We all have witnessed some impressive marks or designs on our bread. But have you ever wondered what it is called or how is it done?
The work of creating such designs and patterns on bread is known as scoring, and in order to score bread, an object is used called bread lame.
Bread lame is generally used to make designs on the bread dough before putting it in the oven. There are several reasons why bakers all over the world prefer scoring bread.
One such reason is a bread lame helps to make the bread more eye-pleasing and beautiful to the eater.
However, there are many people who want to make such patterns but do not actually know right way to use the tool. In this guide, we will discuss how to use a bread lame and the tips and cautions you should follow.
When Should You Use A Bread Lame?
When we shape or place bread dough on a flat surface and bake it, we often see that the surface of the bread cracks. This cracking or bursting occurs at the weak points of the dough.
However, when we use a bread lame to score a bread, the scoring controls the direction in which the bread will expand. We generally use a bread lame to score the dough 1 or 2 minutes before putting it in the oven.
How To Use A Bread Lame: Easy Guideline For Newbie
Many people think that bread lame only helps to make the bread more eye-catching. However, it also helps the baker to improve the baking quality of the bread.
There are certain steps that you need to follow in order to use a bread lame properly. These steps are-
Step 1: Prepare The Bread Dough
The first and most important thing that you need in order to use a bread lame is bread dough. Prepare your bread dough and place it on a flat surface such as a proofing box, pan, and so on.
Make sure that the dough is firm and allow it to rest for 15 to 20 minutes. The scoring on the bread will be smoother if you make the dough surface smooth instead of a bumpy or uneven surface.
Step 2: Choose A Proper Bread Lame
Once you have left the bread dough to rest, it is now time to choose the bread lame. Choosing the right bread lame is essential to make sure that you get the proper scoring you want.
While some people prefer using a curved bread lame, others prefer using a straight blade lame. This choice generally depends on the preference of the baker. However, you have to make sure that the blade is sharp and rigid.
Step 3: Check The Blade’s Sharpness
In order to get a smooth and accurate scoring, you will have to use a blade that is sharp. Before cutting the bread, test the sharpness of the blade on a piece of paper or paper towel to make sure that you can easily score the dough with it.
Step 4: Prepare The Bread Lame
After ensuring that the blade is sharp, it is now time to prepare the bread lame. This means that you have to apply butter or cooking oil to the tool. You can also apply water instead. The main purpose of this step is to make sure that the bread dough does not stick to the bread lame while scoring.
Step 5: Hold The Bread Lame At An Angle
In order to make an accurate scoring on the bread dough, it is important to hold the bread lame at a 45-degree angle. You will have to make a quick scoring on the bread and ensure that you know where you are scoring.
We generally recommend that bakers use a cooking pen and draw the lines of the dough before they start scoring.
Step 6: Score The Bread Dough
The next step is to score the bread dough by sprinkling some flour on the surface of the dough. Score the bread based on your own preference by moving the bread lame from one end of the dough to the other.
Step 7: Clean The Bread Lame
The last step is to clean the bread lame after you finish scoring the dough. Wash the bread lame with mild dish soap and rinse it with tap water. Do not put your bread lame into the dishwasher or soak it in water for too long.
Types Of Bread Lames
There are mainly two types available in the market. These two are-
1. Curved Bread Lame
The majority of bakers prefer using the curved bread lame as they find it easier to use compared to straight bread lame. The curved blade is generally thinner and can be used to create detailed designs and patterns on the dough of the bread.
2. Straight Bread Lame
Straight bread lame is typically used by highly professional and expert bakers as using this type requires a lot of expertise.
Even though this blade has the ability to make clear and longer scoring on the bread, it is hard to imprint small details with it. However, straight bread lame is more durable compared to the curved one.
Tips And Precautions When Using A Bread Lame
1. Apply Oil Or Water On The Bread Lame
It is essential to apply oil or water to the bread lame before you use it to score the dough of the bread. This will prevent the dough from sticking to the lame and will provide you with a nicer and cleaner bread score.
2. Practice The Patterns Beforehand
Professional and expert bakers have been doing bread scoring for years now, so they are well aware of what they are doing. However, new bakers are usually recommended to practice the patterns on paper beforehand to make sure that they do not make any mistakes.
There are also cooking pens available in the market that you can use to draw a pattern on the bread dough.
3. Swiftly Cut On The Surface Of The Dough
While scoring bread, make sure that you are simply scoring the surface of the dough and not going deep. Going deep into the bread with the bread lame can ruin the overall look of it. You will have to sprinkle a small amount of flour on the dough and cut the surface with the lame swiftly but surely.
4. Sharpness Of The Blade
The blade of a bread lame has to be sharp in order to ensure that the cut is swift and smooth. Before you start scoring, always check the sharpness of the blade by testing it on a paper towel or a piece of paper. You will have to replace the blade if it is not sharp enough.
5. Durability Of The Blade
The blade on a bread lame has to be replaced from time to time depending on the use. If you use the lame regularly and score several bread doughs on a day, it will have to be replaced frequently. However, note that a straight bread lame lasts longer compared to a curved bread lame.
6. Cleaning The Bread Lame
When it comes to cleaning the bread lame, you will have to wash it as soon as you finish scoring. The cleaning process is very easy as all you need is a bit of dish soap and water. Do not ever put a bread lame into the dishwasher as it can cause damage to both the lame and the dishwasher.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How To Prevent The Dough From Sticking To The Bread Lame?
The easiest way of preventing bread dough from sticking to the bread lame is to spray the blade with water or cooking oil. You can also sprinkle a decent amount of flour on the bread dough to make sure that the blade slides right through the dough and comes out spotless.
2. Is It Necessary To Score The Bread?
Scoring your bread is not necessary, but it helps to make the bread more eye-catching to the eater. It does not matter whether the design is intricate or simple; it always improves the look of the bread. Not only the look, but it also helps to improve the baking quality of the bread.
3. Are There Any Alternatives To A Bread Lame?
In order to score a bread dough, all you need is a sharp object. We usually prefer using a bread lame to score bread as it is easier and faster. You can also use a sharp knife or kitchen scissors if you do not have a bread lame near you. However, if you bake bread on a regular basis, then we recommend you purchase a bread lame.
4. Do You Score Bread Before Or After The Dough Rises?
The perfect time to score bread dough is after it rises and just before going into the oven. You will have to place the dough on a surface such as a pan, tray, and so on, and let the dough rest for about 20 minutes. Score the bread once it rises and put it in the oven to bake.
For both professional and novice bakers, a bread lame is an essential tool. It allows them to control the expansion of the bread and showcase their creativity on the bread.
We have discussed the steps on how to use a bread lame. Frankly, it is very easy once you get a hang of it. Even though there are quite a few alternatives to a bread lame, not all of these are easy to use or provide such fine detailing.
As for choosing between the types, whether you use a straight bread lame or a curved one depends on your own preferences and the design you want to make.