Among the tools, perhaps a bit lesser-known but absolutely crucial in the world of baking, is the Sourdough lame.
At first glance, it might look like a simple object, but its significance cannot be understated. Below, I unveil everything you need to know about this indispensable tool.
Table of Content
What is the Sourdough lame and what is it used for?
The Sourdough lame is essentially a very sharp blade or razor specifically designed to make cuts on the top of bread loaves before baking them.
These cuts, also known as “slashes” or “scores”, are not only decorative but also serve practical purposes. They allow the bread to expand in a controlled manner during baking, preventing it from tearing or becoming misshapen.
The depth, angle, and pattern of the slashes influence how the bread opens up while baking. So, while it might seem like a mere aesthetic act, the technique behind the lame’s use is essential for the final outcome of your bread.
Choosing and Caring for Your Sourdough Lame
Not all lames are the same, and while the choice can largely depend on personal preference, there are some key considerations to keep in mind:
- Material: Look for lames that have a sturdy metal or wood handle. Ensure the blade is easily replaceable since, over time and with use, it will become dull.
- Handle: Ergonomics is vital. A Sourdough lame with a good grip will allow you to make precise cuts confidently.
- Blade: Double-edged blades tend to be the most popular among bakers since they allow for clean and precise cuts. Ensure your lame lets you change these blades with ease.
Taking care of your lame is straightforward. After each use, clean it carefully to remove any dough residue and dry it thoroughly. Storing it in a dry place will prevent rust and prolong the blade’s lifespan.
Have you checked out my Essential Sourdough Starter Kit? It includes 1 x UFO style Lame, Bread Knife (including 5 blades) worth $14.99. Click here and get the entire kit at a super special price!
Tips and Techniques for Optimal Use
Mastering the use of the Sourdough lame takes time and practice. Here are some tips to help you along the way:
Angle and Depth
For an optimal slash, the lame should be tilted about 30° relative to the bread’s surface. The cuts shouldn’t be too deep; a few millimeters usually suffice.
Before venturing into intricate designs, practice making simple, straight slashes on your loaves. Over time, you can experiment with more complex and personalized designs.
Speed and Determination
A quick and decisive cut is better than a slow and hesitant one. This ensures a clean slash and prevents the dough from dragging or becoming misshapen.
The Sourdough lame is undoubtedly a tool that, with practice and patience, elevates the quality and presentation of your sourdough bread.
Never underestimate its importance and take the time to familiarize yourself and master its use. Soon, you’ll be creating bread that’s not only delicious but also visually stunning!