Scoring bread (especially high hydration) has always been a nightmare for me. I have a super sharp knife I keep just for scoring. It works okay on lower hydration dough.
I was at Wal-Mart to pick up bread flour and decided to get packs of single edge razor blades like I’ve seen on many YouTube videos. I haven’t had much success. I’ve tried all different angles and depths – and I would say I psych myself up every time so confidence is not an issue – but it’s just a little better than using a knife. Also, the razor blades were coated with machine oil and I had to use rubbing alcohol to get it off. The blades still have a faint machine-oily smell.
I will get a bread lame one day, but I’d like to be able to use regular blades, too.
Does anyone have a specific brand of single edge razor blades they can recommend? And do they always come coated in machine oil?
I have a pack that I bought at RiteAid - no idea of the brand, but they weren’t coated in oil. They have a bunch of holes in the center, through which I stick a coffee stirrer to create a DIY lame. They work fine, better than any of my sharp knives.
Curved blades work the best, IME. The trailing corners of razor blades tend to rip and tear. Look for the largest X-Acto or scalpel blades you can find. Wipe and dip in water between swipes.
You mean something like this?
Were those double- or single-edged?
They’re double sided, actually - what I did looks like this: https://goo.gl/images/Kb7IEL
I bought my blades at a craft store. They are single edged and no motor oil. They are each wrapped by a cardboard wrapped. They work fine (for lots of things really).
I bought a lame years ago and had just as many problems with it as I did with the blades, so never went back to a lame.
Mine are the same, but with motor oil. I’ll keep my eyes peeled.
Thanks everyone for the replies. I’m excited to try out all the different approaches. I hope one day I can bake loaves with handles.
You are always better using a standard straight blade than any disposable one. Honestly, anytime I’ve used a disposable blade on my bread, it has a 5 o’clock shadow by 3pm, they just don’t do the job. Straight blades all the way and you two can have that clean shaved bread for all your open face sammy’s.
I have several professional tools for scoring bread. At least they were sold as professional bread scorers. I find that I often get the best results with a pair of scissors.
I never got why you need any type of special blade. back when I worked on a dairy farm making grass fed, raw milk cheese; and levain style, wood oven rustic breads I just used my pocketknife. I do keep them razor sharp. Our apprentice from CIA used a lame (which just means blade) or a razor blade, and I saw no difference. heck, mine came out better.
What is more important is the angle of the blade and the amount of pressure and depth. I was once told that some folks, especially those with well developed knife skills or knife awareness, do this perfectly without even understanding what they do.
Also either wetting the blade or oiling it, helps.
I don’t know why every time I read someone abbreviating Culinary Institute of America (CIA) I read it at Central Intelligence Agency, and try to figure out what the F a spy is doing working in a restaurant. Literally takes me like 2-3 reads before the light bulb goes off.
I never claimed to be a very bright man…
He (or she) is there to listen to the conversation in case General Flynn comes in.
I used to have that happen too, until I worked with them a few times and it finally got through my head.
Yes, wetting or oiling makes a big difference, especially with high-hydration breads. Any sharp knife will work but I find that a curved razor blade gives me more control and a cleaner cut, possible because the angle of the bevel is so small.
But you’re easy to agree with.
I always just use my pointy paring knife. Am I doing it wrong?
Depends on what your doing with it? If your trying to poke me with it, I would prefer as dull a blade as possible!!
(would I divulge my plans in advance!)
I’m not familiar with the Walmart item you mention. Is it a straight razor for shaving? (Oil might make sense there.)
Anyway, I just use by hand what are called “safety razor blades,” double-sided and dirt-cheap at the drug store. They’re not especially safe used that way, but you could also use some pliers to hold them, if want some more safety. They seem equivalent to the more expensive lame I bought and discarded when it got dull.