The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help with scoring....

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Bread Head's picture
Bread Head

Help with scoring....

I can't seem to get it right.  I score my loaves with a lame (razor blade on a coffee stirrer).

Seems like the loaves I retard in the fridge are a bit easier because they have a tighter skin.  But for the most part I can't get the square score right on the top of the Tartine Loaf.  The skin keeps stretching and moving.

Any tips?

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Maybe this will offer some inspiration:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/handbook/scoring

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi,

I find it easier with a good serrated paring knife which I use only for slashing.

Now, with more practise, I can use a lame if I choose to.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

start further down the sides of the loaf and not in the top middle.  

Put on some Spanish guitar music and think "Zorro!"

Click your heels together when you've finished your score.   (Once is enough or you may end up in Kansas)   :)


PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

What do you have against Kansas, mini?  Having moved here three different times, I'd say that it's a pretty good place to be!

Paul

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I got nothing against Kansas, lived there as a little girl, all my first memories are from Kansas.  Kindergarten and the 1st grade too!   If we all click our heels at the same time, will we end up in your kitchen?  Wouldn't that be fun!

"There's no place like home" for home slashed & baked bread.   

Mini 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

You were in Kansas as a little girl, I was in Michigan as a little boy.  I went to Michigan Tech at approximately the same time that you were living in da U.P.  Then I wind up in Kansas (the first time) in my late thirties.  Sooner or later we're bound to meet in person.  And my wife and I love being in the kitchen with friends.  So, yes, by all means, in my kitchen.  All you have to do is convince your husband that the shortest route home to Europe from Chile is through Kansas.

Paul

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

I found something called a grapefruit knife that is handy in slashing. It has serrations on both edges of the blade and curls up towards the end of the blade, somewhat like a lame.

I'm still not perfect with my slashing but the knife is definitely a handy little piece.

pezking7p's picture
pezking7p

I was so excited to get my new lame a few weeks ago because it was going to make my slashes so much better and easier....

 

I gave up trying to use it after two loafs because it was so awful, I just use a sharp knife now with very good success.  Still wish I could get a lame to work.

RusticReconnaissance's picture
RusticReconnaissance

When I first started in my apprenticeship at my bakery making the 4-cut square on top of our French-Boule was nearly impossible. Not to mention they handed my a tool, a lame; that I had no idea how to use effectively. As I became better equipped to use the lame I found that place my hand on top of the Boule helped as I used the sides as a outline to score. the biggest thing is letting the dough become some what dry so the lame doesn't tear the dough as you slice through. Also it is very important the at the corners of you square that you have scored, that the lines cross one another slightly at the end. Resembling a odd sized tic-tac-toe board. hope this helps. 

RusticReconnaissance's picture
RusticReconnaissance

Its also important to note that a lame should be used to cut at at 45*-60* angle and away from the body. Often this is hard to achieve in a commercial environment and also a goofy feeling when you cut because you end up pulling down and outward. However with some practice you will score as well as Peter R. 

varda's picture
varda

because I find scoring so difficult.   I notice that in videos people score as you say at an angle away from the body.    I have been scoring back to front in a straight line from far end of bread to me, which seems natural, but clearly isn't how those who know do it.   Do you understand why this side to side scoring is right, and don't you have to twist your hand to do it?   Thanks.  -Varda

lesparza5's picture
lesparza5

I've found that with practice the scoring becomes easier. I use the same razor and coffee stirrer too. Just keep baking my friend. Before you know it, it will be second nature on scoring bread and then some...

RusticReconnaissance's picture
RusticReconnaissance

I think side to side just helps you visualize what angles you need to hit. You will become great at it when you find your rhythm and motion. Not cutting too deep ect ect. However scoring at an angle (twisting the lame) makes the ears have a rustic lap where the crust browns at the edges.

varda's picture
varda

I think side to side just helps you visualize what angles you need to hit.


That makes a lot of sense to me.    Thanks.  -Varda

gabicopter's picture
gabicopter

I found this video to be really helpful when I was having trouble with my scoring! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaLnzomvEF8

Also, keep your elbows in and your forearm parallel to the loaf to be scored. Score with the whole arm, not just the wrist. 

RusticReconnaissance's picture
RusticReconnaissance

Scoring with the whole arm is the key. I used to picture my forearm as a bread knife with a drop out, but for rustic scores ( a bit more advanced) it's more of a wrist arm combo. 

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

I've been using a #24 Scalpel for the slashing honors - till I remembered that the sharpest knife in the house is a shashimi knife from Japan. The shashimi blade is made of high carbon steel - to the point of the steel being almost brittle. Although inacpable of being used as a hatchet it attains and retains a wickedly keen razor edge. Low angle slashes of the blade open the oven ready loaves allowing beautifully expressive oven spring with an attendant "ear" if required.

Really can't believe it took me this long to get right...,

Wild-Yeast

kimemerson's picture
kimemerson

What about depth? How deep should a slash/score/dock be?

RusticReconnaissance's picture
RusticReconnaissance

How deep you should score is all relative to the proof. A loaf that is young and you are accounting for oven spring score half 1/2 inch to 3/5 inch deep. A loaf that is over proofed needs to barely be scored and just cutting the top and leaving a faint line will open in the oven. French- is a resilient dough and can be scored deep or shallow and it likes either. 

 

Hope this helps!

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

0.5 kilo batard loaves are scored to a depth of 16 mm [5/8"] at the deepest point [slash is at a 45 degree angle].

Wild-Yeast

Sadassa_Ulna's picture
Sadassa_Ulna

For months I had been trying to score high hydration baguettes with either a razor or a just sharpened knife. I finally decided to try something with teeth and I was amazed at how well it worked. I used the same knife I usually cut bread with after it is baked.  I gently press my left hand against the left side to give a little resistance and it works perfectly. 

foodslut's picture
foodslut

.... with Derma-Safe folding disposable knives. I learned about them at Cool Tools, bought some as handy letter/parcel openers, and tried one just out of curiosity on one of the loaves - worked great. I bought mine at Amazon.com, but a search for "Derma-safe knives" should bring up all sorts of places to buy them.

Good luck in your hunt for great slashes.

jeffers's picture
jeffers

..use a sharp serrated bread knife to good effect (as suggested above just steady the proved loaf with your non-cutting hand).