Can anyone recommend a good lame and where it can be purchased? Thank you!
I bought some single-edge razor blades for breadmaking. Work OK and cheap!
Most lames do seem to be just fancy razor blade holders. That said, someone just posted the other day about how satisfied they were with their new lame:
Here it is at Amazon. Maybe, if you search, you can find it other places:
http://www.amazon.com/Mure-Peyrot-Boulange-Lame/dp/B006K0RS1I/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1377243740&sr=1-1 ps:Also available at brotform.com for $13 + $4shipping
Here is another type at Breadtopia. Couple of videos showing it in action too. Ships via first class mail to US for only a couple of dollars(on top of the price of the lame, of course):
http://www.breadtopia.com/store/bread-lame.html All great reviews on the site.
Another nice one from Northwest Sourdough/Amazon. Most expensive and does not seem to come with blades. I think she has videos on the site showing use:
The 2 at Amazon have several reviews. Good luck.
Lots of people have commented in the past about using a coffee stir stick, with a double edge razor blade, for a curved lame. Others have said they just use a sharp knife, such as a paring knife, and had good results. That is also the route I take. I have a paring/utilty knife with a 4" blade that I keep razor sharp, and use it for slashing my loaves. It seems to work well, but a true razor blade probably would be better. Either way, there are several options beside buying an actual lame.
As mrfrost mentionned, a lame is simply a thingamajig to hold a razor blade. We don't have any in the shop. We use coffee stir ticks (a.k.a. popsicle sticks) with one end narrowed to fit a double edge safety-type razor blade. The blade is slid over the narrowed end and holds a nice curved shape. It works very well for breads with a fairly low hydration.
For higher hydration doughs, we use a serrated paring knife. Some of my guys/girls prefer what is commonly called a tomato knife with its fine serrations, others prefer something more standard. Whatever works for the individual.
Homemade lames, images:
Lames using coffee stirrers, whittled down popsicle sticks, etc:
At about $12 shipped, and with 5 blades supplied, the Breadtopia lame seems to be a pretty reasonable.
Sturdy looking. No moving parts to break. No hunting for sticks. Delivered to your mailbox.
Try the San Francisco Baking Institute:
The cheap handle is $6, the "expensive" one is $7.50
You can get 10 extra blades for $3, or a package of 250 for a mere $40!
Seriously given the difficulty finding double edge razor blades that's cheap.
Borrowed some of the best features from the lame sold by SFBI designing one with a lemon-wood handle and stainless-steel mandrel.
Currently in the middle of constructing the prototype. Pictures in a day or two of the finished item.
[Concept art render of the design below]
Construction went to plan. [Photo below].
Things learned from this project:
Most lames are made of what amounts to a plastic toothbrush handle with a removable razor blade. The real toothbrush with bristles is much more complicated to manufacture and sells for $ 3.00. A similar lame sells on Amazon for $ 10 or $ 15? Get serious.
I use a straight or cut-throat razor. Mine is 70 years old, has a fantastic edge and and I can sharpen it. Admittedly it is a little scary but is very effective.
.... AND that is why the double-edge razor, which is still pretty risky to handle and use compared to modern disposable razors, was known as the "Safety Razor", LOL!
After numerous experiments with every type of cutting device (wet serrated knives, art knives, cut throat razors, scalpels etc) I finally bought a lame. I went for the adour lame by Mure & Peyrot from souschef.co.uk because it was the cheapest purpose made lame I could get in the UK (if you can call it cheap at over £10 GBP after shipping!).
It's far better than anything else I've used so far. At least it's finally resolved that side of baking for me.
A few observations:
It uses standard razor blades - I didn't want to end up having to buy special blades at inflated prices, at least after the initial expense I can use readily available, cheap razor blades
It doesn't need sharpening - I know some people love working their way down through ever finer grades of carborundum stone, then finish with a leather strop and finally test a blade on the hairs on their forearms, but life is too damn short for that nonsense, I'd rather just change the blade in a few seconds.
It's really easy and very safe to load blades - This is a massive plus for me because I play the guitar and banjo (not at the same time), slicing fingertips open is not an option. This is what really puts me off the coffee stick idea.
The downside of course is the cost. I'd have thought it expensive for what it is at half the price. But £10?! As others have pointed out the construction doesn't appear to bear out the price. The generous side of me acknowledges the fact that everyone needs a toothbrush (well, most of us) but a lame is a very specialist bit of kit with a very small target audience. Also, it does what it is intended to do and it does it well. On balance I'm glad I bought it as it's one more side to the baking experience I can just get on with now.
I'm blown away by Wild-Yeast's lame making skills and would love to know a bit more about how that was done - but then again this is a bread making forum, is that way too off topic?