How to Shape + Score Your Dutch Oven Bread

How to ScoreLearn how to create crisp imprints on your loaf with a few bold slashes.

Tools:
You’ll need an exquisitely sharp blade, like a knife, razor blade, or lame (pronounced lahm). We prefer the lame because you can replace the disposable blade as it dulls, and the handle gives you the best ease of movement and feels like an artist’s stylus.

Method:
Mom always told you, “Confidence is key,” and she was right (again). Decisive, shallow (¼ to ½ inch deep) strokes with the blade ensure that the slits in the dough don’t appear jagged or irregular. Hesitate while slicing, and the dough will cling to the blade and begin to tear into an uneven gash.

Design:
The beauty of no-knead Dutch oven bread is its simplicity. But an expertly scored loaf offers home bakers a chance to add their unique signature. It’s that final touch of sophistication in an otherwise rustic exercise. Start with some of the basic scoring patterns we’ve illustrated below to begin crafting your own artistic slice.

 

Windowpane: Resembling a hashtag mark when first slashed, this will open up into a frame with one square in the center.

 

 

Half-Moon: A simple arched slash on the side creates a lunar-lip shape, or as the French refer to it, la grigne, “the grin” of the loaf.

 

 

Slashes: Three distinct slices across the middle are the mark of a reserved but confident baker. Or a velociraptor.

 

 

Star: To create this starburst image, slice a large “X” in the middle of the boule. Then make smaller slashes on the interior of the quadrants.

 

 

Diamond Pattern: Intersecting cuts come together to form a crisp diamondback pattern.

 

Wheat Stalk: Iconic and fitting for any loaf of bread, a simple wheat stalk can be accomplished with a quick slash down the middle with tiny, lighter cuts angled and dashed near the line.

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