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Bread Lame: Understanding and Using

In the words of the late Janet Flanner “In the history of art, there are periods when bread seems so beautiful that it nearly gets into museums.”
To create bread with dramatic and intricate patterns, all you need is a bread lame. Our current favorite one on the market is by Mure & Peyrot, sold on Amazon. They are a French manufacturer with incredibly high quality as well as offering impeccable safety functions. If you’re interested in finding out our other picks, exactly how to use a it, and much more, continue reading!
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What Is A Lame?

A lame is a double-sided blade mounted on a handle that’s used to slash the top layer of risen dough just before baking in artisan baking. This process is referred to as scoring or docking as it depicts the direction in which the dough will expand.

Why Do People Use One?



  • Scoring allows the dough to expand evenly during baking preventing the crust from cracking open.
  • Controlling the direction in which the bread extends and how it blooms to make it more aesthetically pleasing.
  • Scoring releases the carbon dioxide trapped in the bread from the raising agent allowing the bread to maintain its original shape.
  • Increases the crust’s surface area which is the part where most of the rich flavors occur.

Why Is A Bread Lame Curved? 



While not all lames are curved the majority of them are and for a good reason. The curve allows you to score the dough with a pronounced ear which is the raised area of the crust. To achieve this the curved blade usually forces a flap of dough to form during slicing. During the baking process, this flap usually gets pushed back and peels back to develop the ear.
A curved lame is also easier to score with as the blade sort of curves into the dough while slicing instead of pushing into as would happen with a straight blade. As a result, the slice is much smoother as the dough doesn’t get dragged along.

Designing Your Loaf



The success of your loaf design cannot be attributed to a single process; instead, it’s the culmination of each stage that influences the final outcome. Today we will be focusing on what happens after you have prepared the dough (proofed and dusted) all the way to the point when you start baking. This stage involves scoring which requires intricate attention to details. To get a better understanding, we will break it down into the following subtopics:

Why Do Bakers Score Bread?

Bread scoring is probably the most intricate art in artisan baking. Each baker has their unique style, and each type of bread has its recommended scoring technique. However, the main aim of all this is to increase the bread’s aesthetics and to provide room for expansion during baking.

How Do Bakers Score Bread?

There’s no limit in the number of scoring techniques that a baker can use. In reality, the only limitation is the type of bread being baked and the tools available. Most bakers prefer curved lames while others would rather work with straight blade lames. In case you don’t have any of these lying around you can improvise, as long as the tool you settle on is sharp and thin enough to score on the dough. Some of the everyday kitchen utensils that you can use to score include: feather blades, kitchen scissors, and knives.

How To Create Amazing Designs

The secret to fantastic scoring designs lies in cutting deep enough to get through the skin of the dough. A network of gluten strands forms this layer during shaping. The cut should however not extend deep into the dough as it would compromise the structural integrity of the bread during baking. Keep in mind that swift and controlled movements with a lame will yield the straightest dough cuts that are also decorative.  There are 4 main scoring designs depending on the variety of bread:

Batard Double Slash

As the name suggests, this style is best recommended for the oval batard loaf. It is also highly recommended for whole wheat recipe which doesn’t spring up high when baked. It involves making two diagonal slashes using a curved blade while ensuring that the two slicing don’t overlap. This results in peeled back ears after baking, and the loaf will open up nicely without a cracked crust.

Box Top Design

This is probably the most expressive design as it allows you to play around with your creativity. Make a perimeter box slashing on the top of your dough using a square box around the edges. You can then score any design on the head ‘flat box top’ as long as they are not too deep.

Cross Design

If you are in a hurry, then this is the most straightforward design to implement when baking a circular bread. Make a straight cut from the top and a similar one crossing in the middle at 90 degrees. These curves should be deep enough, then follow up with minor slashes for each quarter edge but these should be done lightly and shouldn’t extend to the center. This allows the bread to open up beautifully while still maintaining the cross design.

Multiple Small Cuts

This design can work on any bread and can even emulate various configurations such as leaves or wheat stalks. Using a straight blade make diagonal slashes in a series all the way to the bottom, repeat the pattern 2 inches apart until your favorite design covers the entire crust.

Considerations When Buying a Bread Lame

Size - Always go for the most comfortable size so as to avoid clumsy work.
Razor Blade vs. Scalpel - If you are looking cost-effective and easy to maintain, then you should consider getting one that utilizes razor blades as they are much cheaper to replace. On the other hand, a scalpel blade will be great for long-term use but are more expensive to replace.
Materials Used - They come in various materials such as walnut wood, plastic and even stainless steel. The choice of the material should be dictated by the price which in turn dictates the quality. If you are looking for a long-term bread lame for daily use, then you should consider premium materials.
Curved vs. Straight Blade - Curved blades are recommended for their smooth action and deep slicing capabilities. On the other hand, you should consider getting one with a straight razor if you are looking to only make shallow incisions.
Protective Case - As they have extremely sharp blades and should not be stored with other utensils without a covering case. For this reason, its recommended to always consider lames that ship with appropriate cases.

