The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Scoring baguette

bencheng's picture

Scoring baguette

Hi there,

I have been baking baguettes for a few time, but none of the scoring come out as as open as I want them to be.

I have done some reading, I'm wondering if because my cut is not deep enough or the baguettes were not proofed enough. 


If you have any suggestions or ideas I'd appreciated your help. 




Baguette 2


Baguette xsection

LindyD's picture

Recently posted by BelleAZ, Master Baker Ciril Hitz shows how to score baguettes

BreadHitz has a number of excellent videos on shaping baguettes.  Check out the TFL Video link at the top of the page and watch the series by Jeffrey Hamelman as well.  They're all quite helpful.

Bread Breaddington's picture
Bread Breaddington

I don't know if these photos give us an accurate look, but comparing the two it looks like you did not get very much oven spring. If they don't expand much in the oven then the scores aren't going to open up much either.

bencheng's picture

I'm pretty new to baking, so i'd love to know how could I can get more oven spring?


flournwater's picture

Based on the crumb I don't see how more oven spring would improve your bread.  I do believe that your scoring is a bit shallow; I'd probably run the lame twice as deep as what your images reveal.

IMO, your work looks good.  If it's as tender as it appears to be don't work too hard to fix it.  Just enjoy it.

bencheng's picture

flournwater, thanks for you encouraging words!

Syd's picture

You want to bake your baguettes slightly underproved.  That way you will get more oven spring and your slashes will open more.  I usually final proof my baguettes for an hour to an hour and fifteen; no more.  Your scoring is at too much of an angle to the long axis of the baguette.  It needs to be straighter.  You want to keep your scoring within the middle third of the baguette along the vertical axis.  This is difficult to explain in words.  Check out Susan's Wild Yeast blog for a very clear explanation and detailed pictures of how to do it.  Also watch Ciril Hitz's shaping video. On one of them he actually uses a black marker to draw lines on the baguette to demonstrate exactly where to score.  Your blade needs to be a low angle to get a nice 'gringe'.  I like your crumb.  I bet your baguette tastes good, too. :)



MadAboutB8's picture

How hot was the oven when you put the bread in? A very hot oven will contribute to a good oven spring. I usually preheat the oven to the highest temp(mine can go upto 275C) for at least an hour before the bake. Then, lower the temp to 240-250c for 10 minutes, and bake at 225C for the rest.

Did you steam your oven? Steaming will also help tremendously with oven spring.

Together with the good scoring, as Syd suggested and well-proof dough. You should be achieve a good oven spring.

Good luck with the next bake.


RoBStaR's picture

Here is a link to properly scoring a baguette that was shared to me by mini oven. I thought I'd pass on this very helpful information.Hope this helps.

guillaumeravasse's picture

For me underproving is one of the keys. As Syd said, if you underprove it then there will be a good oven spring. You can do a finger test: press the dough with your finger, if it bounces back quickly, it needs more proving. If it does not bounce back or it reinflates really really slowly, then you have proved it for too long. It should bounce back slowly.

In addition to underproving and as mentioned above, the following are important:


getting a grignette (or lamette/incisette) is really good as well. That stuff will cut through any dough!

  • Steaming. a glass of cold water or ice cubes in the hot tray at the bottom of the oven 2 min before putting the bread in.
  • also maybe, a good technique for pre-shaping and final shaping of your baguettes. see excellent videos here:
Good luck. The inside of your baguettes look good! I feel like tasting them! :)

Keep baking!
Guillaume if you fancy making some wild yeast...


tc's picture

What do you do if when you score the loaf, your cuts close up because the dough is very soft and sticky? Is that a problem with the gluten formation early on, or because of the final shaping? I preshape, let it rest for an hour, then final shape and proof. I'm making baguettes with Bouabsa's formula via David on this forum. That dough is STICKY and very soft, to the point that after the final shaping I can't transfer the loaves to the parchment without the middle falling down and getting streched out.

Wek's picture


That's a beatiful crumb you got there. Which recipe did you use if you dont me asking? 

bencheng's picture

I use the formula from Baking Artisan Bread: 10 Expert Formulas for Baking Better Bread at Home by Ciril Hitz's.


100g strong flour

100g water

a tiny pinch of yeast


Main dough

all poolish

200g strong flour

100g water

1g yeast

4g Salt

2g Diastatic Malt (optional)



Wek's picture

Ah, I have that book. Never tried the recipies in it though.



Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

I'll add my 2 cents, which might contradict a few other opinions already posted...

To me, your loaves looked under proofed to begin with. The sign that suggests that to me is pic #2. See where it split near the bottom crust and ran lengthwise? There is some 'bloom' coming out from that split, and it's sometimes referred to as a 'blowout'. That -usually- means that the dough was rapidly expanding even after the crust was setting. That causes the split. Because the dough is still expanding after the crust has set, it has to expand somewhere, so it starts coming out where the shape is weakest (the bloom). That's going to be where it cracked. Ideally, we want the bloom to come out the scores on the top, not around the edges. Over proofed loaves generally do not have enough yeast activity left in them to cause such a blowout.

If it's NOT under proofed, then you might want to back off the oven temp a little bit, and/or add steam as suggested. Steam keeps the crust from setting too quickly. Keeps it moist and pliable for as long as possible to accomodate the expansion going on inside as the core comes up to temp.

Tears like that can also be caused by a weak spot in the shaping, as well as under developed gluten, which no amount of excellent shaping can overcome.

Baguettes are an artform. It's very wet dough, so it's hard to determine gluten structure, and hard to shape. You have us nitpicking here.. because your loaves look excellent otherwise. I'd say you have a sound base with which to start trying some different things. You'd be wise to keep extremely concise notes about every aspect of your procedures, that way you can just change one or two things and note the differences. Pasting back with new pictures and exactly what changed will get you even better advice down the road.

I'd have no problems serving that bread... it looks like it was baked with care, and I'll bet it tasted great! Perfection will come - eventually.

- Keith

bencheng's picture


Thanks for you input apprecicated. You give me some ideas what can be improved next time :)