dough and get snagged. hope this helps it is hard to explain my thoughts without physically showing you how the blade should be angled.


in my opinion its all about the angle of the blade and the speed of the slashing.

varda's picture
varda

"only the farthest bottom corner of the blade comes into contact with the dough" 


Well I certainly haven't just had the farthest bottom corner the only contact so that gives me something to change.  And you are right that it is the back of the razor that is getting caught.   If I am using a curved blade, should I be making a straight motion or should I be tracing out an arc?    Thanks a lot!

wally's picture
wally

First, as intelplatoon says above, you need to slash with confidence - quickly, without hesitation.


Second, make sure you're not catching the dough with the back end of the blade.


Finally, if you've been proofing your baguettes seam-side up, try proofing them seam-side down.  This sometimes yields just a slight 'skin' on the baguette which makes slashing easier.


Good luck,


Larry

varda's picture
varda

Yes, I guess I didn't realize the blade should be tipped instead of flush.   I think that will make the difference.   I have been proofing mainly seam side down but I cover the loaves up with a couple pieces of cloth so it doesn't develop a skin.  I am gathering from what you are saying is that a skin isn't bad and actually helps with scoring.   Thanks for your help.  -Varda

MichaelH's picture
MichaelH

The way I score loaves is completely agains the conventional wisdom. I freely admit the the vast majority of excellent bakers on this forum would frown on my technique, as does most of the literature. I realize that the conventional technique works very well for most people, but it didn't work for me. However, after having the exact same problem you are having I decided to try something different. If I wasn't doing it right before, so be it.


When my loaves are fully proofed and ready for the oven I spritz them liberally with water. Then I score. For a long time I was using a very sharp German made serated paring knife. Recently I switched to a lame with a razor blade. My scoring was and is clean and smooth using either tool. It does not matter if the score is straight up or angled.


Michael


 


 

varda's picture
varda

You are saying that by wetting the dough it makes it easier to score?   The only dough I have brushed with water before baking is Jewish Rye because it really helps the crust, but I am a bit worrying about impact on the crust for other breads.   Something to keep in mind.   Thanks.    -Varda  

flournwater's picture
flournwater

Wetting the dough lubricates the outer surface so the lame/sharp knife tends to slide more smoothly.  Just don't overdo it.

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

About 3 inches high that I use to spritz my dough before slashing.  It's so small and the mist is so fine that there's little danger of overdoing it. 


Added bonus:  the bottle is too small for my husband to steal to use on his barbeque during the summer and leave outside for months on end (LOL!). 

varda's picture
varda

Thanks for adding to the chorus.   I like the tiny little spray bottle idea.   I guess I could get a pink one for added husband insurance. 

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

Hubby won't touch it with a 10 foot pole.  But the little kid is another story--I have to hide it from her!

MichaelH's picture
MichaelH

The blade does not snag and the score is clean. Since I bake most of  my loaves under cover, the spritz on the dough contributes to the steam and thus, IMO, benefits the crust.


It works for me.


Michael


 

varda's picture
varda

Great.   I'll try it.   Thanks.

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Like most tecniques involving making breads, practice is key. Along with being quick with the blade. The slashing starts around the 5:55 time marker:


 


varda's picture
varda

After watching him, it couldn't be clearer.   Thanks for the link.

intelplatoon's picture
intelplatoon

in my opinion, its always nice to get a very thin layer of skin on the outside of the dough, if possible. it helps give a nice clean "ear" to the score of your loaf.  if the skin gets to thick though, it can inhibit the blade's movement and sort of crinkle into itself, kind of like the couche above looks with the baguettes in it.


 


to each their own. there are never any rules, just experience and intuition.

varda's picture
varda

Yes, but it helps to know what everybody else's own is.   This has been so helpful.  Thanks. -Varda

Jo_Jo_'s picture
Jo_Jo_

Mine is hot pink.....