Top 10 Picks of 2019 

Brand: Saint Germain [Check The Latest Price Here]
Price: $13.95
Materials: leather cover, wood handle, stainless steel
Saint Germain has been operational from 2012, and their products are made in Vietnam. The firm is offering premium quality bread lames which rely on handcrafted wood handles and a stainless-steel stick that’s built to last. The meticulously crafted handle provides a firm and comfortable grip for top performance when scoring dough. The bread lame also ships with six replaceable blades, if you run out of these just use a standard razor blade.
Saint Germain does include a handmade protective leather cover which can be used to store away the lame and extra blades safely.
What We Liked
  • The firm relies on handcrafted parts to build top quality bread lames.
  • Ships with six replaceable razor blades and a leather storage cover.
What We Disliked
  • The razor blades have issues with ergonomics due to their curved corners which make it harder to estimate where the slice will go through.
[Check The Latest Price Here]
Brand:  Bluamour [Check The Latest Price]

Price: $14.97
Materials: BPA free plastic, stainless steel
Bluamour bread lame features a BPA free plastic handle that’s designed to not only secure the razor blade but also make it much easier to score the dough. The plastic build is also much lighter so it can be used for extended periods of time without getting fatigued. Bluamour offers a 100% money-back guarantee in case you don’t like the product.
What We Liked
  • Ships with an extra bowl scraper which can be used as a hand spatula to remove the sticky dough 
What We Disliked
  • The blade on this bread lame cannot be replaced when it gets dull
 [Check The Latest Price]
Brand:  Sikedi [Check The Latest Price]

Price: $13.99
Materials: leather cover, wood handle, stainless steel
Sikedi focuses on making premium handcrafted bread lames which are more than capable of making beautiful, clean deep slices on dough. This bread lame also features a comfortable handle that’s specially shaped to fit in hand, giving you complete control with your slashes. Sikedi goes an extra step to include a leather pouch which can be used to store the lame and extra blades safely.
What We Liked
  • The firm relies on standard 4-edged razor blades which can be used for a more extended period before requiring a replacement
What We Disliked
  • The company does not include extra razor blades with the package so you will have to buy any replacements that might be needed
[Check The Latest Price]
Brand: Ashero [Check The Latest Price]
Price: $18.99
Materials: leather cover, wooden handle, stainless steel
Ashero makes high-grade bread lames using stainless steel rings and food-grade materials. The end product is a premium handcrafted lame with a non-slip razor that can create precise and deep scores on just about any bread. The firm includes five extra razor blades and their upgraded two-eyed Danish dough whisk. A leather pouch is also included that can be used to store the razors safely.
What We Liked
  • The package ships with five replaceable razor blades and a Danish dough whisk
What We Disliked
  • This handle can be too massive for some as it measures 13 inches
[Check The Latest Price]
Brand: Scandibake [Check The Latest Price]
Price: $ 13.45
Materials: BPA free plastic, stainless steel
Scandibake is offering their hygienically disposable bread lame which consists of a green handle and a single-edged stainless-steel blade. This scoring tool is best for crusty loaves of bread which do not require extra deep cuts as it can only make 1cm deep slices.  The handle is designed to be flexible so it can be used by both left and right-handed users.
What We Liked
  • The package includes five professional bread lames which are disposable
What We Disliked
  • The build is rather flimsy, and customers complained about the longevity of the equipment
[Check The Latest Price]
DiBread Scoring Lame [Check The Latest Price]
Brand:  E-BigSales
Price: $39.99
Materials: leather cover, cotton bag, wooden handle, stainless steel
E-BigSales is offering the DiBread lame which features a firm wooden grip with a stainless-steel build. The firm also includes five spare blades which can be easily switched. In terms of storage, you will get a cotton bag and an authentic leather protective cover for safely storing the blades. The wooden handle is specially crafted to fit in just about any hand and only measures 7 inches making it easy to use.
What We Liked
  • This bread lame ships with extra four-edged blades
What We Disliked
  • Some customers complained about the handle being too short which interfered with the handling
[Check The Latest Price]
Artisan Lame Set
Brand: Eguanshizu [Check The Latest Price]
Materials: stainless steel, cotton, leatherPrice: $25.99
Meet the artisan’s lame set; a collection of baking equipment that includes a scoring lame, French baguette proofing cloth and five replacement blades. The lame also comes with a protective leather cover which comes in handy for storing blades.  This lame is specially designed for scoring sourdough bread but can still be used to score other varieties.
What We Liked
  • The package also includes a pastry bakers dough proofing cloth
What We Disliked
  • The product is produced in china which might call the quality into question
[Check The Latest Price]
Izndeal Bread Cutter
Price: $5.97
Brand: Izndeal [Check The Latest Price]
Materials: wood handle, leather cover, stainless steel
Izndeal bread cutter features a stiff stainless-steel rod attached to a wooden handle. The lame measures 18.5 cm with the cutting edge measuring 3.5 cm for the perfect scoring experience. The tool ships with five spare blades and a PU leather case for long-term storage. The wooden handle has a water-proof finishing ensuring that it lasts for long.
What We Liked
  • The wooden handle is not only beautifully crafted but also designed to fit well in your hands for precise cuts
What We Disliked
  • The extra length in the handle leads to increased weight in the equipment which might take some time to get used to
[Check The Latest Price] 
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1 comment

  • How deep to cut bread My lame is double sided. Do I cut with both sides straight down or just across the top with one side?

    - Jane Schiller

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