A bread lame (pronounced LAHM, meaning “blade” in French) is a small, handheld tool with a sharp blade, is often used to score the top of bread dough just before it goes into the oven. Scoring creates patterns on the surface of the bread and allows it to expand during baking, resulting in an attractive, artisanal appearance. Here are some of the other benefits of using a bread lame to score your bread.
- Control the rise: When bread is baking, it needs to expand and rise, but if it rises too quickly or in the wrong direction, it can cause the bread to deform or split. Scoring the dough with a bread lame allows you to control the rise of the bread, directing it where you want it to go.
- Improve appearance: Scoring the dough with a bread lame can create a decorative pattern on the bread's surface, which can make it look more attractive and professional. The pattern also allows the bread to expand more evenly, resulting in a more uniform shape and texture.
- Allow steam to escape: When bread is baking, it produces steam, which can make the crust tough and chewy. Scoring the dough with a bread lame allows the steam to escape, which helps to create a crisp, golden crust.
- Even baking: Scoring the dough with a bread lame helps to ensure even baking, preventing the bread from rising too much in one area and not enough in another. This results in a loaf of bread that is evenly cooked and has a consistent texture throughout.