Whether you want to make small cuts or create fancy patterns when slashing your bread, a bread lame can be of great assistance.
You can easily acquire a bread lame from online stores or kitchenware shops and add an essential tool to your kitchen if you enjoy baking bread. However, using a bread lame requires some understanding and techniques. If you are seeking guidance in this regard, we are happy to help you.
Why do you need scoring?
Scoring a bread actually means slashing a dough with a bread lame that controls the direction in which the bread will expand while baking.
The only purpose of the intricate patterns is not to make your bread look impressive but also to guide it to rise in a controlled, optimized, and consistent manner.
Related: Best Bread Proofing Basket
When to use a Bread lame?
During shaping your bread or loaf, it may burst at the weak spots but slashing it intentionally creates a weak spot on the surface that prevents the dough from bursting and controlling the direction it will expand.
So, bread lame is used just before you are going to put the bread in the oven for baking. You can also use bread lame before proofing for French Rye bread.
Tips on using a Bread Lame
There are few tips and tricks that would make the use of your bread lame efficient and easy, which are as below:
- Wet the blade of your bread lame or oil it if you are working with sticky dough.
- Do a little practice or draw your pattern on the paper before using a bread lame on your dough.
- Make confident and swift slashes gently without pressing down on the dough.
- Slash across the bread dough axis instead of scoring it across the loaf.
- A sticky and wet dough needs a shallow cut, and a dry and rough dough would need a deeper cut.
- Change your blades regularly and make sure your bread lame has a sharp blade.
- Allow your dough to sit uncovered and flip it to create tension that will help you with scoring after final proofing.
- Try making your cuts around ¼ inch deep at a 30-45 degree angle.
- Cold dough is easy to slash, and once you score your dough…bake it right away.
- Keep your thumb on the bottom of the lame and slash the dough with a quick motion of your arm.
Using a Curved Bread lame
Whenever you want your bread of loaf to have a raised area of the crust… use a curved bread lame. When you slash using a curved blade, the dough forms a flap, which rises upwards and then goes a little back when you bake your bread in the oven.
While using a curved bread lame, hold it at about 30 to 45 degrees angle above your bread dough that helps in an upward formation of the flap.
Don’t press hard on your dough but make sure your slice is deep around 1 or 1, and a half-inch. If you don’t see the skin formed under your dough, slash it once more to have the cut a little deeper.
Using a Straight Bread lame
Straight bread lame doesn’t form a pronounced ear; instead offers a splayed opening when your bread is baked. So, the method of using a straight bread lame is different.
You need to hold the lame perpendicular to the dough surface area for creating cuts or patterns if you desire to decorate your bread.
When you are making only a few slashes using straight bread lame, make your cuts deeper than the curved blade lame so that it gives a nice and beautiful look after baking.
If you are making more cuts and decorative patterns, use the bread lame for shallow cuts to distribute the pressure evenly across the dough.
How to use Bread Lame for creating Artistic Patterns
Different cuts are great for different purposes like Chevron for Batard, slashes for Baguette, Polka or Swirl for Boule, etc. You can create amazing designs while scoring your bread dough, and few of them are as below:
- Cross Design – If you wish to create a cross design for your bread, use your bread lame to cut the center cross deeper than other slashes, which would let the center open in an impressive way. It offers easy usage when you are in a hurry making a straight cut from the top and similar crossing in the middle at 90 degrees.
- Box Top Design – This design can be easily achieved using a straight blade, but if you wish the box top to peel off towards the backside, you can use a curved blade that would create a small lip for each edge. Make 4 side slashes creating a box that would remain flat during baking, and then you can be as creative as you can for the top designs like scoring wheat stalk or curved lines.
- Multiple Small Cuts – For creative people, this method works best on all kinds of bread doughs. You can use bread lame for creative patterns, including leaves, lines, or wheat stalks. Prefer to use a straight bread lame to cut straight into the dough at a 90-degree angle for each leaf or cut.
- Batard Double Scoring – It is one of the common yet very decorative slashings for the loaves, especially with wheat bread. A double slash looks more beautiful than a single slash and opens up the loaf very dramatically. Use a curved blade lame to create a double slash that creates lips for the slashes. Start from the farthest side and make an angled cut to about the center of Batard and parallelly create another slash.
Bread lame is a decent tool that is very easy to use and allows you to create a decorative and stunning look for the loaf after shaping and proofing, and it actually helps to give the dough a direction where to open.
Make sure when you score using the bread lame, your stroke should be quick, decisive, firm, and smooth.