“As a baker, I was always ingredient- and flavor-driven, so I never spent a lot of time decorating. It’s not in my skill set as it is with others, which I’ll leave to them.”
For others, wedding cakes are elaborate pieces of sugary art, aspiring to evoke the notion of eternal bliss in the eye of the awed beholder, but my own wedding torte only aimed at pleasing the taste buds. No cute figurines, hearts, garlands or flowers.
And I am definitely not an artist, like my daughter (chef) Valerie, whose festive cakes don’t only look gorgeous, but taste good as well!
Many of my bread baking buddies are able to embellish their breads with amazing arrays of slashes (that always open beautifully – not like some of my runtier cuts!) I am humbly satisfied when my breads are crusty and flavorful.
Of course I want them to look nice, since I sell them in my micro-bakery. But for more intricate patterns I have neither the passion nor the patience.
When I transitioned from kitchen knife to a scoring tool for more ambitious hobby bakers, I bought an inexpensive little plastic lame from “Rooster Brother”, my favorite (home-away-from-home) kitchen store. It worked quite well for a couple of years, but finally bit the dust, breaking clean off where the razor blade attaches to the handle.
I didn’t want to go back to the kitchen knife era, so I researched scoring blades at Amazon. One stainless steel lame (Baker of Seville) caught my eye. Its design,”shaped like a surgical instrument”, easily convinced me, a retired physician, of a superior slashing performance.
But, alas, I found this solid metal blade much heavier than I liked. And its sleek, rounded handle made my scoring motion somewhat awkward, and less comfortable, than with my old plastic lame.
Worse, the shallow scoring edge of the blade tended to snag the dough. If I tried to prevent this by tilting it a bit more, the result was a furrow, parallel to my slash, because the large, protruding screw hit the dough.
Therefore I welcomed the offer of Mure & Peyrot, a French manufacturer of industrial knives and bread baking tools, to try some of their lames.
I was looking for a solid scoring blade – but not too heavy. With an easy-to-hold handle, neither too thin, nor too thick in diameter (like most wooden ones). No weak spot or “predetermined breaking point”, but not too massive, either.
Not every lame fits every hand – my hands are long and slender, therefore it was convenient to try different ones in action, not just viewing them in a catalog or online.
From the four blades Mure & Peyrot sent me, two hit the sweet spot: one straight, and one curved. Both have thin, but solid, plastic handles, their exchangeable razor blades are safely attached, but no oversized screws
screw snag the dough.
With the straight blade I make straight, deep cuts, like for my German Bauernbrötchen (rustic rolls made with old dough).
The other lame – with curved blade and curved handle – I use for slashing breads, like my rustic rye baguettes, at a 45 degree angle. Those breads are made with a highly hydrated dough, therefore scoring, without dragging, is not that easy.
Though I usually don’t promote any products on my blog, I am grateful to Mure & Peyrot for the opportunity to test a tool I really needed – and, in this case, even closely look in the mouth of a gift horse!