The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

What makes a good bread lame?

Odelicebakery's picture
Odelicebakery

What makes a good bread lame?

Hi guys! 

This is Quentin from O'Delice Bakery, I am the founder of an artisan bread lame brand and happy to be part of this baking community, I am new to this website, literally just discovered it a few days ago. Exciting forum I see! 

French bakers that are friends of mine and myself worked on developing 2 bread lames that are available today on Amazon. Built these from scratch and put a lot of effort into creating the best possible product out there. But as I am constantly trying to improve and better our lames, I would love to receive some feedback as to what you think makes a good bread lame. Is it the material, the feel, the grip, the security, the storage..? 

Would love to hear your feedback and experience using bread lames. If you wish to discover/check our bread lames, you can type in " O'Delice Bakery " on amazon and will find us :) . 

Thanks guys! 


David R's picture
David R
  • Holds the blade straight, not curved
  • The blade is securely clamped in, not friction fit
  • The blade protrudes far out of the clamp, to allow easy use
  • Made of molded plastic, not metal, and certainly no wood anywhere (the clamp might have metal parts, if necessary)
  • Cheap! This is a utility item, not a luxury.
David R's picture
David R

Note: The fact that a long and respected tradition has produced a ridiculous stupid design, which you were enticed to follow because it's the tradition, is not your fault. You probably have to continue to make the traditional type, to satisfy those who merely follow tradition without thinking.

gavinc's picture
gavinc

I have two; one curved the other straight.  I use the curved one on baguettes and batard loaves, the straight on boules.  I like these because I can replace the blades with "old fashioned" razor blades.  The cured lame is great at creating "ears" on my baguettes.

David R's picture
David R

Hmmm - good point - I had just assumed that standard old safety-razor blades would be the way to go, rather than a proprietary style or a fixed blade that would need sharpening. I think the old blade really is best though - the other ways are too expensive and too difficult.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

:) laser?  High power air or water stream?  Freeze cut wire?  Hot wire?  Finger cap?  Or Glove?   

suave's picture
suave

It's not the blade, it's the hands.

David R's picture
David R

OK, next time you get to use a plastic fork. ☺️

suave's picture
suave

Would you care to elaborate on the point of your comment? 

David R's picture
David R

Sorry, I missed this when it was posted. My point is that it's both the blade and the hands, and if either one is deficient, the work likely will be too. The old line that went something like "Only an inferior workman blames his tools" is absolutely silly - unless we assume that he did already have decent tools. And if you don't believe me, you should try using a tool that's very poorly-suited for its job sometime.

Ovens don't need thermostats - we can turn the switch on and off ourselves. Refrigerators are unnecessary - we can just bake our bread when it's ready, instead of delaying, and feed our starters more often. Bakers don't ever need a cutting tool of any kind - we can just use our hands for dividing things. However, tools are helpful. ?

Tools can't really fix lack of skill, it's true. But skill can't really compensate for bad tools either. And, all other things being equal, it's a disservice to claim that easier isn't better. A secure comfortable handle is neither a revelation nor a revolution - just a bit of an improvement.

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

But it'll only be as good as the person holding it.

David R's picture
David R

Absolutely true. But the worst lame in the world (an inflated latex balloon, let's say) does not allow success for anyone. And the macho bluster of "You should be able to get by with bad tools, just like me" is no excuse for continuing to make poor tools - especially when decent tools wouldn't be difficult or expensive to produce.

Besides - by your logic, no one should ever have a special tool for this job, because any old knife will do the job just fine.

plevee's picture
plevee

Or shaping the bread. Often forgotten when having problems with slashing.

Patsy

David R's picture
David R

The way I see the logic of bread lames:

  1. We need to slash the crust before baking.
  2. A cutting tool is therefore needed.
  3. Most knives are not sharp enough to do the job easily.
  4. Blades of the old Gillette safety-razor type are very sharp, widely available, and inexpensive. Other blades that I can find are either expensive or difficult.
  5. Those blades are sharp on two edges, and somewhat clumsy to hold onto by themselves, so most people prefer to have some kind of handle.
  6. If our only option is to improvise our own handle, with no help and no guarantee of mechanical skills or design experience, we should just find a suitable stick and thread the blade onto the stick, because that's simple and nearly anyone can do it successfully.
  7. However, if someone with mechanical skills, design experience, some time on their hands, and a profit motive, is going to make handles for bread-slashing tools, should they constrain themselves to only the improvised "thread it on a stick" method - or should they feel free to construct something that's better and easier to use?

Why in the world would anyone discourage them from coming up with better, more convenient handle designs? (Or better blade designs, for that matter)

Traditionally, it was presumed that no one would ever be interested in making a better handle. That presumption was probably correct, before "sell it online" became practical. But now that any good design (or even a poor one that looks pretty) has a decent prospect for selling to a much wider market, the traditional expectation is no longer correct.

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Here's my take on a good bread lame ;

(http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/38115/lame-maker)

I keep the lame and a small package of extra razor blades in a plastic toothbrush holder for safe storage when not in use.

Wild-Yeast

Design Render:

 Actual Design:

hanseata's picture
hanseata

When my cheap old curved lamé with plastic handle broke, I wanted to upgrade and get something really durable. I bought a rather expensive metal one, advertised as especially practical because it was shaped like a surgical instrument.

Unfortunately, it turned out to the opposite, too heavy to handle comfortably. And, worse, the blade is fastened by a screw that sticks out too much, snagging the dough, when I score at a shallow angle. 

I’m using a French lamé (Mure & Peyrow) now, sturdy, but light weight, and without annoying design flaws. I have a straight and a curved one, and am very satisfied with their performance.

Karin

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Hi Hanseata,

I hadn't given any real thought about the weight though you're absolutely right about it. The snagging screw design indicates the designer wasn't a home baker. The all up weight is 17 grams and has a very light "feel". I've noticed that many of the European craft bakers use a raw safety razor blade parked between their lips when its not in use....,

Wild-Yeast