THE RIGHT BLADE TO SCORE AT SCORING

“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.”

I fully agree with David Lebovitz, American pastry chef and author based in France, who writes hilariously about his “Sweet Life” in Paris, while tempting his fans to try his appetizing recipes.

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!

My daughter Valerie’s creation – a beauty that also tastes good

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.

Barley Bread – that’s about as good as it gets for my scoring!

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.

Served me well, until it broke

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.

Solid stainless steel lame: heavy and awkward to handle

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.

Shallow scoring surface and protruding screw: prone to snag 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.

Two lames that work well for me: one straight and one curved

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.

These rolls require a straight cut…

With the straight blade I make straight, deep cuts, like for my German Bauernbrötchen (rustic rolls made with old dough).

…to open as nicely as my German Bauernbrötchen

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.

Highly hydrated baguettes, scored with a curved lame – I tried my best!

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!

12 thoughts on “THE RIGHT BLADE TO SCORE AT SCORING

  1. Interesting. I had tried a Lame and was not happy with it. Then I found a box of 100 straight razors from Stanley Tools, #9 at a garage sale and they work a treat! They do not get dull like the scalpels I had been using…no comment 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi there,
    I too have tried different lames with varying degrees of success. I just bought a beautiful one on Etsy that operates differently than others. The shop is Wire Monkey and I bought the Anna Gabur design, yes THAT Gabur who scores gorgeous patterns. I might not end up with paaterns like hers but everytime I use my lame, I am happily inspired. The lame is a round disc that holds the blade, no handle. It is easier for me to control. Of course also putting my risen dough in the freezer for 15 minutes also makes it infinitely easier to score with no drag.

    Hope your future scoring adventures are rewarding.
    Cheers
    Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting, Anne, I’ve never seen those.
      I score my Pain à l’Ancienne type baguettes, when the dough is cold from its overnight rise in the fridge. When it has warmed to room temperature it would be quite difficult to do it without snagging.

      Like

    2. Yes, without chilling dough it is nigh impossible to get a clean score but I own a zillion and a half bread baking books and you would be surprised to find out how many never share this tip.

      Here is a link to the wheel lame. Very different concept. I do have various traditional lames with handles but prefer this. It even comes with one blade of the brand of Japanese razor blades I prefer.

      https://www.etsy.com/listing/643616306/ufo-bread-journey-lame-anna-gabur-design

      I am not affiliated in any way. Think I read about it first on a Fresh Loaf website post.

      Liked by 1 person

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