The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

scoring Tartine sourdough

leavenguy's picture
leavenguy

scoring Tartine sourdough

 

Hello - I'm having some problems with scoring Tartine country bread. I use a sharp razor but it still catches on the surface and drags rather unevenly in the dough. It seems as though the surface is not taut or dry enough. Is this a matter of putting more flour on it? The loaves are otherwise excellent.

Please let me know if you are able to help

 

Thank you.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

To successfully score a high-hydration loaf, it is important to make your cuts rapidly and without hesitation. It may also help to either wet or oil your blade. The cuts should be rather shallow - about 1/4 inch deep.

Having said that, having a well-shaped loaf with a taut gluten sheath is also important. Having the surface somewhat dry also helps. This is accomplished by proofing loaves in a lined basket or on a linen couche. The cloth lining will absorb some moisture from the loaf surface, making scoring easier.

Hope this helps.

David

leavenguy's picture
leavenguy

Thanks, David. That's very useful. 

You lead me to another question: I've had mixed results with the lined basket. Sometimes it's worked brilliantly; other times the cloth has completely stuck to the surface of the dough and, very frustratingly, I've had to tear the surface off with the cloth. Do you have any tips with this? I've used cotton and linen teatowels. The cotton seem to have worked, on balance, better than the linen.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

If you can find and afford some bannetons lined with unbleached linen or some coiled cane brotformen, that's a help. The biggest help for sticking is probably to dust whatever you use to proof your loaves with a 50/50 mix of AP and Rice flour. Rice flour keeps the dough from sticking. It's amazing stuff.

An alternative is to find some "baker's linen." This is unwashed and seems inherently non-stick. You use it as a "couche" for proofing loaves. If you need more information about how to use a couche, search TFL or just ask.

David