The Easy Lame Alternative For Scoring Bread

If you're familiar with bread making at any level, it's probably safe to say you've had some experience with scoring a loaf before putting it in the oven. Scoring simply means cutting slits into the dough. According to King Arthur Baking, scoring is an important step because it encourages your loaf to release heat at the point of the score and offers a more attractive loaf. The site continues that without scoring, the dough will find another unpredictable weak spot to expand through as the gasses activate.

One of the best tools for scoring bread is called a lame. The tool, pronounced "LAHM," means "blade" in French (via Food52) and it is essentially a very sharp blade at the end of a handle. A lame cuts easily through bread dough and helps the baker achieve either a simple score or a more intricate design on the outside of a loaf.

Investing in a good quality lame is important for breadmakers because of the ease and reliability it offers. But if you don't own a lame and are looking for a quick alternative that is sharp and versatile enough to perfectly score your sourdough, there are a number of acceptable substitutes — and you might already have one of them in your cabinet.

Settle the score with a paring knife

A lame might be the best tool for scoring bread, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily common to have one laying around your kitchen. In a pinch, you can certainly use a razor blade (with caution) or opt for a paring knife.

According to Made in Cookware, paring knives are kitchen utensils that look like small chef's knives. The site continues that these knives are useful for everything from deveining shrimp to cutting up small fruits and vegetables. Additionally, Made in Cookware says paring knives are good options for scoring because they offer the baker precision while cutting.

Food & Wine also advised the use of a paring knife in place of a lame and adds that you can use a pair of kitchen scissors to score the loaf as well. Whichever tool you choose, The Spruce Eats says it's important to approach your scoring with confidence and bake your loaf as soon as it's scored to keep the dough from deflating.

Scoring is essential to proper breadmaking, but the list of important considerations doesn't stop there. Check out our tips for additional ways to make sure your homemade bread turns out perfect.