The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Hot scoring

JonJ's picture

Hot scoring

There's this technique that I've been discussing with my baking friends lately where you don't score a loaf before putting it in the oven, but instead remove it five minutes in, score it in the pan, replace the cover and return it for the rest of the bake as normal.

I've made two loaves with this method this weekend and am less sceptical now. The loaf pictured was scored this way.

It shows the vertical rise that both of my loaves scored this way achieved.

It also has fissures and tears to the side of the main score that seemed to have started to develop prior to scoring.

The one loaf that I tried with this method was cold retarded in the fridge; the other didn't have the cold fridge retard. For the latter loaf, I found it easier to score with this method than scoring a 'room temperature' dough.

What does everyone think of this idea?

I guess it doesn't have a place in many environments where it would be impractical, e.g. commercial bakeries, but for the home baker who makes a weekend loaf or two it is interesting, and maybe worth some experimentation.


Dan_In_Sydney's picture

It's standard practice in my procedure.

In fact, it's the step that comes right after me exclaiming - in unprintable terms - that it has come to my attention that I have placed yet another bake in the oven without scoring it.

A variation on this technique is frequently practiced where I insert a step between the two, involving me frantically rummaging about for my lame, linen and bannetons skating across the floor as I shovel them from the cupboard.

The usual follow-up step (in my patent-pending foolproof method of proving what a rank amateur I am) sees me burn myself as I attempt to score the rising bread while it's still in the oven because the stupid handles on the slightly-too-large pizza stone are preventing the oven rack from sliding out again. Additional exclamations - even less suitable for print - necessarily follow.

I have even done this when baking two sets of baguettes - not even 30 minutes apart.

Honestly, though, my experience there found that slashing even 2 minutes in was siginificantly easier and I have, on occasion, score 'hot' on purpose. (Though I still burned myself, of course.)


Benito's picture

On Instagram, there are a few bakers I follow who routinely use this method.  I think it actually works well, most who use it bake on a stone or steel rather than a dutch oven.  The idea is that the first five minutes stiffens the crust a bit, so especially if you think you’ve over fermented a bit, it can reduce spreading.  Then when you score it opens up beautifully.  I was planning to use it the next time I think I’ve over fermented.


Rock's picture

I think this is a good way to do it as long as you are quick. 

I don't bake in a vessel, just on a hot stone. I also only give the loaves a quick spray before loading into the oven. I used many different types of steam generation over the years, but for the last 8 or 9 years I've just gone old school and find the loaves crisp and tasty.

These loaves are baked on a stone at 450° F for 45 minutes.

hot slash

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

thought I was seeing double. Lovely all three of them!  

Jon, I can almost pick up the toasted seeds on that loaf.  They must smell fantastc!