The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


geoman's picture


Hi all,

I’m struggling with my scoring. Using a lame (albeit a pretty cheap one I think, it gets caught in the dough and doesn’t make a clean slash. I see all these videos of people making a long, clean slash but I’m not getting anywhere close to that. Any tips? Is it possibly an issue with the dough?


bikeprof's picture

cheap lames are not going to hurt your scoring.

a few things that will make it easier:

- hold lame back near the end of the handle, away from the blade...this helps keep you from digging in too aggressively and getting the blade hung up

- score cold dough - this makes so much difference, it is one of the main reasons I retard all my breads in the final proof...easier to handle and score (along with a bigger window for when they need to be put in the oven)

- hydration makes a difference, with wetter doughs generally being more difficult

- the last point applies to the surface of the dough as well, so a well floured surface should score more easily than a shiny moist one...and I recently watched a pretty famous baker turn out loaves onto the loader, and to help with the intricate scoring she did on them, sifted flour onto each one and rubbed it into the surface before she started

- practice and confidence go a long ways too

Old Baker's picture
Old Baker

Plus a couple of things I've learned:

Score after proofing.  The surface of the dough is a bit drier and firmer, less likely to tear or grab.

Make quick, firm slashes.  Don't be slow and careful, just do it!

And my lame is the cheapest available: a double edge razor blade stuck on the end of an old modeler's paint brush.

mutantspace's picture

i alkways sift flour onto my loaf and dip blade (very cheap) into a little oil. Most important, be confident. Go for it. You really have to be present when cutting. Be decisive. I know that sounds vague but you really just have to go for it. Dont be precious about your loaf. Itll survive.   

Portus's picture

... a sharp blade helps, so if using a safety razor blade, rotate to use each of the four corners over time.  Also relevant is the angle of slash - too perpendicular and it will snag the dough.  I whole-heartedly endorse chilling the dough and misting the blade with a touch of oil (e.g. Spray and Cook).