The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

When to slash?

PhiloBreddoe's picture
PhiloBreddoe

When to slash?

It seems the ideal time to slash is some time between shaping and baking.  Beyond that, I'm a little bewildered.  Ignoring for a moment, the constant and obvious answer in home baking, that anything you do is going to be great, what are the effects of slashing at various points during the final rise?

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

99 % of the time you slash right before the bread goes in the oven.   Slashes help to control how the loaf expands in the oven, so you don't get blow-outs or tears.  They also look cool!  :)  Since the loaf is fully proofed, the slash can cause it to deflate (if it just sits around), so you want to get it in the oven asap to start the baking process.

I do remember in a class a specialty bread where you slashed before the final rise--it spread out as the loaf proofed and made an unusual shape--sorry I can't remember what kind of bread it was.

PhiloBreddoe's picture
PhiloBreddoe

Thanks a ton, Breadnerd.

SDbaker's picture
SDbaker

A lot of rye breads are scored after final shaping and complete the final rise with the cut. Due to the delicate nature of the dough much damage would result from a score to a leavened rye structure.

 SD Baker

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

It's my understanding that some loaves - ciabatta?? - are prone to collapse if slashed after the final rise, just before baking.  Perhaps these should be slashed, if at all, just after shaping.

Rosalie

rudolf's picture
rudolf

All things considered the time to slash is just prior to going in the oven. Slashing when the loaf is just shaped allows the loaf to spread sideways if not in a tin. Slashing always deflates the loaf to some extent in my experience and one can only hope for 'oven spring' to allow the loaf to rise to its former size. I have long since stopped using a razor blade or craft knife to slash the loaves with, and instead use a wetted bread knife with a serated edge. 100% rye flour bread is never slashed in my experience. But if in a bread form it is well to prick the top all over to the depth of 1/2 to 1 inch. This will stop a elongated bubble of CO2 forming under the crust and 'raising the roof'.