A testament to practice and experimentation, my husband's latest loaf:
The dough was scored with a razor blade held directly in husband's hand, at a 30° angle to the loaf's surface. (To score means to cut or slash the surface of a loaf, after proofing and just before popping it into the oven.) After experimenting for a month scoring bread with our lames, we find we have better control with this direct method.
Husband baked the loaf in a Dutch oven, whose tight-fitting lid trapped moisture escaping from the dough at the start of the bake. This effectively steamed the loaf, slowing the baking of the crust. This, in turn, gave the loaf more time to expand during the bake, allowing the scores to open into pleasing, wide shapes before the crust became crusty.
Razor blades and Dutch ovens--these are new habits for us, inspired by conversations with other home/hobby bakers at our monthly "Taste-and-Tell" events. Thank you, Chicago Amateur Bread Bakers! We learn so much from you.
The lovely contrast between the rich brown crust (where the loaf was scored) and the dusty camel-colored surface of the loaf, that's a result of dusting the loaf with a heavy coating of flour, before scoring.
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