Scoring or slashing is when you take a knife or scalpel and make an incision into a loaf. Scoring allows the loaf to bloom or rise fully. The incision releases a little bit of the gas inside, so the dough pushes up to fill the void and create an appealing shape. At Bourke Street Bakery, we don’t slash all of our loaves nor is it necessary to, especially those with a high water content. Some loaves are slashed before the final prove, allowing the loaf to prove into its slash long before it hits the oven.
The best implement to use to slash or score a loaf is a scalpel. The next best tool is a small serrated knife. There are many styles of slashes; we recommend you keep it simple. Start with a 2 cm (¾ inch) deep cross or a single line down the centre. Holding the knife at different angles can create varying effects. If you slash straight down into the middle of a loaf holding the knife vertically upright, the loaf will rise up and fill the void symmetrically, without pushing the crust either left or right. If you hold your knife at a 45 degree angle and slash from right to left, the crust will flip over and out, away from where you made the incision, much like a car door opening through the top of the loaf.
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